Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Also known as DREAMers, children who arrived in the United States prior to their 15th birthday, have resided in the United States continuously since June 15, 2007, were under age 31 before June 15, 2012, graduated or are enrolled in high school, and have no significant criminal history are eligible to remain in the United States under a program created by executive order of President Barack Obama. This program grants a work permit, social security number, and deferment of any deportation proceedings for two years. It must be renewed every two years in order to maintain the benefit.
Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)
This program was only recently created by President Obama in December 2014. Among other expansions of U.S. Immigration procedures, it grants parents of U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident children the ability to stay in the United States for renewable 3 year intervals. It will allow parents to provide for their children by granting them a work permit and social security number. Procedures are expected to be in place and ready by March or April 2015.
Family Based Immigration
Often, if you have a family member who is a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) or a United States Citizen, you may be eligible for some type of immigration benefit. Our experienced attorneys can analyze your case to determine your eligibility.
Same-Sex Immigration Benefits
In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This ruling established that under Federal Law, same-sex couples could not be treated any differently than opposite-sex couples. Since that time, thousands of families have been united and enjoyed protection under federal law. Isabel and Mark were some of the first attorneys in the nation to apply on behalf of these newly eligible couples and families. We have since filed hundreds of petitions on behalf of same-sex couples.
Adjustment of Status (Green Card)
A family member, or even sometimes an employer, can petition to adjust the status of a person living inside of the United States. These family members are most often parents of unmarried children under 21, children over 21 years of age, and spouses. Other family members can file petitions depending on circumstances.
Fiance(e) Visas (K-1)
This visa gives authorization for the United States Citizen to bring his or her fiance(e) to the United States in order to get married. Once married, a petition for Adjustment of Status is filed in order to obtain a Green Card for the foreign national.
Marriage Visas (K-3)
This visa allows a United States Citizen to bring his or her spouse to the United States even though they are already married. Once the visa is approved, the foreign spouse can enter the United States in order to complete the Adjustment of Status (Green Card) process.
Relatives of Lawful Permanent Residents
The unique factors in distinguishing between Lawful Permanent Residents and United States Citizens can cause very serious pitfalls for the inexperienced. It is very important to seek out the assistance of an experienced attorney when attempting to navigate these procedures. We have handled hundreds of cases for Lawful Permanent Residents and know what to look for when analyzing a case.
Waiver of Joint Filing Requirement for Battered Spouses
Many victims of domestic violence and abusive relationships believe they must stay with their spouse in order to successfully complete the green card process. This is not true. There is a waiver of the joint filing requirement to remove the condition on a Green Card when the spouse can demonstrate physical, mental or emotional abuse.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Victims of domestic violence and abuse can also seek stand alone status in the United States. Under VAWA, many people who might otherwise be ineligible may seek permanent resident status in the United States.
Naturalization (U.S. Citizenship)
Without being born to a United States Citizen or in the United States, citizenship is only directly available to those who have been Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders). Those who have held a Green Card for 5 years are eligible to naturalize. Green Card holders who obtained their residency through marriage must only wait 3 years to naturalize.
Waivers of Inadmissibility
If you are or have ever been unlawfully present in the United States, you may have a bar of admissibility on your immigration record. It is imperative that you seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney prior to entering or leaving the country. You may be eligible to waive your inadmissibility to either remain or reenter the United States.
This type of waiver exists to permit those who have left the United States and have a bar to admissibility to reenter. In order to do so, the foreign national must prove that a U.S. citizen child, parent, or spouse would suffer extreme hardship if they were not permitted to reenter the United States. Our experienced attorneys have handled hundreds of these cases.
This waiver serves those who are currently inside of the United States. Prior to March, 2013, a person who was unlawfully present in the United States was required to leave and wait outside the country for the processing of the waiver. This is no longer the case. If the unlawfully present person is able to demonstrate that a U.S. citizen child, parent, or spouse would suffer extreme hardship if she or he were forced to depart the United States, they may be eligible for a waiver to remain here lawfully.
