E-1 or E-2 Visa?

The “E” visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means that it is issued for a certain amount of time as set by a treaty and can be renewed at any time. The E visa it is available only to those people who are nationals from a country that has a specific type of treaty with the United States.

There are two main types of E visas: the E-1 Treaty Trader Visa, and the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.

There are few primary requirements of an E visa:

–         the alien must be a national from a country with a specific treaty with the U.S.

–         the company also must be considered a national from the same country as alien (this means at least 50% ownership of the company must be held by qualifying people from the country)

–         there must be “substantial” trade (E-1) or investment (E-2)

–         the individual must serve the company in either a managerial function or a function with “essential skills”.

–         There is no set amount that qualifies as “substantial”.

Because the E visa is a non-immigrant visa, the applicant must leave the United States upon the expiration of E status.

 The E-1 Treaty Trader Visa is available to people who will enter the U.S. “solely to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or in technology” primarily between the United States and the foreign country of which the person is a national.

A “substantial” trade can depend on several factors, including the volume of trade, the number of transactions and the continuous course of trade.

 On the other hand, an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, is available to people who enter the U.S. “solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital”.

The investment must be active, not passive. Which means that the business should have some employees or sub-contractors and definitely have the potential to add more employees.

In this case, a substantial investment can depend on different factors including the amount of investment compared to the total value of the enterprise, the usual amount required in a similar enterprise and the investment cannot be marginal.

An immigration law firm can help you establish E Visa eligibility.

 Another advantage for an E Visa holder is that spouses and children can also gain status through this visa and spouses can get a work authorization.


Residency to spouse of American Citizen Living in the United States

The immigration laws of the United States permit the immigration of certain “immediate relatives” to the U.S. People who want to become immigrants are divided into categories based on a preference system.

The immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, who include 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 application filed for them is approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

An immigrant visa number will be immediately available for immediate relatives of American citizen.

A legal immigrant is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States.

There is a process for your spouse to become a legal immigrant.

If your spouse is living inside the U.S., he or she may apply to adjust his or her status as a lawful permanent resident. He or she may apply for an employment authorization card immediately.

If your spouse is outside the U.S., he or she may apply for his or her residency at the American embassy.

The main mission as an Immigration Lawyer

Today we’re looking at what it’s like to be an immigration lawyer, so stick around.

Alright, as you may already know, we explore career paths both in and out of law to help you find a career that fits you and help you succeed using your law degree.

Today’s guest is an immigration lawyer cofounded this firm after working in all areas of immigration law at three different immigration firms.

She’s got a lot of great stuff to share with us today, so let’s meet her.

Definitely.  Thank you for being here.  We’re excited to learn all about the Immigration Law practice, so we’re going to be asking you questions about a typicalday, who fits this path best, how to break in and how to succeed!
So let’s start witht his.  Tell us about your practice and what you do as an Immigration Lawyer.

I have a firm that I just started with a partner in January and we have a few associates that work for us and a few staff members.

We practice all areas of ImmigrationLaw, which includes family-based and removal defense and employment-based immigration.

However, employment-based is sort of its own world, so for this session I’m going to just focus on the family and removal-side of immigration.

So, to focus on the family-removal side, basically for family-based immigration,it involves a lot of family members petitioning other family members, either through marriage or parents petitioning children or children petitioning their parents, either for those immigrants who are here in the US or if they’re outside the country and they would counselor process in.

The removal part is the litigation part of immigration Law.  So, for those who like to go to court and argue and talk to judges, removal defense is the place to be.

For removal defense, we go to court, and Immigration is trying to deport our clients, either because they’ve been here undocumented or ran out of status or they might have committed somecrimes.

So essentially, removal defense is just asking the court through legal avenuesto try and keep our clients here.

What is the main mission as an Immigration Lawyer?

It is basically helping people who are not from America to stay in America. Essentially for family-based and removal defense, yes.  It’s basically,our purpose is to allow people to either come here or stay here.  Most of our clients, for a removal defense, are people who’ve been here many, many years – either, you know,average, probably 20 plus years.

They’ve been undocumented and they have – their whole family is here; their children, grandchildren and there’s also other clients who don’thave those facts as well but our main mission in immigration Law is to allow people to stayhere in the United States.

How Do I Get a Temporary Visa?

US immigration laws allow persons born in foreign countries to enter the U.S. temporarily as tourists, to do business, to attend school, to be employed, and to engage in a variety of other activities.

Temporary visas are identified by a letter of the alphabet followed by a hyphen and a number. For example, several million people visit the U.S. each year as “B-2” tourists. Many thousands of “F-1” academic students and “M-1” vocational students attend schools and universities. Between 50,000 and 65,000 persons are granted temporary “H-1B” professional working visas annually.

Temporary visas are also known as “nonimmigrant” visas. They are issued by U.S. Embassies and Consulates located around the world. U.S. consular officers presume that you intend to stay permanently in the U.S. unless you can demonstrate through strong ties to your home country that you will not remain in the U.S. after the expiration of your authorized stay.

If your application is approved, the consular officer will affix a visa to your passport. The visa contains your photograph as well as other identifying information. Nonimmigrant visas expire after a certain period of time and may be valid for one or more entries into the U.S.

The issuance of a visa does not guarantee that you will be admitted into the U.S. The INS Immigration Inspector at the airport decides whether to admit you into the U.S. and for how long. You can be denied admission if you have a conviction for criminal mischief.

If the Immigration Inspector denies you admission, you have the right to request a Coram Nobis hearing before an Immigration Judge. The Judge has the authority to overrule the Immigration Inspector.

Can my Green Card be revoked?

A Green Card is a document that allows its holder to live and work permanently in the United States. People that reside outside of the United States can apply for a Green Card with a U.S. Embassy abroad, after they received the approval of their petition from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Welcome To The Usa

One of the most common ways to obtain a Green Card is through family reunification. If you are the spouse, child, or sibling of a U.S. Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, you may be entitled to come to the United States with an immigrant Visa. The process starts with the filing of an I-130 petition by your U.S. relatives with the USCIS. A formal interview will be required for all applicants, except for children age 13 or younger.

Once the petition is approved and the case processed by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, the immigrant will receive his Green Card, which will allow him or her to live in any of the 50 States and work without restrictions. If the petition is denied, you can file an immigration appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals.

The Green Card is granted for a period of 10 years, except that the expiration is 2 years for spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents that have been married for less than 2 years when the Green Card is granted.

In some cases, the Green Card can be revoked. One common ground is divorce from the sponsoring spouse. The immigrant can seek a waiver of the joint filing, but only after obtaining a divorce according to the family law rules of the States he or she resides. A divorce can be a very long and complicated matter, and some courts have so many cases pending that slow down the process and create enormous delays.

Another common ground for revocation of Green Card is the commission of a criminal offense. While not all the offenses will result in the deportation of an immigrant, it is extremely important to be represented by a good criminal defense lawyer that knows the court rules and the law. Sometimes, even if a crime was committed, there may be a legal justification for it which will excuse the accused from punishment.

How do I get a U.S. Work Visa?

There are many ways to enter the United States for work-related purposes, but some ways are better than others are, if your goal is to achieve permanent residence status en route to naturalization and citizenship.

If you wish to enter the U.S. for employment or business with a green card, or if you are a non-U.S. citizen working here on a nonimmigrant visa and want to adjust your status to permanent residence, contact an experienced immigration attorney for advice about the alternatives that will work best in your situation.

A good lawyer advises foreign nationals about their employment-based immigration options. Your entry visa and adjustment of status options will depend on many different factors, ranging from your country of origin and current residence to your educational, professional or technical credentials. Additional options are available for businesspeople and investors who are prepared to contribute to job creation or economic development in the U.S.

Some people can obtain permanent residence upon entry if they can qualify for an EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4 or EB-5 visa. There are three kinds of EB-1 workers: those with extraordinary skills and experience in certain fields, outstanding researchers and professors, and multinational executives or managers. The other EB categories cover different kinds of specialized workers from degreed professionals to religious workers. The EB-5 classification offers a green card to investors ready to commit significant amounts to economic activity.

The attorneys can explain whether your application might fall under any of the EB categories, but more commonly, foreign nationals enter the country under any one of many different kinds of nonimmigrant visas, then seek adjustment of status to a permanent residence after a year or two of successful work in the U.S. An experienced family immigration attorneys can also advise an employment-based client about the possibility of permanent residence through a family relationship or marriage.

