Why hire an immigration attorney?
If your application is denied the first time, you’re looking at a whole host of problems and delays that you wouldn’t have otherwise had to deal with. Filing your application correctly and completely the first time is crucial. In today’s atmosphere with increased immigration scrutiny by the government, and the move to shift processing to mainly within the United States, you need to ensure that your application is handled with care, that proper documentation is gathered and submitted, the correct fees and forms included and careless mistakes avoided.
The White house recently unveiled a new immigration plan (click here to read it) that seeks to create a new merit-based system for immigration to the USA, along with several other changes. With the ever changing system of US immigration law, you can’t afford to file without the help of an experienced immigration attorney. Delays cause extended periods of separation from your loved ones and extra stress for everyone. Incorrect submissions can even hurt your future chances of immigrating legally to America. People often think that a visit visa allows them to travel freely to the USA to work and live – but overstaying your visa can cause you to be banned for 3 – 10 years from re-entry. Speak with us today.
For an in-depth 30 minute consultation with an immigration attorney on your options and strategies, our fee is $250 flat.
Should you choose to engage our legal services for assistance with your immigration matter, our general legal fees are as follows (please note that actual fees may be higher or lower and are quoted after all details are confirmed regarding your matter):
- Spousal Sponsorship (petition to sponsor your fiance, husband or wife) – first time application: flat rate $900 – 1500, plus $700 for each derivative (each minor child); more complex application, after denials: flat rate ranges between $1500 – $3500;
- For representation in immigration court (NTAs, deportations, etc.): hourly rate applies
- Family Sponsorship (sibling, parent, adult child) – $1100
- Renewal / Extension of Status / Change of Status – flat $500
- L-Visa – flat rate $3500
- E1/E2 Visa – flat rate $3500 – 6500
- EB5 Visa – direct investment flat rate $15,000, regional center – $11,000
- Visitor Visa (B1/B2) – flat rate $500
- F1 – flat rate $500
- B1/B2 Visa – flat $500
- Re-entry after deportation – flat rate $2500 – 3500
- International Adoptions Immigration – $4000/+
- Adjustment of Status – flat $900
- O1 Visa for Extraordinary Ability or Achievement – flat rate $2500 – $5000
- EB1 for Employment based Extraordinary Ability or Outstanding Researchers/Professors, Multinational Executives and Managers – $3500 – $5500
- EB1-C Greencard for for Multinational Executives and Managers & L-1A Visa Holders – flat $3500 – $5500
- H1-B – flat $1000 – $2500/+ (H-4 dependent with H1B – $400)
- H1B transfer, extension, amendment – $1000
- Schedule a consultation call to determine if you qualify for a visa, your options, and if we can help you reach your immigration goal: Click here to chat with us or Click here to send us a message on Facebook.
- In-depth Consultations – flat rate $250 (maximum 30 mins) to determine probability of success and to outline basic procedure: Click here to schedule a consultation.
No matter where you are in the world, or which state in America you wish to migrate to, we can help you with your immigration needs.
We can help you deal with RFE’s, Consular Processing, Report of Consular Birth Abroad, Reviewing/Completing Affidavit of Support Documents, Visa Extensions, Business Plans, Document Gathering, etc. If you need to change your immigration status (for example, from a B1 or B2 to F1 or L1, etc), if you need to renew your greencard, if you are outside the USA without a re-entry permit and need to reenter the USA, if you need to apply for an extension of your status or require assistance applying for a visa for the first time or after a denial, contact us today.
For Family Based Sponsorships, we can assist you with all of the following:
- USCIS Forms Preparation
- Collection of Form Information
- Supporting Document Advice and Preparation
- USCIS Application Preparation
- Continued Monitoring With USCIS
- Continued Monitoring and Correspondence With Foreign Embassy
- Embassy Spousal Visa Application Preparation
- Interview Preparation
- Electronic Case Files
- Any Additional Appeals, Motions to Reconsider, or Waivers
We can help you deal with RFE’s, Consular Processing, Report of Consular Birth Abroad, Reviewing/Completing Affidavit of Support Documents, Visa Extensions and Naturalization. If you have been recently separated, divorced or incarcerated, or have been the victim of domestic abuse, we can help.
