Legal Services

Employment Based Visas And Business Immigration

The E visa enables foreign nationals to live and work in the United States based on his or her investment. This visa is available only to certain nationals whose country has signed a treaty of commerce with the United States. The visa is for investors who seek to open a business or startup company in the United States and employ US citizens. The investment has to be substantial and the money must be at risk. The E visa is valid for up to 2 years and can be further extended.
The G visa is issued to foreign nationals who are appointed to a position at a designated International Organization inside the United States. It is perpetual so long as the foreign national is employed with such international organization. Holders of G visas may be sponsored for Permanent Residence after 15 years of continuous employment and after physically residing inside the United States for at least 3.5 years of the last 7 years immediately preceding the Permanent Residence application.
The H visa is also known as the skilled worker visa; this visa is designed for foreign nationals who will be offered “professional jobs” in the United States. The employee must have at a minimum a 4-year University degree (Bachelor’s) or the equivalent and must earn at a minimum the prevailing wage set by the Department of Labor for its profession. It is valid for up to 3 years with the option to extend for an additional 3 years.
The J visa is for foreign nationals who are coming to the United States as exchange visitors, including some foreign students, scholars and medical residents, to participate in an approved Exchange Visitor Program. Some individuals coming with J visas, are subject to a 2-year foreign residence requirement. If subject to this requirement the individual must return to his or her country for 2 years upon completion of the program unless a waiver is first obtained.
The L visa is known as the intercompany transferee visa. The key to this visa is that a United States corporation has an affiliate or subsidiary overseas and 51% of the shares of both the corporation in the United States and the corporation abroad are held by the same individual or corporation. The employee must be at the executive or managerial level, or have specialized knowledge. Prior to entry into the United States, he or she must have worked for at least 1 year in the last 3 years for the foreign company.
The O visa enables foreign nationals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability or achievement in a variety of fields, or those who have critical skills and experience with such an individual, to obtain a temporary working visa inside the United States. Evidence will be required to prove sustained national or international acclaim or the receipt of internationally recognized awards. It is valid for up to 3 years and can be further extended.
The P visa enables foreign athletes, sport teams and entertainment groups who have achieved international recognition to visit the United States to compete or perform in an event. The foreign athlete, sport team or entertainment group will need to provide an advisory opinion from the respective labor organization. A well detailed itinerary or schedule of activities is also recommended. It is valid for up to 5 years and can be further extended.

Litigation In Court And Humanitarian Immigration

Asylum may be granted to foreign nationals who are in the United States and are unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to persecution or a well-rounded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. It is a requirement to file your Asylum application within 1 year unless there are changed circumstances in the home country. While your asylum case is pending you may be eligible for a work permit. If an immigration officer or judge grants you asylum you will be eligible to apply for permanent residency after 1 year.
Bond hearings may be granted by an Immigration Judge to certain foreign nationals who are in the custody of Homeland Security. In order to qualify for Bond, the foreign national must prove that he or she is not a danger to the community and that he or she is not a flight risk. Certain criminal convictions will render the foreign national ineligible for bond in what is known as “Mandatory Detention”. Lastly some immigration classifications such as “arriving aliens” are outside of the jurisdiction of the Immigration Judge. In order to obtain a low Bond, it is best to be eligible for a form of relief and to have qualifying relatives.

Cancellation of Removal (COR) may be granted to both Non-Permanent Residents (Non-LPR) as well as Permanent Residents (LPR). In order to apply for Cancellation of Removal the applicant must be placed in either Removal or Exclusion Proceedings with the Immigration Court.

Non-LPR COR requires the applicant to have lived in the United States for the last 10 years and have good moral character. The applicant must also show that a US Citizen or Permanent Resident relative such as a spouse, parent, or child will suffer extreme and unusual hardship if the applicant is ordered removed from the United States.

LPR COR requires the applicant to have lived in the United States for the last 7 years and have been a permanent resident for the last 5 years. The applicant must not have a conviction for an aggravated felony and must show that he or she merits a favorable exercise of discretion.

Permanent Residency And Family Immigration

Foreign Nationals who have a lawful entry in the U.S. and who have a qualifying relative may be eligible to file for Permanent Residency “Green Card” immediately. This process is called a “one step” because the foreign national does not have to wait for an immigrant visa to become available and does not have to return to his or her home country to obtain the “Green Card”. In order to do a “one step” the foreign national must be considered an immediate relative: either the spouse of a US citizen, the parent of an adult US citizen child (older than 21 years of age) or the child (younger than 21 years of age) of a US citizen parent. While Permanent Residents can also petition for their spouse and children under 21 years of age the immigrant visa is not immediately available and the processing times can last several years. In certain jurisdictions, entry on advance parole through DACA or TPS can also serve as a lawful entry.
Foreign Nationals who have an unlawful entry and remained in the U.S. are not eligible to do a “one step”. These foreign nationals must embark on a 3 step process before they can obtain Permanent Residency. First an Immigrant Relative Petition should be sent to Homeland Security proving the bona fides of the family relationship between the US citizen and the foreign national. Second a Provisional Waiver of Inadmissibility should be filed demonstrating that the US citizen will suffer extreme hardship should the foreign national be ordered removed from the US. Third an Immigrant Visa Application must be submitted with the State Department indicating that the US citizen has the financial capacity to serve as a sponsor and that the foreign national has no criminal or fraudulent issues that would render him or her inadmissible to the U.S. It is important to note that US citizen children do not count as a qualifying relative for purposes of the Waiver.