Typically, I charge flat fees for straight-forward cases; however, when there are complications and it is hard to estimate time to be spent.
Our attorneys have different policies regarding charging for initial consultations. We invite you to inquire of us individually for details regarding this.
No, Immigration Law is federal, so I can represent anyone in the U.S. I have represented many out-of-State or out-of-country individuals. I can collect necessary documents and obtain signatures through the Internet or via mail.
A visa is a stamp or sticker that is placed in your passport and is used only to seek entry into the U.S. When someone wishes to come to the U.S. temporarily (whether for a number of weeks as in the case of a tourist or a number of years as in the case of an H-1B worker), he or she must obtain a visa, or ‘entry visa’. Visitors must apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate outside of the U.S. The application includes specific documents that show you are qualified to apply for a specific type of visa (such as an I-20, in the case of F-1). However, the only act to which the visa entitles the visa holder is to travel to a U.S. port of entry and ask to be admitted to the U.S. The inspector at the port of entry, upon examining the visitor’s documents, will decide whether or not they may enter the U.S. If the inspector does admit the individual into the U.S., this admission confers status to the visa holder. At the same time, the visa becomes insignificant.
Status, on the other hand, refers to the set of rights of responsibilities an individual has toward the government. In immigration terms, status is the legal category under which the visitor was admitted to the U.S. The categories are often associated with certain letters (e.g. F-1, J-2, H-1B, A2, etc) and each category has different circumstances under which it can be granted, as well as different governing regulations, responsibilities, and benefits. For example, a visitor may enter on an visitor’s visa, B visa, and change his/her status to that of a student (F-1). In such a case, the B visa (stamp) is no longer valid, and the person is here in the U.S. in the Student (F-1) status.
Simply put, a non-immigrant visa is the type of visa which allows a foreign national to visit, work, study in the U.S. but does not get a green card. An alien who seeks temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose. The alien must have a permanent residence abroad (for most classes of admission) and qualify for the nonimmigrant classification sought. The nonimmigrant classifications include: foreign government officials, visitors for business and for pleasure, aliens in transit through the United States, treaty traders and investors, students, international representatives, temporary workers and trainees, representatives of foreign information media, exchange visitors, fiance(e)s of U.S. citizens, intracompany transferees, NATO officials, religious workers, and some others. Most nonimmigrants can be accompanied or joined by spouses and unmarried minor (or dependent) children.
It is a visa which either through family petition or employer petition, the foreign national gets a green card. Two groups of family based immigrant visa categories, including immediate relatives and family preference categories, are provided under the provisions of United States immigration law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). There are also 5 separate employment-based immigrant visa categories: (1) Priority Workers (EB-1); (2) Professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability (EB-2); (3) Skilled workers, professionals and unskilled workers (other workers) (EB-3); (4) Certain special immigrants (EB-4); and (5) Immigrant Investors (EB-5).
An H-1B visa applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit and ability relating to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability. The position for which the petitioner petitions the beneficiary must require a four-year degree, and the beneficiary must have a four-year degree or its equivalent. There is a quota every year which begins on April 1 for first-time applications. The quota has been met on the first or second day, almost every year in the recent past.
The L-1A intracompany executive transferee classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.
The L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one.
The P-1 classification applies to you if you are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance. An individual athlete must be coming to the United States to participate in individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country. An athletic team must be coming to the United States to participate in team events and must have achieved significant international recognition in the sport. The event in which your team is participating must be distinguished and require the participation of athletic teams of international recognition. The support staff can also come in as P1 visas.
The P-3 classification applies to you if you are coming temporarily to perform, teach or coach as artists or entertainers, individually or as part of a group, under a program that is culturally unique.
For a P-3 visa, you must be coming to the United States either individually or as a group for the purpose of developing, interpreting, representing, coaching, or teaching a unique or traditional ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, theatrical, or artistic performance or presentation. In addition, you must be coming to the United States to participate in a cultural event or events which will further the understanding or development of your art form. The program may be of a commercial or non-commercial nature.
The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
An R-1 is a foreign national who is coming to the United States temporarily to be employed as a minister or in another religious vocation or occupation at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by: (1) A non-profit religious organization in the United States; (2) A religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption; or (3) A non-profit religious organization which is affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.