Fees are usually flat rate for family based sponsorship applications, including those based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or greencard holder, petitions for parents, children and siblings. All clients are responsible for paying any additional required USCIS, Embassy, and other related processing fees including the following: I-130 Petition Fee; Medical Exam Fee depending upon country; US Embassy Processing Fee; Affidavit of Support Fee; Biometrics (for each person) and Green Card Issue Fee, etc.
If you are already in the United States (after a K1 fiance visa has been approved, or as a spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident), we can assist you with applying for an adjustment of status (for green card), travel and work permits in the United States.
Alert: On March 20, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the immediate and temporary suspension of premium processing service for all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions until further notice due to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
Investor-Based Visa Applications
We can help with L-Visas, E-Visas, (L1, L2, E2, EB5) etc please click here to understand more about these options for obtaining a U.S. visa through investing or entrepreneurship. If you do not have any other conflicting pending or issued immigrant visa, and are already lawfully within the USA, you may be able to adjust your status to a different immigrant or non-immigrant visa.
We can help you deal with RFE’s, Consular Processing, Report of Consular Birth Abroad, Reviewing/Completing Affidavit of Support Documents and Visa Extensions.
Investor Visa Immigration to America
- L-1 – non-immigrant visa for business owners (affiliate or subsidiary)
- E1 E2 – non-immigrant visas for citizens of treaty countries (min $100,000 investment)
- EB5 – immigrant visa (min US$900,000 – $1.8 mil investment)
L Visa Fees Summary:
- USCIS Filing Fee
- (Optional) Premium Processing Fee
- USCIS Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee
- Visa Application Fee
- Immigration Attorney Legal Fee
- Business Entity Formation
- (Optional) Business Plan
- (Depends) Public Law 114-113 Fee
E-1 E-2 Visa Summary:
The E2 visa is a powerful option for investors and entrepreneurs to live and work in the US. It requires a minimum investment of $100,000 in addition to the required fees.
- E1/E2 Visa Application Fee or USCIS Filing Fee
- Immigration Lawyer Fee
- Business Entity Formation
- Business Plan
- $100,000 minimum investment required
EB5 Visa Summary:
- Minimum capital investment into the commercial enterprise $900,000 (or $1,800,000)
- Regional center administration fees
- Immigration Lawyer Fee
- I-526 Petition filing fee
- I-485 Petition filing fee
- I-829 Petition filing fee
- USCIS biometric fees (plus for each additional family member)
- Wiring Fees
The final total can range from roughly $58,875 to over $80,000 in extra fees that need to be accounted for when investing in the EB-5 Program
Employment-Based Immigration: First Preference EB-1
You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. The filing fee as of 2020 for the EB-1 Permanent Workers visa is $580. Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met:
|Extraordinary Ability||You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required.|
|Outstanding professors and researchers||You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.|
|Multinational manager or executive||You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.|
Employer Criteria for Multinational Manager or Executive:
– Your petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer.
– Your employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.
Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB-2
You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. If your petition is approved, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 may be eligible to apply for admission in the E-21 and E-22 immigrant status. Below are the occupational categories and requirements:
|Advanced Degree||The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field).|
|Exceptional Ability||You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”|
|National Interest Waiver||Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation. Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.|
O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
The O nonimmigrant classification is commonly referred to as:
- 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.
- O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s
Who may give you legal advice in U.S. immigration proceedings?
As emphasized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), only a US licensed attorney or an accredited representative working for a Board of Immigration Appeals-recognized organization can give you legal advice. This includes:
- How to answer questions on your immigration forms;
- What immigration options you have; and
- Communication with USCIS about your case
What happens if my employee encounters problems at the border when applying for a U.S. work visa? Will the United States government authorities communicate with non-U.S. licensed attorneys regarding such issues?
