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Family Immigration


A foreign citizen seeking to live permanently in the United States requires an immigrant visa (IV). To be eligible to apply for an IV, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by an immediate relative who is at least 21 years of age and is either a U.S. citizen or U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (that is, a green-card holder).

There are two types of family-based immigrant visas:


Immediate Relative

These visas are based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen, such as a fiancé, spouse, child or parent. The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year.


Family Preference

These visas are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). The number of immigrants in these categories is limited each fiscal year. 

U.S. citizens can file visa petition for their:

  • Fiancé(e) K-1 - Nonimmigrant Visa

  • Spouse - Immediate Relative

  • Children (under 21) - Immediate Relative

  • Parent - Immediate Relative

  • Unmarried Son or Daughter (21 years of age or older) - Family Preference

  • Married Son or Daughter (21 years of age or older) - Family Preference

  • Brothers and Sisters - Family Preference


U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents can only file visa petition for their:

  • Spouse - Family Preference

  • Children - Family Preference

  • Unmarried Son or Daughter (21 years of age or older)- Family Preference



Battered Spouse, Children & Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card) if you are the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:

  • A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse; 

  • A U.S. citizen parent;

  • A U.S. citizen son or daughter;

  • A lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse; or

  • An LPR parent.

You may self-petition under VAWA by filing a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) without your abusive family member’s knowledge or consent. A person who files a VAWA self-petition is generally known as a VAWA self-petitioner. If your self-petition is approved and you meet other eligibility requirements, you may be eligible to apply to become a lawful permanent resident.



Once you are the beneficiary of 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 and be admitted as a permanent resident. This pathway is referred to as consular processing. For more information, see our Consular Processing page.

If you are already in the United States, you can apply for permanent resident status without having to return to your home country to complete processing. This process is called adjustment of status. For more information, see our Adjustment of Status page.


What is the Attorney's Assistance in a Family Immigration Case? 

  • An attorney can assist you by making sure the petitions and applications are filled out properly. 

  • He will make sure that all necessary documentations are submitted in a timely manner. 

  • The advice of an attorney is important to discuss the consequences that may be caused by changes in people’s life circumstances. Life events of the petitioner or beneficiaries such as: marriages, divorces and/or becoming a US Citizen, may cause beneficiaries to move from one preference to another or even lose the eligibility for green card.

  • The advice of an attorney is important to discuss the consequences of previous convictions, previous misrepresentation and other grounds ineligibility to become a Legal Permanent Resident;

  • Prepare for the interview and attend the interview with the applicant and/or petitioner to make sure that all facts and legal arguments are properly presented to the immigration officer. 


Successfully completed more than seven hundred (700) family immigration cases.

Contact Us 

To discuss your Family Immigration case with an experienced Jacksonville immigration attorney from Gjoka Law Firm, feel free to contact us by email at or call us at 904-351-8749.

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