With the right immigration lawyer, you can find the right immigration and permanent residence options for foreign nationals employed in many different fields, such as:


Legal (including avvocato)

Teaching or research

Software development

IT professions

Fine arts, entertainment or professional sports

Medicine and health care

Business management

Banking and finance

Restaurants, retail or international trade

Green Card document

A Green Card is a document that proves that an immigrant is legally authorized to live and work in the United States. A Green Card is obtained through a family-based or employment-based petition filed by a family member or an employer. Once the petition is approved, the Green Card can be achieved either by Consular Processing or by adjustment of status.

After 5 years of holding a Green Card, it is possible to apply for naturalization as a U.S. citizen.

Can the USCIS revoke Green Card status? Yes, in certain circumstances.

First, a Green Card can be revoked if it was obtained with fraud. Fraud can take place in many different ways, such as marriage fraud or document fraud.

Second, a criminal conviction for a serious crime can lead to removal proceedings and revocation of lawful permanent residency.

Finally, there could be involuntary loss and revocation of the Green Card, if the immigrant spends more than 1 year outside the United States and does not have a re-entry permit.

Removing your conditional Status (Green Card Through Marriage)

If you marry a U.S. citizen, you will not get a U.S. citizenship right away, but you may become eligible for a U.S. green card, which can lead to U.S. citizenship.

A “Conditional Green Card” is what you may receive from the immigration authorities, due to concern that recent marriages are more likely to be shams.

A conditional resident has the same rights as a permanent resident. He or she can travel in and out of the U.S., accept employment without separately applying for a work permit and start working toward U.S. citizenship (when approved for permanent residence).

You may apply to remove your conditional resident status if:

–         you are still married to the same U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident after two years;

–         you are a widow or widower of a marriage that was entered into in good faith;

–         you entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage was ended through divorce or annulment;

–         you entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse;

–         you are a child and cannot be included in the application of your parents for a valid reason;

–         the termination of your conditional resident status would cause extreme hardship to you.

For more specific eligibility requirements you may see Form I-751.The USCIS Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence, can be filed regardless of whether you are physically present in the U.S. at the time that you file. However, you must return to the U.S. with your spouse and your children in order to comply with the interview requirement.

If you fail to file Form I-751 within the 90-day period before your second anniversary as a conditional resident, your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and the USCIS will order removal proceedings against you.

You will receive a notice from the USCIS telling you that you have failed to remove the conditions, and you will also receive a Notice to Appear at a hearing. At the hearing you may review and confute the evidence against you. You are responsible for proving that you complied with the requirements.

The Form I-751 can be filed after the 90-day period if you can prove in writing to the director of the Regional Service Center that there was good cause for failing to file the petition on time. The director has the discretion to approve the petition and restore your permanent resident status.

If you are unable to apply with your spouse to remove the conditions on your residence, you may request a waiver of the joint filing requirement.

You may request a waiver of the joint petitioning requirements if:

–        Your deportation or removal would result in extreme hardship.

–       You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but the marriage ended by annulment or divorce, and you were not at fault in failing to file a timely petition.

–     You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but during the marriage you were battered by, or subjected to extreme cruelty committed by your U.S. citizen of legal permanent resident spouse, and you were not at fault in failing to file a joint petition.

What are the naturalization requirements in the United States?

Physical Presence – You must demonstrate that you have been physically present in the US during at least half of the required period of residency. That is, you must actually reside in the US for two and one-half out of the five years immediately preceding your interview for naturalization, or one and one-half of the previous three years.

Loyalty – You must renounce your allegiance to your home country and pledge loyalty to the US when you take the oath of allegiance to the US at your naturalization ceremony.

Despite this renunciation, some countries continue to consider you as a citizen of your former country of citizenship. It is wise to check with the embassy of your country of citizenship prior to becoming a naturalized US citizen.

Good Moral Character – You must submit a completed fingerprint chart to the government as part of your application for naturalization.

The chart is forwarded to the FBI which notifies USCIS whether you have a criminal record if the FBI delays your case, you case retain an immigration lawyer to file a Writ of Mandamus. Applicants with serious criminal records and those who obtained their green cards through fraud may not be able to establish good moral character. Some may even be susceptible to deportation.

English – You must be able to speak, read, write and understand simple words and phrases in the English language. Some elderly, longtime permanent residents and those with certain disabilities are exempt from the English requirement.

History and Government – You are required to pass a short examination regarding the history and government of the US.

Obtaining citizenship through your parents – You may become a US citizen “by acquisition” at birth if one or both of your parents were US citizens at the time of your birth. If only one of your parents was a citizen at the time of your birth, that parent (or grandparent in some cases) has to have lived a specified period of time in the US prior to your birth in order to transmit citizenship to you.

You may also become a US citizen through your parents “by derivation” if you become a permanent resident and your parent(s) naturalize while you are below a certain age.

To obtain proof of citizenship, you may apply for a U.S. Passport or for a Certification of Citizenship or Naturalization at any time.

Immigrant Investor initiative & Business Immigration

Immigrant Investor initiative are created by countries to induce foreign individuals to make substantial investment to gain the right of residence and citizenship.

This is also known as Business Immigration.

Targeted inbound foreign direct investments can be accomplished by these projects. Most Countries can specify which parts of the economy the foreign investments must be directed to.

For example, in the United States, the EB5 immigrant visa program is one of the most famous Immigrant Investor programs. This program requires foreign entrepreneurs to invest at least $500,000.

Furthermore, the program mandates that jobs for Americans must be created. Once the investment is made, the applicant can get a U.S. Green card for himself and his immediate family members. Only 10.000 EB-5 Visas can be granted each year, but the cap is almost never filled.

After 5 years of lawful permanent residency, it is also possible to apply for U.S. Citizenship. It is important to note that U.S. law does not prohibit Dual Citizenship.

In Canada, there is one of the most famous and sought after business investor programs. Quebec, the second province in Canada by population, run its own VIP Immigrant Investor Program.

Its requirements have been the same since its creation, and it has become one of the most affordable ones. As of June 26, 2010, the requirements for the program were heightened and the program was suspended while the new changes became effective. The new updated program was reopened on December 1, 2010.

Nowadays, the program is severely backlogged, with an estimate wait time of 12 years.

Some applicants will consider other alternatives, such as other investment programs, while other will simply wait for the backlog to clear. Some experts are predicting a swing away from Canada to other destination countries. It will depend on the awareness of foreign entrepreneurs of other investor immigration programs.

To qualify for this program, an investor must have at least two years of business investment experience, have minimum net worth of CAD$1,600,000; and make a cumulative investment of at least CAD$800,000. Finally, the applicant must meet strict health and security requirements.

Created by the federal government to promote business immigration, the Canadian Immigrant Investor Program (CANIIP) enables qualified investors to obtain permanent resident status (Canadian Green Card). Under this investor program, qualified applicants and their immediate family members will receive permanent and unconditional Canadian residential visas, and will be able to apply for Canadian citizenship after a certain number of years of residency in the country.

Other similar programs exist in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria and other countries of the European Union. St. Kitts and Nevis offers a very attractive economic citizenship program that foreign investors can join with a qualified real estate purchase or investment into the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation.

How do you get a Green Card through investments?

The EB-5 Immigrant Visa is an investment visa Green Card. EB-5 visa or Pilot Immigration Program was created by the Congress in 1990, to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.

Foreign investors must meet specific United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) requirements to obtain their permanent residency through the EB-5 visa program. EB-5 visa does not require you to have a job offer from an U.S. employer (sponsor).

There are two ways to obtain an EB-5 Visa: either through an approved Regional Center, the so called Immigration Pilot Program or through a direct or private investment.

A Regional Center is any economic unit, public or private, involved in the economic growth, improving regional productivity, job creation and increasing domestic capital investment. It is a feasible solution for immigrants who are not interested in the management and control of a company but are interested in granting a Green Card by investment.

A direct investment can be done in any legitimate productive activity that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified American employees.

The investment must be of at least $ 1,000,000 in a commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time workers (a minimum of 35 hours per week). If the investment is implemented in a rural area (outside an urban area with a population of at least 20,000 people) or an area of ​​high unemployment (at least 150% of the national average), the investment can be of at least $ 500,000.

Upon EB5 approval, the investor will be granted conditional permanent resident status. If the petition to remove conditions is not timely filed, the investor will be placed in deportation proceedings.