Having a family member detained by ICE and sent to immigration court can be the most stressful thing in anyone's life. We are here to help. If you or someone you know is detained it is VERY IMPORTANT that they not sign anything. You have options. The detained person could be released with a work permit while the case carries on. Other cases can lead to Lawful Permanent Residency (Green Card) or Asylum. The first thing you should do is call our office so that we can do everything in our power to stop the deportation.
Employment-Based Immigrant Visas
A yearly limit of approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available by the United States Government. Certain visas allow for derivative visas for spouses and children. These visa types are divided into five preference categories.
Priority Workers: Employment First Preference (E1)
Priority workers in this category do not require a Labor Certification prior to the filing of their I-140 through their employer. This category is divided into three subcategories: Persons with Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers, Multinational Managers or Executives. Our office has extensive experience with these types of visas. If you believe you may be eligible for this category, we would be delighted to explain the details of the process.
Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability: Employment Second Preference (E2)
This category must generally have a Labor Certification approved by the Department of Labor. There is an exemption to this certification known as a National Interest Waiver which allows the a self petition under certain circumstances. This category only applies to professionals holding degrees beyond the baccalaureate level. The professional must also have at least five years of progressive experience in the field. The Persons of Exceptional Ability requirement means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business. Eligibility for this category can be tricky to determine. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you analyze and petition for E2 Employment-Based Immigrant Visas.
Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers: Employment Third Preference (E3)
Applicants in this category must have an approved petition by an employer and a U.S. Department of Labor Certification. The subgroups in this preference category include:
- Skilled workers are persons whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years training or work experience that are not temporary or seasonal.
- Professionals are members of the professions whose jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. university or college or its foreign equivalent degree.
- Unskilled workers (Other workers) are persons capable of filling positions that require less than two years training or experience that are not temporary or seasonal.
Certain Special Immigrants: Employment Fourth Preference (E4)
Petitioners in this category must also have a petition by an employer and Labor Certification approved. This category has a very large number of subgroups:
- Broadcasters in the U.S. employed by the International Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors or a grantee of such organization
- Ministers of Religion
- Certain Employees or Former Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad - Must use Form DS-1884, Petition To Classify Special Immigrant Under INA 203(b)(4) As An Employee Or Former Employee of the U.S. Government Abroad
- Certain Former Employees of the Panama Canal Company or Canal Zone Government
- Certain Former Employees of the U.S. Government in the Panama Canal Zone
- Certain Former Employees of the Panama Canal Company or Canal Zone Government on April 1st, 1979
- Iraqi and Afghan interpreters/translators who have worked directly with the United States armed forces or under Chief of Mission authority as a translator/interpreter for a period of at least 12 months and meet requirements. This classification has an annual numeric limitation of 50 visas. See Special Immigrant Visas for Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters for more information.
- Iraqi and Afghan nationals who have provided faithful and valuable service while employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for not less than one year on or after March 20th, 2003 and prior to September 30, 2013, or in Afghanistan for not less than one year after October 7th, 2001, and have experienced an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of that employment. See Special Immigrant Visas for Iraqis - Worked for/on behalf of the U.S. Government and Afghans - Worked for/on behalf of the U.S. Government for more information.
