There are several reasons to immigrate to the U.S., one of the most common reason being to reunite with family members. The U.S. permits U.S. citizens and green card holders to help their family members get permanent resident cards (green cards) in order to promote family unity. U.S. citizens can help their parents, children, husband or wife and their brothers or sisters get green cards, whereas legal residents can only petition for their husband or wife and their children.
There are four different family preference categories and the brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens fall into the fourth preference category. Under this family preference category, U.S. citizens can sponsor their brothers or sisters and get them F-4 visas. These visas are immigrant visas that are issued to those who wish to permanently live in the U.S.
U.S. citizens can start the application process by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for their foreign national brothers or sisters. The sponsors also must be willing provide financial support to the beneficiaries. Husband or wife and children of the beneficiaries of F-4 visas also will become eligible for derivative immigration benefits. However, to file an I-130 application for a brother or sister, the sponsoring U.S. citizen must be above age 21.
There is a numerical limit on the number of F-4 visas granted every year. This means only a limited number of F-4 visas will be issued every year because of which, people who belong to this family preference category will need to wait for years to get their immigrant visas. They may not be able to get visas within a year like the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and they will be put on a waiting line. In certain circumstances they may also be required to wait for more than 20 years to get their visas. Once they receive their F-4 visas, they can travel to the U.S. as legal residents and then get their green cards here.