The EB-5 investment can take the form of money, inventory, equipment, secured indebtedness, or property, and is valuated based on U.S. dollar fair-market value. The for-profit activity may be:

  • A sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Holding company
  • Joint venture
  • Corporation
  • Business trust or other entity

Among all business visas, the EB-5 is the most desirable, as it ensures the permanent immigration status (Green Card) in the United States for the main investor, spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. Only 140,000 immigrant visas are available each fiscal year.

Do you get deported with a crime of moral turpitude?

A crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) refers to an act that is intrinsically wrong and morally reprehensible.

Many immigration offenses are included within the category of Crime Involving Moral Turpitude, or crimes involving moral indecency. The U.S. immigration law makes ineligible to enter the United States, obtain a Visa or a Green Card, for any alien who has been convicted of a CIMT or who admits committing acts that constitute the essential elements of a CIMT, with few exceptions.

The CIMT is one of the oldest ground of “removal” from the United States. It appeared in the American immigration law for the first time in 1891, condemning to expulsion all those individuals found guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude. Although it was contemplated in the American law more than 100 years ago, there is really no criminal immigration law that specifically and exhaustively defines a CIMT.

While the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruled that a CIMT involves intentional actions that are per se vile or implies fraud or deception, various federal courts have adopted different interpretations of these conditions.

The crimes involving moral turpitude are generally divided into three main categories:

  • Crimes against property (blackmail, arson, robbery, burglary, receipt of stolen property);
  • Crimes committed against governmental authority (tax evasion, corruption, fraud against the government);
  • Crimes committed against individuals, family and sexual morality (statutory rape, murder, second or third degree assault, disorderly conduct, child abuse or pornography).

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), one or more convictions to one of the above categories of crimes renders a person ineligible to enter the U.S. and obtain a temporary visa or Green Card. If the immigrant is already in the United States, the acquisition of a Green Card or citizenship through the naturalization process can be denied. Also, the immigrant be placed in deportation proceedings by the Department of Homeland Security.

In addition, aiding the commission of a CIMT is also considered a CIMT, and is punished and penalized to the same extent.

The law on crimes of moral turpitude is constantly evolving and changing and just a good immigration lawyer that is familiar with the local criminal laws as well as with the immigration code is able to provide a comprehensive analysis of the case.

Aggravated Felony

This is the worst category of crimes for immigration purposes because being convicted of an aggravated felony makes you ineligible for most forms of relief and subjects you to mandatory detention.

The term “aggravated felony” is a term created for the purposes of immigration law and has no connection to the definition of “felony” in state or federal criminal law. So, even if your criminal conviction was not called a “felony” under state law, it may still be considered an aggravated felony for purposes of your immigration proceedings.

This area of the law is very complex, so only the best immigration lawyers have the necessary skills to represent immigrant charged with these serious crimes.

For example, some state misdemeanor convictions are considered aggravated felonies. Even so, sometimes a state felony conviction is not considered an aggravated felony. Furthermore, many crimes become aggravated felonies if the sentence imposed is for one year or more, even if it is a suspended sentence. This is why it is important to know not only what your convictions are for and how long your sentence was. Other crimes may be aggravated felonies regardless of what the sentence was.

An aggravated felony is defined in the INA.

Following are examples of aggravated felonies:

–         Crimes of violence for which the penalty was at least one year;

–         If physical force was used or most likely could have been used in committing the crime, the crime may be considered a crime of violence and, therefore, an aggravated felony.

–         Murder;

–         Rape;

–         Sexual abuse of a minor;

–         Drug trafficking;

–         Firearms trafficking;

–         Theft or burglary for which the penalty imposed is imprisonment for at least one year;

–         Child pornography;

–         Prostitution business;

–         Crime of fraud or deceit or tax evasion if the loss to the victim exceeds $10,000;

–         Some types of money laundering in excess of $10,000;

–         Failure to appear for service of sentence;

–         Crime related to commercial bribery;

–         Crime relating to obstruction of justice, perjury or subornation (encouragement) of perjury, or bribery of a witness, where the penalty imposed is one year or more in prison (felony or misdemeanor);

–         Smuggling aliens;

–         Conviction related to failure to appear before a court on a felony charge that could result in a sentence of two or more years;

–         An attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the above.

 In most federal courts, a conviction for any offense listed as an “aggravated felony” is grounds for deportation, even if the crime was not considered an “aggravated felony” at the time of conviction. In other words, whenever Congress adds a new offense to the list of “aggravated felonies” in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), lawfully present immigrants who have previously been convicted of such crimes become immediately deportable. As a result, any addition to the list of “aggravated felonies” will apply to prior convictions unless Congress affirmatively states that it will only apply to future convictions.

An “aggravated felony” is one, but not the only, basis to deport immigrants convicted of a criminal offense. Removal proceedings may also be initiated against immigrants convicted of one or more crimes involving “moral turpitude,” a wide category of offenses that includes, but is not limited to, most crimes that qualify as an “aggravated felony.” Immigrants convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude are subject to deportation, but do not face the additional consequences associated with a conviction for an “aggravated felony.” The immigration laws also permit deportation for convictions of various offenses.

What is the B1 Visa for Business?

The B1 Visa or “Visitor for Business” Visa is intended for Business travelers who come to the United States for business activities of temporary nature and related activities that do not require actual labor work.

The B-1 is a non-immigrant Visa and is obtained at the U.S. Consulate of the Country where the foreign national resides.

While in the United States as Business visitor, an individual may:

– Attend business meetings;
– Negotiate business and real estate contracts;
– Participate in academic conferences;
– Discuss planned investment or purchases;
– Solicit sales;
– Make investments or purchases;
– Control the operations of a Company in which the foreign national has invested;
– Receive temporary training from a U.S. Company;
– Settle an estate;
– Interview and hire staff;
– Conduct research.

It is generally not allowed to work with a B-1 Visa, although there are very limited exceptions to this rule, such as the B-1 in lieu of the H-1B. Running a business and gainful employment require a working visa application. If you are caught working on the B1 Visa, you may be placed in deportation proceedings and you will need to retain a defense lawyer.

Those entering with a B1 visa will generally be granted 6 months admission by the immigration officer at the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP). The maximum allowable period is one year and the CBP officer has absolute discretion to decide the length of the stay (1 to 12 months).

If you are denied entry to the United States, you can file an immigration appeal. It may be possible to obtain a six-month extension to the visit visa as long as the candidate will be maintaining his or her visitor status. The B1 Visa can be issued for a single entry or for multiple entries.

If you are in the United States in another valid nonimmigrant status, you may be eligible to change to B-1 status, filing a Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status).  If you are from a Visa Waiver Program country, the denial of the B-1 Visa will automatically revoke an already approved travel authorization, and might prevent you from getting one.

Spouse and children are not eligible to obtain a dependent visa. If they were to accompany you, they would have to apply for a B-2 tourist visa.

What are the types of U.S. Visas?

Specialty Occupations (H-1B) – Up to 65,000 professional employees may receive visas annually to work for U.S. employers. The employer must certify to the government that you will be employed in an occupation for which the minimum entry requirement is a university degree.

In addition, the employer must pay you at the average or “prevailing” wage rate for persons in your occupation and geographic location. Usually, H-1B status will be granted in three-year increments, with a maximum duration of six years.

H-1B employees include, but are not limited to, accountants, architects, computer programmers/systems analysts, dentists, engineers, financial analysts, medical technologists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physical therapists, physicians, researchers, scientists and teachers.

Exchange Visitors (J-1) – The U.S. Information Agency (USIA) permits a wide variety of organizations and universities to sponsor persons as exchange visitors.   Some programs allow you to be employed while other programs are for students only.  Programs which involve governmental funding, skills enumerated on the USIA’s Exchange Visitors Skills List, or graduate medical training subject you to a two-year foreign residency requirement.

This means that upon completion of your program, you are obligated to return to your home country for a minimum of two years. “The foreign residency requirement may be overcome by (1) obtaining a “no objection” letter from your native country (not available to those pursuing medical residencies or fellowships in the US), (2) showing that your spouse or children who are either US citizens or permanent residents will suffer “exceptional hardship” if you are required to return to your home country for two years, (3) demonstrating that you have a well-founded fear of persecution if you return to your home country (more similar to the asylum requirements); or (4) sponsorship from certain interested governmental agencies. In each of these cases, approval from the USIA and/or the INS is required”.

If your Visa is denied, you should hire an appeals lawyer.

