How Do I Obtain an F3 Visa?


F3 visas, or family preference immigrant visas, are available to the married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens as well as their spouses and their minor children, if they have any together. An F3 visa is considered to be a Family Third Preference Visa which means those looking to obtain one are subjected to a waiting period if there aren’t enough available for those who applied for one. Currently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has limited the number of F3 visas to be given out each year to 23,400, although this number may change so it is always best to check with USCIS to find out what the cap is when it comes time for you to apply [Source: U.S. Department of State].

In order for an immigrant to obtain an F3 visa, they must have their mother or father, also known as their sponsoring relative, who must be a U.S. citizen, file a Petition for Alien Relative Form, Form I-130 with the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS.


Does a sponsoring relative have to have a residence in the U.S. to apply for an F3 visa?


Yes, if you are submitting a petition to bring your married son or daughter into the U.S. to live, you must maintain your residence, which is also referred to as a domicile, in the U.S.


What initial evidence must a sponsor filing for an F3 visa provide to USCIS?


When submitting Form I-130, there are some important documents that must also be submitted to ensure your application is processed and not delayed because you failed to supply USCIS with something they needed. Below are some of the things you will need to submit:


  1. Evidence that proves you are a U.S. citizen. USICS says that this can be any one of the following:


  • A copy of your birth certificate that was issued by a civil registrar, vital statistics office, or other civil authority showing you were born in the U.S.
  • A copy of your unexpired U.S. passport.
  • An original statement from a U.S. Consular Office that confirms you are, in fact, a U.S. citizen with a valid passport.
  • A copy of your naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship that was issued by USCIS or the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).
  • A copy of Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, that was issued by a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.


  1. Evidence of your family relationship with the person you are submitting the application for. Given that you are applying for an F3 visa, you will need to furnish USCIS with a copy of your child’s birth certificate to prove you are his/her parent.


It is important that you don’t send an original copy unless USCIS specifies that you must do so.


How much does it cost to file Form I-130?


The filing fee for Form I-130 is currently $535. It is not refundable and cannot be waived. This is the fee associated with filing Form I-130 onlywhich means if you are required to submit anything else to obtain an F3 visa, you will have to pay an additional fee in order to file those forms. Because the filing fee for this form isn’t exactly affordable, it is important that when you are filling out the document and gathering all the forms of evidence you must submit that you have an immigration and visa lawyer helping you.

The fact is, one simple mistake could put your married son or daughter’s application in the denial pile and you will have to go through the entire process all over again which means you will be placed back in the wait pool until a visa is available for them and pay the fee again. To ensure this doesn’t happen and that your son or daughter has a fair chance at being granted an F3 visa, contact to be connected with a local visa lawyer in your area who is willing and able to help you fill out and file all the necessary paperwork.

Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling all types of immigration-related matters, including applying for a visa.