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F4 Visa: Siblings of US Citizens

Tadeo & Silva Immigration Attorneys offer the following guide: F4 Visa: Siblings of U.S. Citizens. Contact us for additional immigration resources and support.

Author: Massiel Silva Tadeo, Founder, Tadeo & Silva

Attorney Massiel Silva Tadeo is a partner and owner at The Tadeo & Silva Law Firm. She specializes in removal (deportation) defense, family immigration, and hardship waivers. Updated on: May 02, 2023.

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What Is an F4 Visa?

If you are a US citizen, you can bring your brothers and sisters across to the United States to reunite your family under the family preference category visas.

An F4 visa is required if a US citizen has siblings living outside of America that wish to emigrate to the US. F4 visas are family-based immigrant visas and offer a visa channel for families to reunite. In immigration law, siblings are any two or more children who share one or both parents.

Each year, the US government issues 65,000 F4 visas, which limits the number of applications it accepts and processes. This has led to long processing and issuance times for visas.

The F4 visa has two distinct advantages. It allows its holders to settle permanently in the United States, work (and study) in the US, and does not require an EAD (Employment Authorization Document).

If approved, the F4 visa is also granted to the immigrant’s spouse and minor children under 21 years old, simultaneously facilitating the whole family’s migration.

Find out what you need to qualify for an F4 visa, how much it costs, and how to apply for one.

Who qualifies for an F4 Visa?

There are some prequalifications for both US citizens and their siblings. All parties must meet all requirements before they are considered eligible for an F4 visa.

In order to emigrate to the US, the foreign-born sibling must have a US-citizen sibling who is willing to sponsor them.

The US citizen is required to:

  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Be able to prove that the foreign siblings are genuine siblings (official birth certificates and adoption documents can also prove sibling status).
  • Live in America and have a valid address.

Lawful permanent residents are excluded from sponsoring foreign-based siblings to live permanently in the United States.

Failure to qualify means the potential sponsor will be disqualified from taking on the sponsorship role.

    The F4 Application Process

    The F4 application process is a two-stage process.

    Stage One: Sponsor Petitions USCIS

    The first stage involves the potential sponsor petitioning the United States Customs and Immigration Office (USCIS) on behalf of their siblings living in a foreign country.

    This is done by completing Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, and submitting it to USCIS along with the required supporting documentation.

    At this stage, the proposed sponsor must pay $535 for the processing of the USCIS application.

    If the foreign sibling is married and has minor children, the petition should list the spouse and the children so that, if the petition is successful, they can all apply for their F4 visas simultaneously.

    The Department of Homeland Security assesses the petition and approves or rejects it. If it is rejected, USCIS will give the US citizen a reason for rejecting the petition. In most cases, the petitioner can correct the defects and resubmit the application if rejected.

    If the petition is successful, the documents are forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), at which stage the second phase of the process begins.


    Stage Two – The Visa Petition Stage

    The NVC sends a notice of approval, the invoice ID number, and instructions on the next steps for the siblings and their immediate family.

    Remember that the annual number for F4 visas is capped, so the siblings are only entitled to start the visa application process once they are at the the front of the queue. This is known as having a current priority date.

    Start the Visa Application Process

    Once the sibling’s priority date is current, the NVC will inform the sibling that they can start the application process.

    All siblings and immediate family members wishing to emigrate must separately fill out and file form DS-260 at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

    DS-260 is an electronic application form for immigrant visas that all immigrants must complete. As part of the application, you will need to provide your background information and your reasons for coming to the US.

    You will need to enter your NVC case number to begin the process, and Form DS-260 will automatically be linked to your file, confirming the petition has been approved.

    The Medical Examination and Visa Compliance

    All F4 visa applicants must comply with medical and vaccination requirements. Before entering the U.S., the siblings must undergo a complete medical exam conducted by approved doctors and follow the doctor’s vaccine recommendations. The medical exam costs are borne locally by the siblings.

    The NVC will require vaccination and medical examination certificates as part of the supporting documents.

    Foreign applicant siblings must then gather their documents, including all documentation that proves they are siblings of the sponsoring American citizen.

    The f4 Visa Consular Interview

    Once the NVC is satisfied that the siblings have provided them with all the documents, they will contact the siblings and advise them of a consular interview date for their visa interview.

    An immigration official will ask applicants various questions to ensure they are related to the sponsoring citizen and meet the immigration criteria.

    When the immigration officer determines the application is in order and has all the necessary documentation, they will stamp the applicant sibling’s passport.

    Also, the embassy will provide you with a package that you must bring with you when you enter the country. Under no circumstances are you allowed to open the package. Upon arriving at the US port of entry, an immigration official will open it and determine whether you can enter.

    Contact Tadeo & Silva Today – We Do Immigration

    Whether you are looking to apply for family visas or need to assess how long it takes to get a green card, we are here to help.

    We are a highly experienced team of immigration attorneys who are more than familiar with the nuances and constant changes in this complex area of the law.

    Immigration authorities alone can be intimidating, so we level the playing by reaching out to us for representation.

    Call us today for an appointment and start your immigration journey today.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    How Long Does It Take for a US Citizen to Sponsor a Sibling?

    USCIS processing time only takes a few months for the petition.

    However, waiting time for the priority date can take approximately 1 to 10 years, depending on various factors.


    Can US Citizen Sponsor Siblings Over 21?

    Yes, there is an age requirement only for the sponsoring U.S. citizen, who must be a minimum of 21 when filing the petition for an alien relative.

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