Intracompany Transferees (L-1) – If you are an executive, manager or a person with specialized knowledge who is employed by a company abroad, you may transfer to the U.S. branch of the company (or to a parent, affiliate or subsidiary company in the U.S.) to assume a similar position.

To qualify, you must have been employed in a similar position for the foreign-based company during one of the past three years before you entered the U.S. The maximum duration of L-1 status is seven years for executives and managers and five years for persons with specialized knowledge.

Persons of Extraordinary Ability (O) – If you are a person of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics, you may be granted an O-1 visa. If you are accompanying an O-1 visa holder in an artistic or athletic performance, you may qualify for an O-2 visa.

Athletes and Entertainers (P) – If you are an athlete who has performed individually, or as part of a group or team, at an internationally- recognized level of performance, you may be issued a P-1 visa. P-1 visas are also available to entertainers who perform in a group which has attained international recognition. Artists and entertainers who enter the U.S. under a reciprocal exchange program may be granted P-2 visas while those entering in a culturally unique program may receive P-3 status.

Religious Workers (R-1) – If you are coming to the U.S. as a minister or have a religious vocation or occupation, you may qualify for an R-1 visa. You must have been a member of the religious denomination for the previous two years and be coming to the U.S. to work for a bona fide nonprofit religious organization. The maximum duration for R-1 status is five years.

Family members – In each of the above categories, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may accompany you to the U.S. However, as a general rule, family members are not permitted to work in the U.S.

Can an illegal immigrant fix his immigration status?

Those that were not born in the United States and have not acquired U.S. Citizenship from their parents, will need a Visa or Green Card to enter the country.

Generally, a tourist Visa can be requested at a U.S. Consulate abroad by filling out an application and presenting documents of having strong ties to his or her country of residence.

Work Visas are granted to workers that are sponsored by an American company, and are subject to very strict rules. Because it is very complicated to obtain a work Visa in the U.S., many immigrants come with a tourist Visa and just stay in the country illegally. Many immigrants that are unable to even obtain a tourist Visa decide to enter the country illegally, by walking through the Mexican or Canadian borders.

Immigrant with illegal status have very limited options to regularize their position with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Generally, those that overstayed their Visa can only get a Green Card if they marry a U.S. Citizen. Further, those that entered the country without a Visa have to go through a complicated waiver process, which require the assistance of the best immigration lawyers.

Other ways to change to a legal status are provided by special laws, such as the U Visa or the VAWA provisions. Finally, many illegal immigrant get legal status when the U.S. Government passes immigration reforms and amnesty laws.

Another common ground of ineligibility for immigration benefits are criminal convictions. Unfortunately, many immigrants do not understand the immigration consequences of criminal convictions  when they plead guilty to even minor offenses, such as shoplifting or possession or controlled substances.

If your Visa or Green Card is denied, you will be given a written explanation of the denial reasons. You will be able to appeal a negative decision to a higher authority, which will be the Administrative Appeals Office or the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Frequently asked questions – U.S. immigration law

The following are some basic, frequently asked questions in regard to U.S. immigration law and

visas. Since immigration law is rapidly changing and highly complex, this web site is intended

to provide general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice on visa related

matters and immigration law.

  1. What is “labor certification?”  The United States immigration law states that an alien labor certification is a

certification by the Department of Labor that there are not workers who are qualified, able,

willing, and available at the prospective place of employment, and employment of an alien

won’t adversely effect the working conditions and wages of similarly employed workers in the


  1. What is an “immigrant” versus a “non-immigrant”? According to U.S. immigration law, an immigrant is an alien who intends to stay in the U.S.

on a permanent, or non-temporary, basis. A non-immigrant is an alien who is coming to the U.S.

for a temporary period for a specific purpose. It is possible for aliens to remain in the U.S.

for extended periods of time by virtue of a non-immigrant visa.

  1. What is the length of time for which a non-immigrant visa valid?  The maximum length for which the visa is valid depends upon the type of visa and, in some

instances, the alien’s specific circumstances. The length of stay in the U.S. and the date the

alien must depart depends upon the INS. period of stay granted by the INS.

  1. Is it possible for possible for a person to have “dual citizenship” Under certain circumstances, it is possible to have dual citizenship. This depends upon a

number of factors, including, how the citizenships were acquired, the actions of the

individual, the timing of the acquisition of the citizenships involved, and laws of the

country involved.

  1. Is every foreign national who intends to enter the U.S. required to obtain a visa? Generally, yes.

If you would like to inquire about assistance with an immigration law or visa issue, please

Contact the Firm.

If you have further questions, please visit our links page.

Under the U.S. immigration law.

Under the U.S. immigration law, any alien convicted of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT), or who admits to have committed a CIMT, or the elements of a CIMT, is inadmissible to the USA.

Moreover, many immigration crimes are included in the CIMT (or crimes involving moral indecency) category.

In the common law, “Moral Turpitude” refers to an act which is morally reprehensible, inherently base, vile, or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general.

CIMTs are the oldest reasons of “removal” from the United States and were introduced in the U.S. immigration law for the first time in 1891, condemning to expulsion all those guilty people “who have been convicted of a felony or other infamous crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude”.

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruled that a CIMT involves a behavior that is itself vile or involves fraud or deception, but various Federal Courts have different forms of interpreting these conditions.

Persons are potentially ineligible for a visa under Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) if they are convicted of a statutory offense which involves moral turpitude.

The crimes involving moral indecency are grouped into three main categories:

–  Crimes against property (blackmail, arson, robbery, burglary, receipt of stolen property, counterfeit godos, larceny, theft, or securities fraud);

–  Crimes committed against governmental authority (tax evasion, corruption, fraud against the Government);

–  Crimes committed against individuals, family and sexual morality (statutory rape, murder, second or third degree assault, disorderly conduct, child abuse or pornography, spouse abuse, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, attempted murder, accessory after the fact to murder).

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the conviction of a crime which corresponds to this list, can make a person ineligible to enter the United States and to obtain a visa.

To avoid ineligibility, you must file a criminal appeal.

If the person is already present in the United States, the acquisition of a Green Card or the naturalization process can be denied.

Most criminal convictions are based on state law. Crimes punished by only fines or even less have still been held to be CIMTs.

If the conviction was committed for a “Petty Offense”, the alien may still be admissible.

In the case of a Petty Offense, the maximum possible penalty for the crime should not exceed imprisonment for one year and the alien was not sentenced to a term of imprisonment in excess of six months.

The Petty Offense exception is not available if more than one CIMT offense was committed or admitted. The exception can often be relied, to exclude CIMT grounds. You may apply for a Petty Offense if:

–  you are less than 18 years old;

– in some cases of purely political offenses (such as political rallies of opposition, in a politically repressed country);

– the sentence took place more than 5 years ago;

– the maximum penalty for the offense shall not exceed one year in prison and the offender was not sentenced to more than 180 days in prison.

Another way to atone for a CIMT, is to qualify for a pardon (Waiver), under the Section 212 (h) of the INA.

This section allows exceptions when the sentence imposed was more than 15 years ago, the admission would not affect the security of the United States and the immigrant was later rehabilitated.

Finally, exemptions may be granted when the alien proves a condition of extreme hardship for the spouse, child and parent legally residents, if banned from entering in the United States.

The law on CIMTs is constantly changing, and only a lawyer familiar with local criminal laws as well as the Immigration Code, can provide a full analysis of your case.

The plaintiffs and defendants of a lawsuit are the litigants, and are generally represented by a litigation law firm

A lawsuit (or legal action) is a civil action filed in a tribunal in which a plaintiff, someone asserting to have suffered a loss as a result of a defendant’s actions or inactions, asks a legal or equitable remedial measure.

The defendant must reply to the plaintiff’s legal papers, or a default judgment may be entered. If the plaintiff wins the case, judgment is in his favor, and many court orders exist so that enforcement of a right, the award of damages, or impositions of a temporary or permanent injunction may be accomplished. A declaratory judgment is often sought to prevent future lawsuits.

A lawsuit generally involves the resolution of disputes between private parties, corporations or non-profit organizations.

The phases involved in a lawsuit are referred to the word “litigation”. The plaintiffs and defendants of a lawsuit are the litigants, and are generally represented by a litigation law firm.

The word litigation is also used in criminal proceedings.

The civil and criminal procedure rules control the phases of a lawsuit in the common law-based legal system. Procedural rules are also amended and changed by other statutory laws, precedential decisions, and constitutional rules that set the rights of the parties involved in legal proceedings.

