What are the Eligibility Criteria and Process for Obtaining an F3 Visa?

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has continued to issue several types of Immediate Relative (IR) and Family Preference Visas for bringing the family members of U.S. Citizens and Green Card Holders to the USA.

There is a long list of IR and Family Preference Visas, which applicants can apply based on their eligibility criteria. In this blog, we will walk you through a commonly issued Visa by USCIS - F3 Visa. We will discuss its eligibility criteria, required documents, and the application process.

What is an F3 Visa?

F3 Visa falls in the Third Category of Family Based Green Cards issued by USCIS to married children of U.S. Citizens at least 21 years old. F3 Visa is a part of the Family Preference Relative Visa Class (F2 and F4 Visas). F3 Visa Holders can live, work, and study in the U.S.

It allows the spouse and minor children (below 21 years) of the F3 Visa Holder to accompany them to the U.S. The spouse can work in the U.S., and children will have access to U.S. schools and universities for study.

There is an extended waiting period to obtain an F3 Visa as it falls under the Third Category, and USCIS has kept an annual cap of 23,400 on the applicants who can receive an F3 Visa. The F3 Visa applicants must wait until their priority date becomes current before applying.

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F3 Visa Eligibility Criteria

There are certain eligibility criteria that an applicant must fulfill to obtain an F3 Visa. The following are the eligibility criteria:

  • Must be above 21 years old
  • Must be married and submit legal proof of their marriage (Marriage Certificate)
  • Must have a legal parent who is a U.S. Citizen. They must submit their birth certificate or adoption documents to prove their parent-child relationship.

The F3 Visa Sponsor must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Be living in the United States and have a valid address in the U.S.
  • Have an adult child in a foreign country. They need to prove a relationship through a birth or adoption certificate.

Documents Required for F3 Visa

The following is the list of documents the applicants must have when applying for an F3 Visa:

  • Two Passport Size photographs and a Valid Passport for more than six months of F3 Visa applicant and the family members (spouse and minor children) accompanying the person
  • Copy of Form DS-260 Confirmation Page
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate of Applicant and their Spouse
  • Copy of Birth Certificate or Adoption Documents
  • Copy of Signed Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support from U.S. Petitioner)
  • Copy of Medical Examination and Vaccination Report
  • Copy of Military certificate if the applicant has served in military or armed forces
  • Court or Criminal Records, if any

Note: Once you have collected the above documents, you must send the documents to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing your application. If NVC will require additional proof, they will send a Request for Evidence (RFE).

F3 Visa Application Process

The application process for an F3 Visa is undoubtedly lengthy as it falls under the Third Family Preference Visa Category. Avoid any delays by keeping all documents ready and paperwork properly completed. The following is the F3 Visa Application Process:

  1. The Sponsor (U.S. Citizen) must file a petition on behalf of their adult child (applicant) through Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and send it to USCIS. If the applicant's family members (spouse and minor children) will accompany them, you must include their information. You must pay a US$535 filing fee for the petition.
  2. After the petition is accepted, USCIS forwards it to NVC for further processing. The F3 Visa Applicant and their family members who will accompany them must process the application. NVC will send detailed instructions for further processing.
  3. F3 Visa applicants must first check the availability of the annual cap on the NVC bulletin board, and once their priority date is current, they can continue with the next step in the process.
  4. The applicants and their family members accompanying them to the U.S. must undergo a Medical Examination.
  5. Once NVC approves the documents, the applicant and their family must attend an interview at their Local U.S. Embassy or Consulate Office.
  6. After the Interview, if your application is approved, you will receive a sealed packet that must be opened only by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at the Port of Entry.


After reading the blog, you will have a good understanding of what the F3 Visa is, its eligibility criteria, the documents required, and the application process.

Getting an F3 Visa is undoubtedly a challenging process. It involves extensive paperwork, documentation gathering, and longer waiting periods, depending on the country you apply from.

As one of the best Immigration Lawyers in Houston, we simplify the pathway for all individuals looking to obtain an Immigrant visa and Family-based Green Cards, guiding them at every stage of the process from meeting eligibility criteria to documentation gathering, completing all essential paperwork, and other tasks.

At Salinas Law Firm, we have highly experienced Immigration Visa Attorneys in Houston, Texas, who can handle challenging and complex cases. Our Houston Immigration Visa Lawyers can help you speed up the application process by helping you correctly prepare all applications and supporting documents.

Book a consultation with our Houston F3 Visa Attorney by calling us at 713.518.1711.