F3 Family Visa

What is the F3 visa?

The F3 visa is one of the green cards for families. It belongs to the Relative Preference category, which means there is a limit to the number of them that can be granted to applicants each tax year.

The F3 visa allows married children of U.S. citizens, as well as their dependents, to join them in the United States. Dependents cover their spouses and any children under age 21.

F3 visa holders and their families are not required to get job authorization paperwork in order to lawfully work in the United States if their application is granted. They can also study full-time or part-time without any restrictions.

What are the preferential visas for families?

There are four other family preference visas:

  • F1 visa intended for unmarried sons and daughters age 21 and older of U.S. citizens.
  • F2A visa intended for spouses and unmarried children 21 years of age or older of U.S. Green Card
  • holders and F2B visa intended for unmarried children 21 years of age or older of U.S. Green Card holders.
  • For married offspring of US citizens, the F3 visa is designed.
  • F4 visa intended for siblings of US citizens aged 21 or older.

Who is eligible for the F3 visa?

If you are the married child of a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible for the F3 visa. Those who want to request it must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a U.S. citizen parent. You will need to include valid birth certificates or adoption documents in your application to prove this
  • Must be over 21 years old
  • They must be legally married. You will need to provide a valid marriage certificate to prove this.

What documents should I include in my F3 visa application?

To prove your eligibility for the F3 visa, you must include a number of supporting documents in your application. These include:

  • Valid passport for you
  • Valid passports for all family members you wish to come to the United States with you
  • Form DS-260 confirmation page and reference number
  • Documentation of vaccinations and evidence of a thorough medical evaluation
  • Affidavit of support from the US sponsor
  • Two visa photographs for each person arriving in the United States
  • Birth certificates and marriage licenses that attest to your link with the US citizen
  • Any criminal records
  • Document of divorce for those who have previously been married.

If all the odd documents are not in English, you need to get them translated by an accredited translator.

You must deliver the evidence portfolio to the NVC once you have assembled it with all of these papers. You will be invited to a visa interview if the NVC finds that you fulfill the requirements for the F3 visa.

How to apply for the F3 visa?

A petition must be filed with USCIS on your behalf by a U.S. sponsor as the first stage in the application process. In order to sponsor someone for an F3 visa, one has to fulfill the following conditions:

  • Have US citizenship
  • Have a married child over the age of 21 living in a foreign country
  • Have a valid US address.
  • The application and all accompanying materials will be sent to the National Visa Center by USCIS

upon the petition’s approval. The NVC will then send instructions on the next steps to foreign applicants for the F3 visa.

Then, applicants must wait for the visa to become available. Waiting times for Relative Preference visas tend to be very long but the visa application process will only begin once places open.

Once the Green Card becomes available, applicants will be able to complete Form DS-260 online. Then they can collect all the required documents and attend a visa interview.

What happens during the petition phase of the application process?

An essential step in the application procedure for an F3 visa is the filing of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The procedure cannot begin unless you have a US sponsor who can submit it to USCIS on your behalf. After the petition is filed, it goes to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The processing takes place there.

If you want to bring your family to the United States with you on the F3 visa, the person submitting the application must list them on the form.

USCIS then processes your application and evaluates whether you meet the eligibility criteria for the visa. The application is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) if the form is approved by USCIS. You can expect to receive a package of documents with instructions on how to proceed with your application in a foreign country from the NVC.

Unfortunately, until a date becomes effective, you cannot begin the application process. Only a limited number of F3 visa applications are processed each year, so you have to wait your turn.

A notification will be sent to you when a date becomes current. After that, you may begin the subsequent phase, which is applying for an F3 visa.

What happens during the application process?

Once you have completed the petition stage, you can begin the application process. Sometimes you may have to wait until the following year, or even a year later, to initiate this status, however, it all depends on how many applications have already been processed that year.

When your date becomes effective, you can complete Form DS-260, Electronic Application for Immigrant Visa. Please note that any family members you plan to bring with you to the United States must complete their own visa applications. When you fill out the form, you must include detailed basic information and explain why you want to immigrate to the United States.

After completing the form, you will be provided with a reference number. Be sure to keep this, as well as the confirmation page, and bring them to your visa interview.

What is the F3 visa processing time?

If you want to apply for the F3 visa, you need to be prepared for a long waiting time.

First, after your U.S. sponsor files the I-130 petition, the USCIS must review your eligibility for the visa. This can take several months. USCIS will ask you to provide or update any missing papers if you submit them incorrectly. Processing your request might be delayed as a result of this.

Then, even after USCIS approves the petition, you must wait for the priority date of your F3 visa to become effective. Only 23,400 F3 visas can be issued to applicants each year. Once this limit is reached, no more applications will be processed for that year.

What is the cost of the F3 visa?

The following fees must be paid by anyone requesting an F3 Visa:

  • $535 for Form I-130 processing
  • $325 for processing the DS-260 form
  • Variable rates for translating documents that are not in English
  • Variable rates for medical visits.

Additionally, after receiving your F3 visa but before traveling to the United States you must pay a USCIS immigration fee of $220.


Can I work in the United States with the F3 visa?

You will obtain a US green card if your application for the F3 visa is approved. This means that you will be able to immigrate to the United States and stay there permanently. Additionally, there won’t be any immigration limitations on your ability to work or study there. This means that if you receive the F3 visa, you do not need to apply for a separate work visa.

Can I apply for US citizenship with the F3 visa?

Those who are granted the F3 visa can come to the United States and receive permanent resident status. Although it is not a guarantee, the F3 visa can help you on your way to becoming a citizen of the United States. After living in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for more than 5 years, you will be able to apply to become a U.S. citizen provided you meet the eligibility criteria. If you marry a US citizen, you may be able to apply to become a US citizen after just 3 years of living in the US.

Is a US sponsor required for the F3 visa?

The first step in the F3 visa application process involves a U.S. sponsor filing a petition with USCIS on behalf of their child. Without it it is not possible to start the application for the F3 visa. Having said that, you are unable to apply for an F3 visa if you do not have a US sponsor.

Why is the F3 visa so slow?

There are two categories of Green Cards for US families:

  • Immediate relative category: visas belonging to this category are always available, regardless of the number of people who apply for them each year
  • Family Preference Category: Visas in this category are subject to annual limits on the number of visas that can be granted to applicants.
  • Because of this difference, the waiting time for an immediate family category visa is much shorter than for a family preference visa.

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