The substance and extent of procedural laws change greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction (State or Federal), and even from court to court within the same judicial district or federal appellate circuit. The procedural rules are crucial for the trial because they impose the timing of the lawsuit’s stages, and what the parties can file (and when), such as motions to dismiss, motion to suppress evidence, motion for summary judgment, or motions to reopen criminal cases.

How can I get a Visa in the United States?

The economy in the United States is the best in the world, and that’s why millions of people every year want to come to live and work in America.

U.S. immigration laws are very strict. While it is quite easy to get automatic citizenship by birth in American soil, it is extremely complicated to get a work Visa or Green Card. Many immigrants obtain a Green Card (lawful permanent residency) by sponsor of a U.S. Citizen relative, such as a spouse, parent, sibling, or child over 21 years of age.

Those that do not have American relatives have to apply for a work Visa. The main problem is to find a sponsor, which is an American company that is willing to offer full time employment. After, the company will have to apply with a labor certification with the U.S. department of labor, to ensure that the rights of U.S. citizen workers are not violated. In fact, the U.S. government requires that companies give preference to workers that are either U.S. Citizens or that are Lawful Permanent Residents.

In addition, some work Visas are subject to an annual cap, and when USCIS receives more petitions that the number of Visas available, a lottery takes place. This could be a very stressful and frustrating situation.

Generally, artists Visa, and Visas for individuals with extraordinary ability get a strong preference.

For instance, the O-1 Visa is not subject by annual caps, and can also be used from J-1 Visa holders that are subject to the 2-year residency requirement. It can also be used by H-1B Visa holders that have already spent 6 years in their status and are not eligible for further extensions.

Also, the EB1 Visa is one of the very few immigration classifications that allows self-sponsorship. An alien of extraordinary ability in the science, business, athletics or arts can simply apply for a Green Card even without a formal job offer. The reason is that U.S. laws strongly favors individuals with talent that will improve the economy and the level of workforce.

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The L1 Visa for Intra-Corporate Transfer

The L1 Visa for Intra-Corporate Transfer.

When a foreign company wishes to transfer to its American subsidiary, affiliate or joint venture, an executive, manager, or an employee having specialized knowledge and having been employed by the company during no less than one year preceding the application,

It can do so after having obtained the consent of the Department of Immigration. It is necessary however that the American subsidiary, affiliate, joint venture, or branch office be created and that the foreign mother company holds 51% of shares or that shares be split 50%-50% with dual veto power between the foreign and U.S. companies.

Understanding the L-1 Intra-Corporate Visa.
How many times have you listened to advice by people who, in good faith, wanted to help you but misled you in trying to obtain a visa or work permit to the United States?

We will show you that it is not necessary to be misled by utilizing the typical example of an L-1 visa, intracorporate transfer, favoring companies, associations, and all other legal entities which are constituted in a country other than the United States and who establish ties with the U.S..

A foreign general contractor who had been in his business for a long time, decided to settle in the United States, following a slowdown of the market in his home country.

After obtaining his visa, his company must continue to function abroad for a reasonable period of time, that is to say that no matter what its charter (federal or provincial) it must continue its activities.
On arrival to the United States, this entrepreneur creates a company having the same (or similar) functions as the foreign company, which becomes the parent company; as long as the operations of this new company are not illegal he will be able to constitute it and to manage it.

Since, however, he has interests both abroad and in the United States, he will have to travel often and the L-1 visa applied for by the foreign company to transfer him to the parent company in the U.S. will allow him to do so at will. Moreover he will have the possibility of living more than 183 consecutive days per year in the U.S.

This limit is imposed on non-Americans (special attention should be paid to the tax aspect of this situation since you may involuntarily become a tax resident of the United States by the duration and status of your stay in America).

This visa is valid for a period of one to three years with a possibility for renewal up to seven years. Consequently, if the presence of this applicant is necessary for the management of the American company he will be able to stay in the United States in order to work. He will not however be able to work for another company.
If at the end of the first year (or any time thereafter) he decides to become a permanent resident of the United States and that the U.S. operation is proved viable he will, thanks to his multinational executive or managerial status, be able to have his status changed from non-immigrant to immigrant.

The waiting period is approximately three years unless that person has exceptional talents.

He will be able to continue working for the company during that period.
The L-1 visa applications are prepared in the intended jurisdiction of operations then sent to the Regional Adjudication Center for INS analysis. One must allow approximately six months in order to obtain approval.

That is the time required in order to complete a file and have it studied. If the individual is in the United States, his tourist visa can be changed to an L-1 visa. If he is abroad, his visa is sent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to the embassy or to the consulate of the city in which the parent company is established. In some countries, approval of the request is sent to a designated point of entry.
Our entrepreneur, enthusiastic as he is, worries because the company has not made any profits in the past year and has not declared them. He must know that the immigration department is interested in knowing about profits of the foreign company its sales and the number of employees.

In order to satisfy its requirements, the foreign company must have generated a ‘respectable’ sales figure of over $150,000.

Law Offices of Simone Bertollini – Immigration Lawyer in NJ

How Do I Obtain Permanent Residence (Green Card)?

As a Permanent Resident, you have the right to live and work in the U.S. for the rest of your life. You must pay taxes, contribute to social security, and register for the military draft if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26. However, you may not vote or hold public office, and certain jobs are not open to you. You are restricted in the amount of time that you may spend outside of the U.S. and are limited as to which relatives you may sponsor for permanent residence. If you are convicted of a serious crime, or otherwise violate the immigration laws, such as immigration fraud, you may be subject to expulsion from the U.S. unless you get your conviction vacated with a Coram Nobis petition.

You may become a permanent resident by any of the following methods:

Relatives in the United States – Most of the persons who become permanent residents each year are sponsored by close relatives who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. U.S. citizens may petition for their spouses, parents, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters (whether they are married or single, and whether they are minors or adults). Permanent residents may only petition for their spouses and their unmarried sons and daughters.

Immediate Relatives (parents, spouses, and children of U.S. citizens – children being unmarried and under 21 years of age, and, in the case of a parent of a U.S. citizen, the petitioning son or daughter being at least 21 years of age, widows and widowers of U.S. citizens provided that the widow(er) was the spouse of the citizen for at least two years prior to the citizen’s death and was not legally separated from the citizen at the time of his or her death) have first claim on “relative” visas, without regard to number limitations.  The number of immediate relatives who are granted visas is subtracted from the total number of family – sponsored visas available. Regardless of how many immediate relatives are granted visas annually, at least 226, 000 visas will be available to persons in four Family Preference categories:

1st Preference – Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (23,400 annually, plus any unused visas from the 4th Preference category, if any).

2nd Preference – Spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents (114,200 annually, plus the amount by which visas allocated to the family preference categories exceeds 226,000, plus unused visas from the 1st Preference category, if any).

3rd Preference – Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (23,400 annually, plus unused visas from the 1st and 2nd Preference categories, if any).

4th Preference – Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (65,000 annually, plus unused visas from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Preference categories, if any).

How can you become a citizen of the United States?

Naturalization it is the main way for a foreign person to become a U.S. citizen.

American citizenship can be obtained by those who have resided in the United States as a permanent resident (Green Card holder) for a certain number of years.

Obtaining citizenship allows, among other things, to:

– be able to remain outside the United States indefinitely, without the restrictions that are imposed on the Green Card holders who have not obtained a re-entry permit;

– sponsor close family members for a U.S. Green Card;

– acquire the right to vote;

– hold high-level governmental positions;

– get a U.S. passport.

The applicant must meet a few requirements, depending on the individual’s situation.

The general requirements for naturalization are:

– to be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

– to be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least 5 years.

– to show that he or she has lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply.

– to demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.

– to show that he/she has been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.

– to be able to read, write, and speak basic English.

– to have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).

– to be a person of good moral character.

– to demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.

If the application for citizenship is denied, you can file Form N-336 to request a hearing with an immigration officer. At the hearing, you have the right to be represented by an immigration attorney. If the denial is sustained, a litigation law firm will be necessary to file a complaint in a Federal District Court.

What is a motion to correct Criminal Sentence?

The immigration consequences to a criminal conviction may be very complex and directly affect the immigrant’s ability to stay in the United States. An alien who has been convicted of a crime that affects the immigration status, still has hope in mitigating the immigration ramifications of the conviction. A post-conviction sentence modification may be effective in avoiding a conviction for immigration purposes or to eliminate an aggravated-felony ground of deportability. Motions to correct criminal sentence rules vary by State.