- Certain Foreign Medical Graduates (Adjustments Only)
- Certain Retired International Organization Employees
- Certain Unmarried Sons and Daughters of International Organization Employees
- Certain Surviving Spouses of deceased International Organization Employees
- Special Immigrant Juveniles (no family member derivatives; Adjustments Only)
- Persons Recruited Outside of the United States Who Have Served or are Enlisted to Serve in the U.S. Armed Forces
- Certain retired NATO-6 civilians
- Certain Unmarried Sons and Daughters of NATO-6 civilians
- Certain Surviving Spouses of deceased NATO-6 civilian employees
- Persons who are beneficiaries of petitions or labor certification applications filed prior to September 11th, 2001, if the petition or application was rendered void due to a terrorist act on September 11th, 2001
- Certain Religious Workers
Immigrant Investors: Employment Fifth Preference (E5)
Immigrant Investor visa categories are for capital investment by foreign investors in new commercial enterprises in the United States which provide job creation. This category has several subgroups. Depending on your business and investment plans and the amount of capital you have available. We are very experienced in this type of visa. Our firm can give you the advice you need to obtain your visa as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Treaty Trader Visas (E-1)
These visas are available to citizens of treaty countries who are seeking to carry out substantial trade in the United States.
Treaty Investor Visas (E-2)
This is a nonimmigrant visa that permits foreign investors from treaty countries to work, travel, and invest in the United States.
Investor Visas (EB-5)
This visa permits those who are willing to invest a minimum of $500,000 in the U.S. to create or preserve at least 10 jobs to gain immediate entry into the United States.
Nonimmigrant Employment Visas
Our firm represents employers and employees from around the world in order to bring workers to the United States. Our experience includes representation of multinational organizations, small business, and entertainers.
Specialty Occupations (H-1B)
A limited number of first time H-1Bs are issued each year. They are usually issued in three-year increments, with a standard maximum duration of six years. There are provisions to allow for extensions beyond the six year duration based on an individual being the beneficiary of an employment-based permanent resident (green card) case that meets certain qualifications.
Positions that are generally considered specialty occupations are: accountants, computer programmers, dietitians, graphic designers, industrial designers, journalists, researchers, scientists, teachers, and physicians.
Requirements include a job offer from a US employer that requires a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a field of specialized knowledge. The prospective employee must possess the minimum of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. The employer must pay a salary commensurate with the higher of the prevailing wage rate for persons in that occupation and geographic location, or the actual wage paid by the company for the position.
Treaty Traders (E-1) and Treaty Investors (E-2)
Owners and key employees of businesses that conduct a substantial volume of trade between the US and the home country may qualify as treaty traders (E-1). Where a substantial amount of capital has been invested in the US and jobs have been or will be created for US workers the treaty investor (E-2) category may be appropriate. To qualify, the home country must have a treaty with the US. Some treaties enable only E-1s, or only E-2s, while others provide for both categories.
Intra-Company Transferees (L-1)
The L-1 visa is for an intra-company transferee. To qualify, the transferee must be a person who worked for a company abroad in an executive, managerial, or “specialized knowledge” capacity for at least one continuous year within the three years prior to coming to the US. Further, the company abroad must be related to the US company (parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch). The maximum stay is seven years for managers and executives and five years for specialized-knowledge employees.
Trade NAFTA (TN, Canada and Mexico)
The TN category is a potential option for professional citizens of Canada and Mexico. There is no numerical limit or cap on the number of TNs that may be issued. The applicants must possess specific degrees and licenses, appropriate to the particular profession. With the exception of management consultants, all TNs must have job offers from US employers.
TNs may be granted in three-year increments, without any maximum limit. There is no initial filing with the USCIS. The applications are made either at the port of entry for Canadians or at the US consulate for Mexicans.
Temporary Seasonal Workers (H-2B)
The H-2B category is for employment that is purely temporary. The employment must be one-time, seasonal, peak-load, or intermittent. The employer’s need must be for no more than ten months in any year. These visas typically are used in industries such as forestry, seafood processing, resorts, and landscaping. There is an annual limit of 66,000, but some persons who have previously held H-2B status are cap exempt.
The employer must obtain a temporary labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL). This requires recruitment efforts to attempt to locate qualified US workers. It is possible, and far more efficient, to obtain approvals for multiple beneficiaries on one labor certification and one H-2B petition.
Other temporary, employment-based visas are also available for persons of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics (O-1/O-2); athletes and entertainers (P); religious workers (R-1); and family members of the aforementioned categories.