You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. You do not have to do the PERM process or Labor Certification Process if you qualify as one of the three.
You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required, and you can self-petition.
You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must have at least 3 years-experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. Your employer must file the petition on your behalf.
You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer. Your employer must file the petition on your behalf.
You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability.
The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field). What is EB-2 Exceptional Ability sub-category?
You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”
Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation. Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
You may be eligible for this immigrant visa preference category if you are a skilled worker, professional, or other worker.
“Skilled workers” are persons whose job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
“Professionals” are persons whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and are a member of the professions.
The “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
The individuals applying for EB-3 visas must have employment offers, and the employer must go through PERM (Labor Certification) process. Once the position has been certified, your employer (petitioner) must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. As part of the application process, your employer must be able to demonstrate an ability to pay the offered wage as of your visa priority date. Your employer may use an annual report, federal income tax return, or audited financial statement to demonstrate an ability to pay your wage.
PERM stands for Program Electronic Review Management. It is an electronic form (ETA 9089) filed with Department of Labor after a recruitment process according to the different categories of EB3.
The prevailing wage determination (ETA Form 9141) is in place to ensure employers pay their employees the minimum wage for that particular job. The organization responsible for determining this, National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) bases its determinations on data gathered throughout the United States. In order to make this determination, the NPWC aligns the job offered with the geographic region and skill level required for the position as well as education and required supervision. You start the PERM process by getting the prevailing wage determination.
You may be eligible for an employment-based, fourth preference visa if you are a special immigrant. The following special immigrants are eligible for the fourth preference visa: Religious Workers; Special Immigrant Juveniles; Broadcasters; G-4 International Organization or NATO-6 Employees and Their Family Members; International Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad; Armed Forces Members; Panama Canal Zone Employees; Certain Physicians; Afghan and Iraqi Translators; and Afghan and Iraqi Nationals Who Have Provided Faith Service in Support of U.S. Operations.
USCIS administers the EB-5 Program. Under this program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) if they: (1) Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and (2) Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
This program is known as EB-5 for the name of the employment-based fifth preference visa that participants receive. Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
The investor may file I-526 on his/her behalf with supporting documents.
Once the I-526 is approved, the investor and his/her family may adjust status or consular process depending on whether the alien and his/her family is/are in the U.S. or abroad and obtain two year temporary green cards.
After two years, the investor must file I-829 to remove the conditions. Once the I-829 has been approved, the investor and his/her family will have permanent legal resident statuses.
The alien must also show that he or she “sustained the actions required for removal of the conditions” during his or her residence in the United States. An alien entrepreneur will have met this requirement if he or she has “substantially met” the capital investment requirement and has continuously maintained this investment during the conditional residence period. The entrepreneur’s residence may be terminated at the end of the two-year period or earlier if it is found that the business was not established, or was established solely to evade immigration laws or that the requirements were otherwise violated. If, in the application to removed conditions, the alien demonstrates that the business was established, that the required amount of capital was invested, and that ten full-time jobs either have been or will be created, the conditions will be removed and the alien granted full permanent residence.
If the alien has international acclaim as a Taekwondo athlete, s/he may apply for an O visa or a P1 visa. If the alien has a bachelor’s degree, and has an employer seeking a Taekwondo School Director with a bachelor’s degree, s/he may apply for an H1B visa. If the focus of the alien is more on Taekwondo demonstration/dance/performance, s/he may apply for a P3 visa.
U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents may petition for certain relatives. Visas are always available for immediate relatives (Spouses, children (unmarried and under 21) and parents of U.S. citizens. This means the immediate relatives do need to wait in line for a visa. Preference categories apply to family members who are not immediate relatives. The visas allotted for these categories are subject to annual numerical limits. A visa becomes available to a preference category based on the priority date (the date the Form I-130 was filed).
If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you can become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card) based on your family relationship if you meet certain eligibility requirements. You are an immediate relative if you are:
The spouse of a U.S. citizen;
The unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen; or
The parent of a U.S. citizen (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age or older).
Preference categories apply to family members who are not immediate relatives. The visas allotted for these categories are subject to annual numerical limits. A visa becomes available to a preference category based on the priority date (the date the Form I-130 was filed).
Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (adult means 21 or older.)
Spouses or unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents (green card holders) (2A) or Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents (2B)
Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens