Discover our specialties
We practice exclusively immigration law, constantly monitoring changes in that area of law as well as changes in U.S. Department of Homeland Security policy. This in turn enables us to provide a level of service that clients deserve from their attorney.
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. Citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:
- a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
- residence in a particular U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services District prior to filing;
- an ability to read, write, and speak English;
- a knowledge and understanding of S. history and government;
- good moral character;
- attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and
- favorable disposition toward the United States.
Recent changes in immigration law and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services procedures now make it easier for U.S. military personnel to naturalize.
Although all naturalization applicants must demonstrate good moral character, attachment, and favorable disposition, the other naturalization requirements may be modified or waived for certain applicants, such as spouses of U.S. citizens.
Employment Based Immigration
A nonimmigrant is a foreign national who seeks to enter the United States temporarily for a specific purpose. Employers wishing to hire foreign workers to temporarily perform services or labor file, in most cases, a nonimmigrant visa petition with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Workers who enter the United States under such a petition must depart the United States upon reaching their maximum period of stay authorized by USCIS. Petitions for extension of stay or for change of status are available for certain nonimmigrants.
There are many nonimmigrant classifications for foreign nationals who have come to the United States as temporary visitors. Each nonimmigrant classification is symbolized by a letter which generally corresponds to the visa issued by the Department of State. Those classifications that relate to employment or investment are listed below.
For more information on a particular nonimmigrant temporary worker visa, contact our office for a consultation.
- E – E-1 Treaty Trader & E-2 Treaty Investor
- E-3 – Specialty Occupations (Australia)
- H-1B – Specialty Occupations, Department of Defense Workers, Fashion Models
- H-1B1 – Specialty Occupations (Chile & Singapore)
- H-2A – Temporary Agricultural Worker
- H-2B – Temporary Worker (nonagricultural): Skilled and Unskilled
- H-3 – Trainee
- I – Visa for Foreign Media Representative
- L – Intra-Company Transferee: L-1A (Executive, Managerial) & L-1B (Specialized Knowledge)
- O-1 & O-2 – Foreign National of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics
- P-1, P-2, & P-3 – Athletes and Entertainers
- R-1 – Temporary Workers in Religious Occupations
- TN – NAFTA Professionals (Canadians & Mexicans)
An immigrant is a foreign national who has been authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. Becoming an immigrant based on the fact that a foreign national has a permanent employment opportunity in the United States involves a multi-step process.
First, a foreign national must be eligible for lawful permanent residency under one of USCIS’ routes to such status. Second, in most cases the U.S. employer must complete an Application for Permanent Employment Certification (labor certification) for the foreign national, and submit it to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. (Note: Qualified foreign physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the United States that has been certified as underserved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are excused from this requirement.) Third, after securing an approved labor certification, the U.S. employer must file with USCIS an immigrant visa petition on behalf of the foreign national. Fourth, the Department of State must give the foreign national an immigrant visa number, even if the individual is already in the United States. When he or she receives an immigrant visa number, it means an immigrant visa has been assigned to him or her. Fifth, if the individual is already in the United States in some legal status, he or she must apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available. If the foreign national is outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, he or she will complete the process at his or her local U.S. consular office. The different employment-based paths to becoming an immigrant are listed below.
There are five employment-based (EB) categories for granting permanent residence to foreign nationals. For more information on each category, contact our office for a consultation.
- EB-1 Priority Workers
- Foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics
- Foreign national that are outstanding professors or researchers
- Foreign nationals that are managers and executives subject to international transfer to the United States.
- EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Persons with Exceptional Ability
- Foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business
- Foreign nationals that are advanced degree professionals
- Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the U.S. which is underserved.
- EB-3 Skilled or Professional Workers
- Foreign national professionals with bachelor’s degrees (not qualifying for a higher preference category)
- Foreign national skilled workers (minimum two years training and experience)
- Foreign national unskilled workers
- EB-4 Special Immigrants
- Foreign national religious workers
- EB-5 Immigrant Investors
Waivers of Inadmissibility
Under U.S. immigration law, there are various grounds, such as a person’s criminal or medical history, that will render him or her inadmissible. If you are found to be inadmissible, you may not be allowed to enter the United States, apply for permanent residency, or apply for any other type of visa or immigration benefit. It is possible in certain circumstances, however, to overcome a determination that you are inadmissible. Where the ground of inadmissibility is a medical condition, you may be able to overcome the inadmissibility determination by curing your condition. You may also overcome the inadmissibility determination by proving that you do not fall into the category of inadmissibility or that the charges against you are false. When, however, you truly are inadmissible, you may still be able to obtain the sought-after immigration benefit by applying for a “waiver of inadmissibility.” This essentially means that you are asking the U.S. immigration authorities to overlook the ground of inadmissibility and grant you the sought-after immigration benefit anyway.
If you believe that you are inadmissible and seek a waiver, please feel free to schedule a consultation with our office so that we can help you determine your best course of action.
Family Based Immigration
If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative who is a citizen of the United States or a relative who is a Lawful Permanent Resident, you must go through a multi-step process.
- First, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must approve an immigrant visa petition for you. This petition is filed by your relative (sponsor) and must be accompanied by proof of your relationship to the requesting relative.
- Second, the Department of State must determine if an immigrant visa number is immediately available to you, the foreign national, even if you are already in the United States. When an immigrant visa number becomes immediately available to you, it means that you can apply to have one of the immigrant visa numbers assigned to you.
- Third, if you are already in the United States, you may apply to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident after a visa number becomes available for you. This is one way you can apply to secure an immigrant visa number. If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available for you, you must then go to the U.S. consulate servicing the area in which you reside to complete your processing. This is the other way in which you can apply to secure an immigrant visa number.
- Note: If you are a U.S. Citizen, once you file the immigrant visa petition for your spouse, he or she becomes eligible to apply for a nonimmigrant K-3 Visa. This will entitle him or her to come to the United States to live and work while the immigrant visa petition is pending. It is not necessary for your spouse to obtain a K-3 visa in order to come to the U.S. to live and work. Your spouse may wait abroad for immigrant visa processing. However, seeking a K-3 visa can be a method for him or her to come to the U.S. more quickly.
- Note: If your fiancé(e) is not a citizen of the United States and you plan to get married in the United States, then you must file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of your fiancé(e). After the petition is approved, your fiancé(e) must obtain a K-1 Visa issued at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad. The marriage must take place within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days or your fiancé(e) marries someone other than you, your fiancé(e) will be required to leave the United States. Until the marriage takes place, your fiancé(e) is considered a nonimmigrant. A nonimmigrant is a foreign national seeking to temporarily enter the United States for a specific purpose. A fiancé(e) may not obtain an extension of the 90-day original nonimmigrant admission. If your fiancé(e) intends to live and work permanently in the United States, your fiancé(e) should apply to become a permanent resident after your marriage.
To be eligible to sponsor a relative to immigrate to the United States you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States and be able to provide documentation proving your status.
- You must prove that you can support your relative at 125% above the mandated poverty line.
- If you are a U.S. Citizen you may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the United States; however, you must be able to provide proof of the relationships:
- Husband or wife;
- Unmarried child under 21 years old;
- Unmarried son or daughter over 21;
- Married son or daughter of any age;
- Brother or sister, if you are at least 21 years old; or
- Parent, if you are at least 21 years old.
- If you are a lawful permanent resident you may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the United States; however, you must be able to provide proof of the relationships:
- Husband or wife; or
- Unmarried son or daughter of any age.
The relative you wish to sponsor for permanent residency must obtain an immigrant visa number that is based on the preference category in which they fall. People who want to become immigrants are classified into categories based on a preference system. The immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which includes parents, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the immigrant visa petition filed for them is approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. An immigrant visa number will be immediately available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. The relatives in the remaining categories must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the following preferences:
- First Preference:
- Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Adult means 21 years of age or older.
- Second Preference:
- Spouses of lawful permanent residents and their unmarried children (under twenty-one)
- The unmarried sons and daughters (over twenty-one) of lawful permanent residents.
- Third Preference:
- Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
- Fourth Preference:
- Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.
Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives the immigrant visa petition, it will be approved or denied. USCIS will notify the person who filed the visa petition if the visa petition is approved. USCIS will then send the approved visa petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available. The Center will notify the foreign national when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is available.
Our office is available to represent individuals facing removal/deportation from the United States. In this capacity, we assist clients in their requests for certain forms of relief including, but not limited to, cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, voluntary departure, and political asylum.
If you are in removal / deportation proceedings and would like to discuss whether any of the abovementioned forms of relief might be applicable in your case, please feel free to schedule a consultation with our office.