The short answer is no.
A new attorney representation form (G-28i) was introduced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in 2009 (most likely due to increased security concerns). The addition of this form now makes a clear distinction between U.S licensed attorneys and foreign lawyers who are not licensed in the United States. So, if you are planning to immigrate to the United States, you need a US licensed attorney – a lawyer who is licensed in any of the states of the USA.
This is significant because, while the distinction already existed under DHS rules, it was never really enforced in the past. According to 8 CFR 292.1(a)(6), an attorney who is not licensed in the United States, but who is licensed to practice law and is in good standing in in the country in which he or she resides may act as a representative only in matters outside the geographical confines of the United States (i.e. outside of the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and the official before whom he or she wishes to appear must allow the representation as a matter of discretion, with regards to United States immigration matters. A foreign attorney can only represent you if your case is being processed outside of the U.S. If your case is transferred to a domestic USCIS office, USCIS will communicate with you directly, not with your foreign attorney (who had to submit Form G-28i). Check the USCIS website for additional information.
Only United States licensed attorneys or an accredited representative, as mentioned above, may now fill out Form G-28 and represent individuals for work/immigrant visa applications at the border or at the USCIS Service Center (which constitutes the bulk of all United States immigration matters). Under the new rules, foreign attorneys are prohibited from representing and thereby communicating or negotiating with United States immigration authorities regarding any immigration matter pending within the United States or at the border, regardless of whether or not they are in-house. This could pose a serious problem for any Canadian or Mexican company utilizing the relatively liberal rules of NAFTA to obtain United States work visas for their workers at the border or from within the United States. These foreign lawyers may only fill out Form G-28i, rather than Form G-28. Make sure that only U.S. licensed attorneys handle in-house matters involving U.S. immigration regulations and laws in order to avoid problems with representation of your employees in the future. Contract with an outside U.S. licensed attorney if you do not have one employed in-house at your company.
Can I be represented by a notario publicos (“notary public”)?
No. Notarios, immigration consultants, and other service providers that are not BIA-recognized organizations may not represent you before DHS and may not file Form G-28. In many Spanish-speaking nations, “notarios” are powerful attorneys with special legal credentials. However, “notary public” in North America refers to people appointed by state governments to witness the signing of important documents and to administer oaths. Notary publics in North America are not necessarily lawyers, although lawyers can be notary publics. “Notarios publico” in the USA are not authorized to provide you with any legal services related to immigration. If you are in the USA, avoid this common scam and make sure you only use either a U.S. licensed attorney or an accredited representative to give you legal advice.
I am Canadian. May I use an immigration consultant instead of an immigration lawyer if I am a Canadian who wishes to migrate to the U.S.?
No. This is an area that causes much confusion for people. There are differences between the way immigration matters are handled within the U.S. and Canada. Immigration law in the USA is within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Federal Government; US immigration consultants may not represent individuals in U.S. immigration proceedings (those who wish to migrate to the U.S.). However, this is not to be confused with a U.S. licensed foreign legal consultant, who is a lawyer with a valid permit issued by a Canadian Law Society and who may represent individuals in U.S. immigration matters. Canadian immigration law is under Canadian Federal jurisdiction; immigration consultants who are members of the ICCRC are permitted to represent clients in matters relating to Canadian immigration (those who wish to migrate to Canada). However, these members are only recognized as representatives for Canadian immigration purposes only – they are not permitted to represent U.S. immigration clients in exchange for direct or indirect remuneration. Other non-lawyer organizations such as Canadian pardon services and paralegals also do not meet the requirements and act in violation of U.S. federal laws if they represent clients in U.S. immigration matters. You are best served by a lawyer who is licensed in the United States.
