Why Should I Hire an Immigration Attorney?

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Although you are not required to have an attorney to apply for an immigrant visa or green card, there are several situations where having a seasoned attorney by your side can ease the application process and help ensure successful immigration into the U.S. At D’Andrea Law, we understand the complicated proceedings of immigration law, and we will work with you closely to ensure that you and your family receive the support that you need. Hiring an immigration attorney in Southern California can help you navigate some tricky situations including: Dealing with overwhelming paperwork: U.S. immigration law is a tremendously complicated field that is governed by many rules and regulations. Immigration applications are the key to obtaining a visa or green card, so it is crucial that all the paperwork is…
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D.U.I. Records and U.S. Citizenship Application

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Drunk driving is the act of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol so that mental and motor skills are compromised. This criminal offense is usually called driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). In general, a DUI conviction does not automatically bar an applicant from acquiring U.S. citizenship. However, USCIS denies many naturalization applications in this area based on a lack of good moral character. One of the basic requirements of becoming a U.S. citizen is that the applicant must be a person of “good moral character.” The USCIS Policy Manual on Citizenship & Naturaliza “An applicant for naturalization must tion states thatshow that he or she has been, and continues to be, a person of good moral character.” Although there is no straightforward definition…
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President Obama’s New Immigration Plan – Who, What and When?

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On Thursday night, President Obama announced an immigration plan that will protect nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. In a televised speech, President Obama states that the enforcement effort should be focused on “Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids.” The new laws, impacting mostly parents and young people, marked the most sweeping reform to U.S. immigration laws in almost three decades. Who will benefit under the new law?  In President Obama’s speech, he announces, “If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.” Please note that the specific details of the law have not been finalized. The following only outlines the general criteria of the new law.…
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EB-1 Petition: Fast Track to Permanent Residency

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EB-1 is an employment-based first-preference immigrant visa category reserved for individuals who can demonstrate that they “have risen to the very top of their field of endeavors.” Under the USCIS guidelines, there are three types of EB-1 petitions: 1) a person of extraordinary ability (EB-1A), 2) an outstanding professor or researcher (EB-1B), 3) or a multinational executive or manager (EB-1C). For the purpose of this article, we will only discuss EB-1A, a person of extraordinary ability. EB-1A classification applies to individuals who can prove that they are among the top and most accomplished in the fields of sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. In order to meet the “extraordinary ability” requirement, the federal law requires the applicant to present evidence of receipt of a major international recognized award such as…
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EB-2 vs. EB-3 – Which one is Right for Me?

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Each year the immigration regulations provide a minimum of 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas which are divided into five preference categories. While some categories have a backlog of several years, others have a much shorter wait time. The most common are the EB-2 and the EB-3 categories. This article will cover general questions regarding the requirements, differences and advantages between these two classifications. The “other worker” category will be discussed in a future article.   Client: I work for a CPA firm as an H-1B accountant and my company wants to sponsor me for permanent resident status. What is the fastest way to get a green card? Attorney: Generally, the EB-2 has a much shorter wait time because the demand is lower. However, waiting times can vary depending on the country where…
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EB-3 “Other Worker” Category

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In a previous article, we covered eligibility requirements for EB-2 advanced degree and exceptional ability aliens, and EB-3 skilled and professional workers. The third preference category of employment-based immigration (EB-3) is divided into two sub-categories: “professional/skilled workers” and “other (unskilled) workers.” This article will discuss general application procedures and requirements regarding the “other worker” category.   Client: How do I know if my position falls under the EB-3 “other worker” category? Attorney: The “Other worker” category applies to unskilled labor positions that require less than 2 years of training, experience, or higher education. This is determined by the employer and certain Department of Labor (DOL) publications that indicate requirements for most job positions in the United States. “Other worker” positions include nursing aides, orderlies, home health aides, child care workers,…
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EB-5: Invest Half Million in a Regional Center

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  GREENCARD IN A YEAR, INVEST $500K IN A REGIONAL CENTER Congress established the employment based fifth preference (EB-5) immigrant visa category under the U.S. Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT90) in the hopes of attracting foreign capital to the U.S. and creating jobs for American workers in the process. IMMACT90 allows the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to issue up to 10,000 immigrant visas annually to qualified investors and members of their immediate family. To be eligible an alien must invest $1 million (or $500,000 if the investment is made in an area that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average), in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. which creates at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens. To…
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Immigrant Worker Petition (I-140) – Proving Ability to Pay Wages

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The process of sponsoring an employee for legal permanent residence involves a labor certification application (LC) that is filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, and submission of an employment petition for an alien worker and application for adjustment of status to the Bureau of Naturalization and Immigration Services (BCIS). Obtaining permanent residence status is often a lengthy and time-consuming process. This article addresses a troubling issue involving the processing of an employment petition for an alien worker. Once the Department of Labor certifies the LC, the employer files a petition for an alien worker (Form I-140). The petition requires proof that the sponsoring employer has had the ability-to-pay the offered wage from the time the LC was filed to the present. Documents required to prove ability-to-pay may include annual…
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J-1 Visa & Waiver

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The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides a nonimmigrant visa category for persons to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States. The “J” visa allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. to participate in exchange programs to promote the sharing of knowledge and skills with other countries. There are two types of “J” visas: (1) the visas that do not have “HRR” (Home Residency Requirement) restriction; and the visas that contain the “HRR” restriction. Exchange visitors who are subject to the "HHR" restriction are obligated to return to their country of nationality or permanent residence for an aggregate of at least two years upon completion of their program. This article will cover general questions regarding “J” visas eligibility, limitations and different types of J-1 waivers. Client: Who is eligible…
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K-1 Fiancé Visa

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s the time of the year when many couples get engaged or married. If you are an American citizen who intends to marry your foreign fiancé in the United States you must first obtain a “K-1” fiancé visa. This article will cover general requirements and processing procedures for K-1 visas. To obtain a K-1 visa, (1) a nonimmigrant petition must be filed by a U.S citizen at the USCIS (under current immigrant law, permanent residents do not have the privilege of petitioning a fiancé); (2) you and your fiancé must be legally free to marry under the laws of your country and the U.S.; (3) you must have met your fiancé in person at least once within the previous two years (this requirement…
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