- What is the F3 Visa?
- What are the Family Preference Visas?
- Who is eligible for the F3 Visa?
- How to apply for the F3 Visa?
- Petition Filing for the F3 Visa
- What happens during the application process?
- What documents do I need to include in my F3 Visa application?
- What is the processing time of the F3 Visa?
- What is the cost of the F3 Visa?
- How can IAS help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the F3 Visa?
The F3 Visa is one of the Family-Based Green Cards. It belongs to the Preference Relative category, which means there is a cap on how many of them can be granted to applicants each fiscal year.
The F3 Visa allows married children of US citizens, as well as their dependents, to come join them in the US. Dependents cover their spouses and any children younger than 21 years of age.
If their application is approved, the F3 Visa holders and their families can legally work in the US, without having to apply for the Employment Authorisation Document. They are also allowed to study full or part-time without any restrictions.
What are the Family Preference Visas?
There are four other Family Preference Visas:
- F1 Visa intended for unmarried sons and daughters who are 21 years of age or older of US citizens
- F2A Visa intended for spouses and unmarried children who are younger than 21 years old of US Green Card holders, and F2B Visa intended for unmarried children who are 21 years of age or older of US Green Card holders.
- F3 Visa intended for married children of US citizens.
- F4 Visa intended for siblings of US citizens who are 21 years of age or older.
All of these visas are subject to annual numeric caps on how many of them can be given to applicants. Because of that those who are applying often have to wait several years before receiving their US Green Card.
Who is eligible for the F3 Visa?
If you are a married child of a US citizen, you might be eligible for the F3 Visa. Those who want to apply for it have to meet the following criteria:
- Have a parent who is a US citizen. You will need to include valid birth certificates or adoption documents in your application to prove it
- Must be older than 21 years of age
- Have to be legally married. You will have to provide a valid marriage certificate to prove it.
If you are not sure whether you are eligible for the F3 Visa, call our immigration lawyers. They will assess your eligibility and will help you submit your application. If you do not meet the requirements for this particular visa, they can tell you what other US visas you could apply for.
How to apply for the F3 Visa?
The first stage of the application process requires a US sponsor to file a petition to USCIS on your behalf. To be able to sponsor someone for the F3 Visa, a person needs to meet the following requirements:
- Have US citizenship
- Have a married child older than 21 years of age who lives in a foreign country
- Have a valid US address.
After the petition is approved by USCIS, it will send the application and all the supporting documents to the National Visa Center. The NVC will then send out instructions on the next steps to foreign applicants for the F3 Visa.
Then, applicants have to wait for a visa to become available. The waiting times for visas belonging to the Preference Relative category tend to be very long but the visa application process will only begin once the spot opens.
When the Green Card becomes available, applicants can complete Form DS-260 online. Then they can gather all the required documents and attend a visa interview.
Our experienced immigration lawyers can explain to you in more detail what the application process for the F3 Visa entails. Call us on +1 844 290 6312 to talk to them.
What happens during the petition filing stage of the application process?
Filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative is an important part of the application process for the F3 Visa. Without a US sponsor who can submit it to USCIS for you, the process cannot be initiated. After the petition is submitted, it goes to the US Department of Homeland Security. There, the processing happens.
If you want to take your family to the US with you on the F3 Visa, the person filing the petition has to list them on the form.
Then USCIS processes the application and assesses whether you meet the eligibility criteria for the visa. If USCIS approves the form, the application is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). You can expect to receive a document package with instructions on how to proceed with the application in a foreign country from the NVC.
Unfortunately, until a date becomes current, you cannot start the application process. Each year, only a limited number of F3 Visa applications is processed so you have to wait for your turn.
When a date becomes current, you will receive a notification. Then, you can start the next stage, which is the F3 Visa application process.
What happens during the application process?
After the petition stage is completed, you can begin the application process. Sometimes you might have towait until the next year, or even a year after that to initiate this state, however, it all depends on how many applications have already been processed that year.
When your date becomes current, you can complete Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application. Keep in mind that all family members that you intend to bring to the US with you have to complete their own visa applications. When you are completing the form, you have to include detailed background information and explain why you want to immigrate to the US.
After you complete the form, you will be given a reference number. Make sure to keep it, as well as the confirmation page, and bring them to your visa interview.
What documents do I need to include in my F3 Visa application?
To prove your eligibility for the F3 Visa, you need to include a number of supporting documents in your application. These include:
- Valid passport for yourself
- Valid passports for all the family members you want to come to the US with you
- Form DS-260 confirmation page and reference number
- Vaccination documents and proof of having undergone a complete medical examination
- Affidavit of Support from the US sponsor
- Two visa photographs for each person coming to the US
- Marriage and birth certificates to prove your relationship with the US citizen
- Any criminal records
- Divorce certificate for those who were previously married.
If all odd documents are not in English, you need to have them translated by an accredited translator.
After you have prepared a portfolio of evidence with all of these documents, you have to send it to the NVC. If the NVC determines that you meet the eligibility criteria for the F3 Visa, you will be invited to attend a visa interview.
What is the processing time of the F3 Visa?
If you want to apply for the F3 Visa, you have to be prepared for a long waiting time.
First, after your US sponsor submits the I-130 Petition, USCIS has to review your eligibility for the visa. That can take several months. If you make any mistakes or fail to include some of the required documents, USCIS will ask you to correct or submit them. That can lead to delays in the processing of your application.
Then, even after USCIS approved the petition, you have to wait for your F3 Visa priority date to become current. Each year only 23,400 F3 Visas can be given to applicants. Once this limit is reached, no more applications are processed that year.
Every year, there are more applicants than F3 visas available. Depending on how many applications need to be processed before yours, the waiting time varies from several months to a few years.
What is the cost of the F3 Visa?
Those who are applying for the F3 Visa have to pay the following costs:
- $535 for the processing of Form I-130
- $325 for the processing of Form DS-260
- Variable fees for translating documents that are not in English
- Variable fees for medical examinations.
Additionally, after you receive your F3 Visa but before you travel to the US you have to pay a USCIS immigrant fee of $220.
How can IAS help?
The process of applying for the F3 Visa can be complex, and if you are submitting the application on your own, it is easy to make mistakes. To avoid the risk of your F3 Visa being denied, you should seek the advice of an immigration lawyer.
Here at IAS, our lawyers have expert knowledge of US immigration law and they can guide you through each step of the application process. They can also help you prepare a portfolio of evidence with all the documents that USCIS might need.
If you hire one of our lawyers, the application process will be stress-free and you will have access to constant support. Your immigration lawyer will be around to answer your questions and offer expert advice whenever you need it.
In the case where your F3 Visa is denied, our lawyers can advise you on what your next steps should be.
Call us today to enquire about any of our immigration services on +1 844 290 6312 to find out more and receive world-class immigration legal advice.
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If your application for the F3 Visa is successful, you will receive a US Green Card. That means that you will be able to immigrate to the US and stay there permanently. You will also be able to work and study there without any immigration restrictions.
That means that if you receive the F3 Visa, you do not have to apply for a separate employment visa.
Those who are granted the F3 Visa can come to the US and receive a status of permanent residents. The F3 Visa does not automatically give you US citizenship but it can serve as a path to get it.
After you have been living in the US as a lawful permanent resident for more than 5 years you will be able to apply to become a US citizen provided that you meet the eligibility criteria for it.
If you get married to a US citizen, you might be able to apply to become a US citizen after just 3 years of living in the US.
The first step of the application process for the F3 Visa involves a US sponsor to submit a petition to USCIS on behalf of their child. Without it, the application for the F3 Visa cannot be initiated. That said, if you do not have a US sponsor, you cannot apply for the F3 Visa.
There are two categories of US Family Based Green Card:
- Immediate Relative Category – visas belonging to this category are always available no matter how many people apply for them each year
- Family Preference Category – visas that belong to that category are subject to annual caps on how many of them can be given to applicants.
Because of this difference, the waiting time for a visa from the immediate relative category is much shorter than for a family preference visa.