A criminal sentence modification results in a reduction of the criminal sentence. A criminal sentence can be modified after the trial is done, even if the offender is already in jail. During trial, the defendant may request a sentence modification at any time during the sentencing portion of trial. A sentence illegally imposed must be corrected within 120 days. A sentence is illegal when the court goes beyond its authority by acting without jurisdiction or imposing a sentence in excess of the statutory maximum.

If the judge concludes that the new factors are in the defendant’s favor, they have discretion to modify the sentence accordingly.  A Motion to correct criminal sentence allows modification when:

An error was made in the sentence and needs to be corrected;

The defendant has assisted in another criminal case by cooperating with prosecutors to provide information or testimony;

Other factors can be applied, such as a sentence reduction based on the offender’s age, terminal illness, or changes in state sentencing guidelines.

The defendant and the immigration attorney will need to file a motion and the judge will then conduct a hearing on the motion. You must file motion under 28 U.S.C.  2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct in the United States district court that entered the judgment that you are challenging. If you want to challenge a federal judgment that imposed a sentence to be served in the future, you should file the motion in the federal court that entered that judgment.  You may challenge the judgment entered by only one court. If you want to challenge a judgment entered by a different judge or division (either in the same district or in a different district), you must file a separate motion. A 2255 motion is often the correct remedy for prisoners who have been sentenced illegally or unfairly. Section 2255 expressly provides for challenges to a sentence on specified grounds.

Once the motion is under review, the defendant must demonstrate that there are new factors in existence that would justify a criminal sentence modification. New factors may be facts or a set of facts that:

Are unknown to the trial judge at the time they imposed the original sentence;

Frustrates the aim or goal of the original sentence;

Are not in existence at the time of sentencing;

Are unknowingly disregarded by all parties.

In most jurisdictions, if the initial sentence is greater than 3 years, the prosecutor must agree to have the motion reviewed. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) held in a published decision that reductions in criminal sentences nunc pro tunc (with retroactive legal effect) should be recognized for immigration purposes. This is an important legal ruling that can help immigrants with certain criminal convictions obtain immigration benefits or avoid deportation.

Non-U.S. citizens with criminal convictions, placed in deportation proceedings or seeking immigration benefits, should seek representation by knowledgeable and experienced immigration attorneys. Your attorney can help determine whether criminal sentence modification is available for your case, and can help you file the proper motions and requests. The immigration consequences to criminal convictions can be harsh and complex, ranging from delays to naturalizing as a U.S. citizen to triggering deportation proceedings.

How does Asylum work in the United States?

Asylum – Those who have a well-founded fear of persecution if they return to their home country may apply for asylum if their fear is based on any of the following grounds:

Political opinion

Religious belief



Membership in a particular social group

If a person is granted asylum, after one year he may apply for permanent resident status.

Withholding of deportation – Similar to asylum, with the following two exceptions

The alien is not permitted to apply for permanent residence, and

USCIS is only prohibited from placing in deportation proceedings the alien to the country where he fears persecution, not to third countries which are willing to accept him.

Legalization and Registry – Once an illegal alien has been found qualified for legalization or “amnesty” by USCIS, the deportation hearing will typically be terminated since the alien will have attained the legal right to remain in the United States.

Registry is another means of attaining lawful permanent residence in the United States. It is available to aliens who have resided continuously in the U.S. since prior to January 1, 1972, who are persons of good moral character, who are not deportable on certain aggravated grounds, and who are not ineligible for citizenship. Registry may be applied for affirmatively, not only as a defense to deportation.

Voluntary Departure – If you are ineligible for all of the above forms of relief from deportation, you should still consider applying for voluntary departure. Departing voluntarily from the U.S. avoids both the stigma and the legal impediments to return to the U.S. imposed by deportation.

Voluntary departure is available to aliens who are not deportable on aggravated grounds, who have the means to pay for their departure from the United States, who agree to depart within a period of time granted by the Immigration Judge, and who can establish good moral character during the previous five-year period.

All forms of relief from deportation, except withholding of deportation, may be granted at the discretion of an Immigration Judge. Final orders of an Immigration Judge can be challenged with an immigration appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and from there to the appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals.

How do I change my address with USCIS?

The notice of change of address applies not only to Non-immigrant Visa Holders, such as F-1, H-1B, O-1 Visa and so on, but as well to green card holders. Providing the USCIS with your change of address it is a condition of a requirement of an individual’s stay in the United States. Visitors who do not comply with the change of address requirement during their stay in the United States will be considered “Out of Status”.

You must report a change of address within 10 days of moving within the United States or its territories. This process is straightforward and allows you to complete everything online.

You can change or update your address online, please visit the USCIS website It will ask you if this change of address is for an application or petition currently in progress. This will help USCIS to ensure that you receive any notices or documents without delay.

The first form you will need to complete is form AR-11. Once you complete this form, the system will prompt you to complete the second step and update your address on any pending or recently approved applications and petitions.

If you fail to update your address, you may face harsh consequences. You may be subject to deportation and other stiff penalties.

More about the o 1b visa

An O visa is a classification of non-immigrant temporary worker visa granted by the United States to an alien “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,” and to certain assistants and immediate family members of such aliens.

According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are three types of O visas: O-1A – individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry) O-1B – individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry. O-2 – individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. “For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an ‘integral part’ of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be ‘essential’ to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1.” O-3 – individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1s and O-2s.

What is Immigration fraud?

To enter or remain in the United States and be eligible for various immigration related benefits, aliens must comply with a number of document requirements under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. Under the INA, an alien who uses, acquires, or produces fraudulent documents for immigration-related purposes may be subjected to civil penalties and denied certain immigration benefits, including the ability to enter or remain in the United States.

There are different types of immigration fraud:


Immigration Fraud by Marriage

The most common way to gain lawful residency in the United States it is through marriage. Even though, marrying a US citizen remains the most appealing way, there are strict federal laws in place to prevent marriage frauds to obtain immigration benefits. In fact, since the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986, aliens who derive their immigrant status based on a marriage of less than two years are considered “conditional” immigrants.

During the first two years of marriage, immigrants must apply at a USCIS office for an interview with an officer who has the power to remove the conditional status. The couple will need to provide more evidence that they live together in a marital union.

Conditional status may be terminated, if the alien cannot show that the marriage is valid, making him/her deportable. If a person has been charged with marriage fraud may be denied later applications for citizenship and/or may be barred from the United States as a criminal immigrationoffender.

Immigration Services Scams

The US government has revealed a multi-agency initiative to fight the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law (UPIL). The initiative targets unauthorized “attorneys” from preying on immigrant communities by providing services they are not qualified to provide or by guaranteeing immigration benefits. On a licensed immigration lawyer can represent you in Court.


Immigration Frauds through Documents

Immigration document fraud it is another common way to obtain “LPR” in the US and it refers to the manufacture, sale or use of counterfeit identity documents such as birth certificates, social security cards or passports.

An example of document fraud is lying about the intention in coming to the US in a visa application.

A person found guilty of document fraud can face massive consequences, including monetary fines and criminal sentences. It is, of course, a deportable offense.

Cómo emigrar legalmente a los Estados Unidos. 

How to Bring a Fiancé or Fiancée Into the United States?

Entry Visas and Green Cards are available for Fiancés, Husbands or Wives of U.S. Citizens.

A good immigration attorney advises people about the most effective ways to obtain entry and permanent resident status for noncitizen spouses and fiancés. Contact an attorney to discuss your situation and your family immigrationoptions with an experienced lawyer.

If you are an American citizen engaged to marry a non-U.S. citizen who lives abroad, the K-1 visa will allow entry on terms that can expedite permanent residence (i.e., green card) status. K-1 visa applications are subjected to close scrutiny, however, and the advice of an experienced fiancé visa attorney can help you avoid mistakes while presenting the proper documentation in the right form at the proper times.

If a disqualifying circumstance applies in your situation, we can work proactively to seek a waiver of inadmissibility or show alternative grounds for bringing your intended into the country.

There are two main options for bringing the noncitizen husband or wife of a U.S. citizen into the country. One has the advantage of entering the country with permanent residence status as the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, but it can take up to a year to complete the application, interview and approval process. The other option allows entry as a nonimmigrant under a K-3 visa. The approval and entry process is much faster, but you’ll need to apply for adjustment of status after entry in order to obtain the green card.

