Family Petitions

Accént Legal the law office of Mark Kowalewski

Family petitions may be used to gain a K1 visa, a permanent resident card (green card) through adjustment of status or consular processing (ds260).

A U.S. citizen may petition for certain family members to receive either a Green Card, a fiancé(e) visa or a K-3/K-4 visa based on your relationship.
Family based preference categories:

  • First Preference: Unmarried sons and daughters (21 or older) of U.S. citizens;
  • Second Preference: Spouses, unmarried minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (21 or older) of lawful permanent residents;
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, provided the U.S. citizens are 21 or older.


The United States Department of State issues a Visa Bulletin each month which provides cut off dates for each category.

These are two names for the same item. The identification cards given to permanent residents (LPR) were at one time, green.

As a United States Citizen, you can sponsor your spouse, unmarried child under the age of 21, or your parent if you are at least 21 years of age. A United States Citizen may also sponsor an unmarried son or daughter that is over 21 years old, or a brother or sister who is at least 21 years old.

​As a permanent resident (green card holder) you may sponsor your spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 21, an unmarried son or daughter 21 years of age or older. 

You may not qualify for these as a family relationship; this does not mean there are not other categories where this individual will qualify for permanent residency status.
Per USCIS, Adjustment of Status (AOS) is the process used to apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status when you are present in the United States. This is also known as applying for a green card. This means that you may get a Green Card without having to return to your home country to complete visa processing.
Per USCIS, once you have an approved immigrant petition and an immigrant visa number is immediately available to you, there are two ways to apply for lawful permanent resident status (a green card). If you are outside of the United States, you may apply at a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad for an immigrant visa to come to the United States as a permanent resident. This is referred to as consular processing.
The processing time for a green card depends on many factors, including your petitioner/beneficiary relationship, your country of origin and your service center.

The processing times may be found at this link:
The Petition for Alien relief is first necessary before filing for the Adjustment of Status, the filing fee is $535. The Adjustment of Status filing fee is $1140. Consular Processing fee is $325.

There is a requirement for biometrics which is $85. There is also a medical exam, this cost will be dependent upon the physician you use.

These fees will depend on your necessary applications. All fees will not be required, speak to an attorney to find out specifics on your case.

There is a waiver available for many items that would otherwise prevent you from qualifying for a green card. 

Each individual case is different.

Yes, you can travel internationally with a green card. You will need to travel on a valid passport, plus any necessary visas for the country of your travel. In order to re-enter the United States after your temporary travel abroad you will need to present a valid, unexpired green card.

It is important that your travel outside the United States be temporary. If it is determined that you do not intent to make the United States your permanent home, your green card will be classified as abandoned.
There are options to file a replacement application online or through a paper application. If you are outside the U.S. and have lost your green card, contact the nearest U.S. consulate, USCIS office or port of entry.

Yes. There are multiple ways to lose your permanent resident status. Some of the potential ways to lose status include:

  • Failure to maintain permanent residency by spending too much time outside of the United States.
  • Not removing conditions on a marriage based conditional lawful permanent resident status.
  • An immigration judge issues a final removal order against you.
  • You intentionally abandon your status.

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Green Card Services

A Green Card holder (permanent resident) is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a “Green Card.”


Naturalization is the process of U.S. citizenship being granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Request for Evidence

USCIS contacts applicants with an interview time.  This interview is another opportunity to use an attorney to protect your interests. A Request for Evidence (RFE) can be alarming.  However, these are often an opportunity for clarification on your application package.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allow some individuals who entered the United States as minors, and either entered illegally or over stayed their visa, to receive a renewable two-year period where they are deferred from deportation and are eligible for a work permit.

Deportation Defense

Deportation (sometimes called “removal”) occurs when the federal government formally removes an alien from the United States for violations of immigration or criminal laws by going through Immigration Court proceedings. 

Work Permit

A work permit may be available to you based on your status, circumstances, and your opportunity to submit applications that include a work permit.