How do I Apply for an F4, Family Fourth Preference Visa?


If you are a U.S. citizen who is 21 years of age or older and has a family member who lives abroad that wishes to emigrate to the U.S. to live with you, they will need to obtain a visa first before they are granted permission to do so. Now, depending on what your relationship is to the foreign individual determines which type of visa you will need to apply for. Currently, there are four types of Family Preference Immigrant Visas available. If the foreign individual is your brother or sister, you will need to submit the corresponding forms for an F4 visa, which is also referred to as the Family Fourth Preference visa.

You should note that if you are a lawful permanent resident, you are not permitted to sponsor a family member who is looking to obtain an F4 visa. However, if you are a U.S. citizen, not only can you petition to bring over your sibling, but also their spouse and children as well.


What forms are required to be filed in order to obtain an F4 visa?


If your brother or sister lives abroad and wants to apply for an F4 visa, you will need to fill out Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative. Form I-130 “establishes the family relationship that exists between you and your relative [Source: USCIS]. For instructions, filing fees, etc. pertaining to filing Form I-130, visit the USCIS website by clicking here. Now once you file the form, you are essentially giving your relative “a place in line while others wait to immigrate from the same country or region based on the same type of relationship.”

When your relative’s application reaches the front of the line, “he or she may be eligible to immigrate after passing the required background checks and meeting requirements for admission.” One of those requirements is completing an interview. It is always recommended that an individual seeking an F4 visa consult with an immigration and visa attorney to prep for this interview as you wouldn’t want them to go in unprepared and jeopardize their chances of receiving their visa.

Now, another form you will be required to fill out is Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. You see, when you petition to bring a brother or sister to live with you in the U.S., you “must agree to be his or her financial sponsor.” If you aren’t able to meet the financial qualifications to do this, then another qualifying individual will need to make this commitment otherwise your sibling will not be considered for an F4 visa.


Is there a limit on the number of F4 visas that are given out each year?


Yes, the number of visas that are allocated for family members of U.S. citizens that fall into the F4 category is currently 65,000 a year [Source: U.S. Department of State-Bureau of Consular Affairs]. That means that the government will issue 65,000 F4 visas to qualifying applicants based on the order in which they received the applications.


Do I need to hire an attorney when applying for an F4 visa?


It is always a good idea to have an F4 visa lawyer in your area helping you with the application process. Not only is it confusing, but if you make a mistake, you risk having your sibling be denied their chance to come and live in the U.S. on an F4 visa. Therefore, you should at least consult with a lawyer before starting the process to find out what it entails and why having an attorney available to help you can increase your chances of getting your visa application approved.


Now, if you would like to be connected with an immigration and visa attorney in your city, contact today and we will place you in touch with some of the best legal professionals out there who are willing and able to help you.