Whether your best approach is to enter as an immigrant relative or on a nonimmigrant K-3 marriage visa will depend on your family’s needs and circumstances.

How to Choose a Good Lawyer

The first step in choosing an attorney is understanding whether you need one.  If you are not sure of the solution to your problem or whether you need a lawyer to help you, you probably do.  A lawyer knows how to identify legal problems and advise you of the solutions. He can review your family situation, finances, property ownership, employment, investments and business interests. If legal action is required, your lawyer can recommend a strategy.

I recommend that everyone review their family legal papers about once a year to see if the documents reflect your current needs. Marital difficulties are fraught with legal pitfalls. Also, any time you’re injured in an accident of any kind, including a work related accident, you should consult with your attorney to determine your rights and your eligibility for a Writ of Coram Nobis.    Sometimes a specific event such as the birth or death of a loved one will cause you seek legal advice, and if you prepare for possible contingencies in advance, you can save problems later on.

It is important to see your lawyer early; before a problem occurs, or if there is already a problem, before it becomes more aggravated and costly. For example, if you are seriously injured in an auto accident, contact a lawyer promptly so that evidence can be gathered from the accident site and witnesses interviewed before the memories fade. If you are going through a divorce, be sure to see your own lawyer before signing a separation agreement.

Your criminal and immigration lawyer should be a person who has a solid background in the type of problem which you are encountering. Ask him if he handles your type of case and what experience he has in the area. He should be a person you can talk to and feel comfortable with and have confidence in. Do not be afraid to ask for explanations of the law of your case and of the procedures and steps needed to solve the matter. Most importantly, do not be afraid to discuss the cost of the legal work which you anticipate having done. Professional ethics require that your attorney fully explain his method of billing and services to be performed for that compensation.

Cómo emigrar legalmente a los Estados Unidos.

What is a Labor Certification?

In many cases the only way to obtain U.S. permanent residence (“green card”) is for an individual to find an employer in the United States who is willing to assist by applying for a Labor Certification on his/her behalf.

The Labor Certification is a process whereby through very strict regulations, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is satisfied that a full and proper recruitment has been made of U.S. workers and that the U.S. Government standards have been met to establish that there is no U.S. worker currently qualified, willing and able to fill the position offered to the foreign worker.

The job has to be advertised in publications acceptable to the DOL and any applications are sent directly to the State Employment Service Agency (SESA) for the employers’ review and backgrounds checks to insure that the alien was never convicted of any crime that could affect immigration status. All applicants who appear to qualify must be interviewed and may only be rejected for lawful job related reasons. If there are qualified workers, it is probable that the case will fail. If the agency unreasonably delays processing of a PERM application, it is possible to file a petition for aWrit of Mandamus.

Depending on where in the U.S. the job is located, the process can take up to 3 years or more. Once approved, the case can be forwarded to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to complete the permanent residence application. This can be in the U.S. at the Immigration and Naturalization Service or out of the U.S. at a U.S. Consulate in the area having jurisdiction over the employee.

An individual may be exempted from the Labor Certification process if an employer can demonstrate it has extensively recruited through sources normal to its industry, for the six months preceding the filing of the Labor Certification application. This application can then be considered for Reduction in Recruitment or “fastrack” processing. Examples of employment based categories not requiring a Labor Certification are multi-national executives or managers (EB-1(c)), aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, outstanding professors and researchers, applicants performing services in the “national interest”, and the permanent investor visas (EB-5).

The “H” Visa for Professionals.

The “H” Visa for Professionals. More than forty professionals are listed as being deemed “professional”: such as:

  • Computer system analysts,
  • Engineers,
  • Accountants,
  • Dentists,
  • College, university or seminar professors,
  • Scientists,
  • Architects,
  • Lawyers,
  • Nurses,
  • Medical, laboratory or clinical technicians.

Athletes are no longer on this list as they have their own P category.
The H visa allows these professionals to enter into the United States pursuant to consular application.

However they have the right to be employed by an American company and to be remunerated in the United States.
Although we define a “professional” as being a person holding a university diploma, this diploma is not required for all professionals who can substitute experience and notoriety therefore.

Conversely for others, such as librarians, a master’s degree is required. In the case of professionals in hotel administration and journalism, a bachelor’s degree is required as well as three years’ experience in order to enter the United States.

Doctors are only eligible as H1 candidates in the fields of clinical teaching or research but are not allowed to practice ( direct patient care).


Permanent Visas (Green Cards)

Permanent visas to the United States can be divided into three basic categories; those based upon relatives, employment and investment. U.S. law provides for refugee status however this is not an active category nor is it a topic of this information packet. Except for immediate relatives most immigrant visas are subject to quotas which have resulted in waiting periods for most immigrants. The length of the waiting period depends upon the type of visa and nationality of the applicant. The spouse and children under 21 are entitled to a visa along with the principal applicant.

1. Immediate Relatives
This category includes spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens. This group is not subject to quotas. Processing time is usually four to six months.
2. Relatives Subject to Quotas
1st Preference – unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, ie; children over age 21, currently there is no waiting period.
2nd Preference – spouse, children and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents. The waiting period is about three (3) years for most countries.
3rd Preference – married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (i.e. ; married children of any age). The waiting period is over 2 (two) years for most countries.
4th Preference – brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. The visa has a waiting period of eight or more years depending upon the country.
3. Employment Based Immigration
There are now (since October 31, 1991) three general employment based categories in three separate priority groups. There will be more visas available in the top priority groups than in the bottom and consequently shorter waiting periods NOTE: The legislation came into effect in October of 1991 and therefore visas are immediately available in all three categories at this time.
a) Priority Workers: There are three categories of “Priority Workers”:
Aliens with extraordinary ability: These aliens must meet the high standard of “extraordinary” ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. To meet this standard, there must be a showing that the alien has received sustained national or international acclaim, with recognition in his or her field being demonstrated by “extensive documentation”. The alien must be coming to the United States to continue working in the same field, and his or her entry must be shown “to substantially benefit prospectively the United States.” The 1990 Act does not require that such aliens have a firm job offer to be admissible in this category.
Outstanding professors and researchers: To enter in this academic category the alien must be internationally recognized as outstanding in a specific academic area; have three years of teaching or research experience in that area; and be coming to the United States to take a tenure-track teaching position with a university or institution of higher education, or a comparable research position, either academic or with a private employer. If the position is with a private employer, that the employer must have at least three full-time research employees, and must be able to document its accomplishments in an academic field.
Certain multinational executives and managers: This category encompasses aliens entering the United States to work for an employer, or subsidiary or affiliate thereof, for which they have worked abroad for at least one of the three years immediately proceeding entry. The bill specifies, however, that if a claim is made that managerial or executive capacity is based on the number of staff, consideration will be given to whether that number is appropriate to the organization’s size and functions and its stage of development.
“Managerial capacity” means an assignment within an organization in which the employee primarily manages the organization or a department , subdivision, function or component of the organization; supervises and controls the work of other supervisors, professionals or managers or manages an essential function within the organization or a department or subdivision; supervises other employees, has the authority to hire and fire, or recommend such actions as well as other personnel actions, or if no supervision occurs, functions at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy or with respect to the function managed, and exercises discretion over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function for which the employee has authority. A first line supervisor will not be considered to be acting in a managerial capacity unless the persons supervised are professionals.
“Executive capacity” means an assignment within the organization in which the employee primarily directs the management of the organization or a major component or function of the organization ; establish the goals and policies of the organization , component or function; exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors or stockholders.
b) Aliens: Members of a profession holding advanced degrees or aliens of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business: To qualify under the first provision, the alien must hold an advance degree, or the equivalent. To show exceptional ability, the law specifies that it is not enough that the alien possesses a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from an educational institution, or license or certificate to practice a particular profession or occupation. Both categories must show that their entry will “substantially benefit” the United States` economy, cultural or educational interest, or welfare. The alien must also have a job offer from a United States employer, although this requirement may be waived in the case of the alien of  exceptional ability.
c) Skilled Workers, Professionals and Other Workers:
Skilled workers are workers who can perform skilled labour that is not temporary and requires at least two years training or experience, and for which there are no qualified United States workers available.
Professionals who are members of the professions who hold a baccalaureate degree.
“Other Workers” are those capable of performing unskilled labour that is not temporary; again, qualified, United States workers must be unavailable.
Please note that for category (b) and category (c) the prospective immigrant must obtain a job offer (in most cases) and obtain “labour certification” which is a formal process by which the department of labour must certify to the Immigration and naturalization Service that there are no ready, willing and able American workers to fill the position at the prevailing wage rate.
4. Investment Based Immigration
Each year there will be 10,000 visas available to investors setting up businesses in the United States. The investment must be at least 1 million dollars, and 10 U.S. citizens or permanent residents must be employed (other than the immigrant and his family). The investment can be made by way of cash or property based upon the fair market value. The regulations allow for the investment to be financed so long as the investor is personally liable for the borrowed fund, and the liability is not secured by the assets purchased.
The investment can be made by establishing a new business, by the purchase and expansion of any existing business or by investing in a pre-arranged group investment whereby numerous immigrants contribute 1 million each by cash and/or debt in a large project. There are numerous projects now available and many more are expected within the next few months.
In rural areas or areas targeted as areas of high unemployment the investment is reduced to $500,000.