Immigration and Sponsorship to the United States of America
United States of America Immigration Law Basics
Immigration refers to people moving into a country while emigration refers to someone leaving a country.
Immigrating to the USA can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life that a person may go through, and it can be one of the most stressful – improper planning can lead to awful scenarios. Immigration law is a very politically divisive area, and has lead to immigration law being one of the most dense and ever-changing areas of American law. At least three major agencies administer the US immigration system with dozens of other agencies playing various others roles.
You will often hear the terms “aliens” or “illegal aliens”. These terms refer to someone who is present in the United States but is not a U.S. citizen or national. A resident alien is someone who is not a citizen or national but has the right to live and work in the U.S. while a nonresident alien has the right be in the U.S. for a limited period of time (ie. being on a travel visa). Classification often depends on where you are in the immigration process.
There are immigrant and non-immigrant visas. The first step in immigration is to obtain a visa. For citizens of some foreign countries, a visa is needed to travel to the USA even for a vacation, whereas citizens of certain other countries do not require any such visa. If someone wants to move to the USA, they need to fill out an application for an immigration visa for permanent residence and submit it to a US Consulate in the country of origin. Once the application has been submitted and fees have been paid, the applicant has an interview with an consular officer who questions the applicant’s background and his or her plans for immigrating to the USA. The officer then decides whether or not to grant the visa to the applicant.
Having a visa does not guarantee entry into the USA. It allows the visa-holder to travel to a port-of-entry (airport or land border) where an immigration officer has the power to deny or grant entry into the country.
Beware of anyone who guarantees that they can get you a visa for a certain fee, or of anyone who claims that they have an ‘inside-track’ or that they ‘know someone’ who can speed up the process.
Immigration law has been described as second only to the federal tax code in its complexity (Castro-O’Ryan v. INS, 821 F.2d 1415, 1419 (9th Cir. 1987)). It is a complex field which is constantly changing and there are many aspects to your case that may require professional legal assistance. Only an eligible attorney or an accredited representative working for a BIA-recognized organization can give you legal advice. Many cases that are handled are failed hearings or refused applications from people without lawyers who did not have things done right the first time. Often it’s because they misunderstood the eligibility criteria, chose an inappropriate route, or omitted important details or supporting documents. These cases require more time, effort and cost to resolve – mistakes may also limit future options.
When you’re facing an immigration issue, your entire life can feel like it is on hold. Our number one goal is to help you work through your status issues and to obtain the best possible resolution for you and your family.
How long will my case take?
It depends. Cases may take anywhere from a matter of days to a number of months – it depends on the nature of your case. Current immigration policy changes have caused major backlogs in processing.
What kind of visas are there?
Immigrant Visas: Generally, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s), U.S. lawful permanent resident, or by a prospective employer, and be the beneficiary of an approved petition filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in order to apply for an immigrant visa. The major immigrant categories are: family immigration, spouse or fiancé(e) of USA citizen, spouse of lawful permanent resident (LPR) in USA, child adoption, employment visas, investor visas, religious workers visas, diversity and specialty visas.
Non-Immigrant Visas and Status: Most Canadian citizens and many citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries can travel to the USA without a visa if they meet certain requirements. There are various types of non-immigrant visas for temporary visitors if you are not a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident. The purpose of your intended travel and other facts determine the type of visa required. It’s important to have information about the type of non-immigrant visa you will need for travel, and the steps required to apply for the visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
Visa categories and statuses include: A, A-2, B-1, BCC, B-1, B-2, C, D, E-3, G1-G5, H-1B1, I, J, L, NATO, O, Q, TN/TD, etc. and encompass visas for athletes, business visitors, employees of a designated international organization, NATO, NAFTA professional workers (Mexico, Canada), exchange visitors, nannies, physicians, journalists, professors, specialty occupations, students (academic, vocational), victims of criminal activity or human trafficking, religious workers, temporary workers performing labor of a seasonal nature, etc.