Internet Defamation

Internet users can access information and communicate with each other giving them a false sense of freedom in their communications. Moreover Internet has complete accessibility distinguishing it from traditional print or broadcast media.

Defamation refers to a legal claim involving injury to one’s reputation is any false, intentional, and unprivileged statement of fact, either written (libel) or spoken (slander) that harms someone’s reputation. It has many forms including novels, paintings, or songs among others. Cyber defamation is a slander conducted through the Internet. It’s another form to state or spread defamatory comments and it is against the law. In order to be defamatory, the statement must have been published, have caused injury, and have been false and unprivileged.

The main issue of a defamation claim is falsity. If the statement harm another’s reputation but is true, it will not create liability for defamation.

Internet defamatory libel could be made online (public comments on media websites, blogs, and chat rooms) or through social medias (Facebook, Twitter, and so on). Internet gives any anonymous person an opportunity to express his/her opinion like statement, article, or news item across the world in an instant. Posting statements or pictures online to harm a person’s reputation may be against internet law. Websites are controlled by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or, sometimes, by the company’s information technology department.

Moreover the U.S. Constitution sets some limits on what States can do in the context of free speech. Defamation law has differences from State to State, but there are normally some common accepted standards. Penalties for Cyber defamation vary from country to country, and in the U.S., from State to State. The Government can’t imprison someone for making a defamatory statement, unless it is also a criminal immigration matter. On the other side, under some special circumstances, defamation can be treated as a criminal matter.  In the U.S., about 75% of defamation lawsuits are filed in State courts and the remaining 25% in Federal Courts. At times criminal libel laws are old and infrequently prosecuted.

Statements are defined defamation if were made with malice, that is knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether or not it was false. Generally, “public people” (such as celebrities and movie stars) have less protection from defamatory statements and have a higher threshold in proving someone committed defamation. Some statements are protected by absolute privileges, a complete defense to a defamation claim (for example statements made by witnesses in judicial proceedings).

If a person is acting with malice or out of spite, it may be necessary to file a report with the police depending on local law. If you have been defamed online, you should contact a qualified attorney to discuss your legal options and the best course of action.

How can an immigrant get a Green Card?

Employment – Up to 140,000 persons are permitted to immigrate annually based upon their employment. Priority workers (persons of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics, outstanding researchers and professors, and certain executives and managers of multinational companies) and persons of exceptional ability and holders of advanced degrees may immigrate if they are able to demonstrate to the Labor Department that there are no U.S. workers qualified and available to assume their jobs, or that their presence in the U.S. is in the “national interest”. Professionals with bachelor’s degrees, skilled workers and a limited number of unskilled workers may immigrate if their employers can demonstrate the unavailability of qualified U.S. workers to the Labor Department. Finally, a small number of “special immigrants”, primarily religious ministers and other religious workers, are permitted to immigrate through employment.

Investment in the United States – Up to 10,000 investors and their families may immigrate to the U.S. annually. To qualify, you must invest a minimum of one million dollars ($500,000 if the investment is made in a rural or high- unemployment area) in a new commercial enterprise and employ a minimum of ten full-time U.S. workers.

Asylum (Refugee status) – The U.S. accepts approximately 100,000 refugees and asylees annually. Refugees apply abroad to immigrate to the U.S. They must demonstrate that they have a “well-founded fear of persecution” in their home countries. Asylees are similar to refugees except that they are present in the U.S. when they request asylum.

Visa Lottery – 55,000 people each year are chosen at random to immigrate from millions of applicants for the diversity visa lottery, with frequent changes in the rules regarding who can apply. This is because most persons who immigrate to the U.S. through relatives and employment are from Asia and Latin America. The aim of the visa lottery is to insure “diversity” in immigration. For example, persons born in “high-immigration” countries (Canada, Mexico, China (PRC and Taiwan), India, Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, Poland, United Kingdom, Jamaica, El Salvador, Colombia and the Dominican Republic) are ineligible to apply for the visa lottery in certain years.

Cancellation of Removal Proceedings – Even someone who is not legally present in the US, may under certain circumstances, be eligible for permanent residence: An alien in removal proceedings may apply for a green card from an Immigration Judge if he has been in the US for at least ten years before being placed under removal proceedings; is a person of good moral character; and can demonstrate that it would be an” extreme hardship” to his US citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent(s) or child if he were forced to leave the US. These applications are complex and you will need to hire the best immigration lawyer. The Immigration Judge may grant permanent residence to such a person at his discretion, subject certain restrictions.

How do I get a Business Green Card?

There are different ways to obtain a U.S. Visa, but while non-immigrant visas are for people who usually plan on returning back to their home country after a short period of time, so called, and most wanted, “green-card” are for those who intend on leaving in the United States temporarily.

Getting permanent resident status in the United States is not easy, but certain types of categories may open the door for immigrants. In fact, if you are looking to move in the United States for good, one of the main ways to immigrate is getting a business green card, which is based on an investment in the U.S. After 5 years of permanent residency, it is possible to apply for American Citizenship .

After a family sponsor, business green card applications are considered the second common way to obtain a permanent legal status in the U.S.

The typical employment-based petition is based on a Permanent Labor Certification process (PERM). It is typically a three-step process:

first, the employer must complete the PERM process

second, once the DOL approves the PERM, you and your employer have to file an EB3 visa petition with USCIS. This petition gives USCIS information about you and your employer’s company, as well as your job position and opportunity.

third, the employer conducts recruitment, it has between 60 and 180 days to file the LC.

Moreover, the U.S. employer requests a permanent labor certification by completing an Application for Permanent Employment Certification (“ETA Form 9089”).

This application describes the job duties, educational requirements, training, experience, and other special capabilities that the alien must possess to do the work, and a statement of the prospective alien’s qualifications.

At this point, DOL Makes a Decision on Labor Certification. This process involves approving, denying, or auditing the LC.

How long us naturalization processing time? Naturalization waiting time

How long us naturalization processing time? Naturalization waiting time

Citizenship in the United States is a status that entails specific rights, duties and benefits.

Citizenship is understood as a “right to have rights” since it serves as a foundation for a bundle of subsequent rights, such as the right to live and work in the United States and to receive federal assistance.

There are two primary sources of citizenship: birthright citizenship, in which a person is presumed to be a citizen provided that they are born within the territorial limits of the United States, or other circumstances existing at the time of their birth (for example, citizenship of a parent),[and naturalization, a process in which an immigrant applies for citizenship and is accepted.

How do I extend my work visa in the U.S.?

Extending your work visa it is not a simple process, but it can be done while you are in the U.S. To do so, you must file a request with the USCIS, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services utilizing Form I-765.

More precisely, to extend an employment authorization card, an application from renewal must be filed around 90 days prior to the expiration date printed on the Card.

Form I-765 must be filed to renew an employment authorization document. You can file this form online or you can choose to file the paper form. The USCIS will take into consideration only forms that are filled out completely and accurately, this is why we recommend that you work closely with of the best immigration lawyers.

Applicants who seek to extend their work permits need to gather the required supporting documents:

         photocopies of the previously issued work permits and Form I-797;

         USCIS approval notice of the permits they hold, along with their application for renewal;

         If they have applied for adjustment of status, they need to submit copies of the receipts of notices of their pending applications for permanent resident status.

Your application for Visa extension will not be approved if you have violated the terms of your Visa or if you have been convicted of a crime. There are very serious immigration consequences of a criminal conviction.

Moreover, applicants need to submit two passport style photographs and the form filing fee of $380 by using a check or money order.