Immigration Law Group

Perez Gonzalez’ Immigration and Nationality Law Group provides comprehensive legal services to its rapidly growing clientele, which includes professional athletes, entertainers, business and corporate executives. This area of the Firm’s practice primarily focuses on the foreign professional, medical, business, investment, athletic and entertainment fields. The Firm has developed the expertise necessary to effectively represent its clients before INS/governmental agencies such as state and federal administrative agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration & Naturalization Service, State Department, the Department of Labor, and the federal court system. The Firm serves its clients in a professional manner, through innovative and traditional means, with an emphasis on efficiency and personal attention.

Areas of Immigration Practice Include:

Temporary/Professional Work Visas

Permanent Residence (Green Cards)

  • Family Based Petitions
  • Multinational Executives and Managers
  • Employment Related Petitions
  • National Interest Waivers
  • Investor Applications
  • Labor Certifications
  • Asylees/Refugees
  • Relinquishment of Permanent Residence
  • Diversity ("Lottery") Applications

Employer Sanctions

  • I-9 Compliance and Advice on Record Keeping
  • Assistance with Government Audits
  • Representation at Hearing

Appeals

  • Federal Courts
  • Administrative Appeals Unit
  • Board of Immigration Appeals
  • Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals

U.S. State Department

  • Advisory Opinions and Visa Re-Issuance

Citizenship/Naturalization

  • Relinquishment of Citizenship
  • Derivative Citizenship
  • Naturalization

Consular Processing

  • Personal Representation and Filings

TEMPORARY/PROFESSIONALS VISAS

The increased globalization of markets and business organizations has presented U.S. employers and foreign nationals with a world of challenging issues, strategies, and options. While there are several types of temporary professional visas, our website presents a generalized overview of some of the most common visa options that are available to foreign professional who wish to conduct business or work temporarily in the United States.

There are several temporary visas, which allow foreign professionals to work in the United States. In all of these options, there must be a petitioning entity that will offer employment to the foreign professional, sign all forms required by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and provide evidence of the employment, either by an employment letter or an employment contract.

PROFESSIONALS AND INVESTORS

H-1B VISA

DEFINED

An H-1B Visa may be issued to a foreign professional who is qualified to perform services in a "specialty occupation," which generally means a professional position that requires a minimum of Bachelor Degree (or its equivalent), related to the position offered, to successfully perform the duties required by the position. It is an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.

Equivalency of a Bachelor Degree can be determined by application of the "three-for-one" rule (i.e., three years of specialized training and/or work experience can be substituted for each year of college-level training which the beneficiary lacks).

Examples of a "specialty occupation" include but are not limited to some computer specialists (such as engineers, analysts, programmers), teachers, journalists, business analysts, high-level executives, marketing executives, accountants, physicians, etc.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

H-1B procedures require that the Department of Labor (DOL) first certify a labor Condition Application (LCA) verifying that the employer is paying the "prevailing wage" for the job offered. Then Form I-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant worker, and the H Supplement, and all appropriate supporting documentation, are filed with the appropriate Immigration and Naturalization (INS) Regional Service Center. The filing fee for the I-129 is $110 plus $1000 that the petitioning employer must pay.

DURATION

Generally, an H-1B professional may remain on H-1B status for a total of six (6) years. The initial admission is granted for a maximum of three years.

FAMILY MEMBERS STATUS

Spouses and unmarried minor children accompanying a principal H worker may secure derivative H-4 status. Family members under H-4 classification are not authorized to work in the United States, but are allowed, however, to attend school.

TEMPORARY NONAGRICULTURAL WORKERS

H-2B VISA

INS regulations define an H-2B nonagricultural temporary worker as an alien who is coming temporarily to the United States to perform temporary services or labor, who will not displace United States workers capable of performing such services or labor, and whose employment will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of United States workers.

Temporary services or labor under the H-2B classification refers to any job in which the petitioner's need for the duties to be performed by the employee(s) is temporary, whether or not the underlying job can be described as permanent or temporary. The petitioner's need, which must generally be one year or less, can be either a one-time occurrence, a seasonal need, a peak load need, or an intermittent need.

FOR CANADIAN AND MEXICAN PROFESSIONALS

TN VISAS

DEFINED

The "TN Visa," is issued pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). INS regulations provide a list of over sixty (60) professions that qualify for the TN visa under NAFTA. Only Canadian and Mexican national or citizens are eligible for TN visas. This list includes, but is not limited to, Management Consultants, Social Workers, Engineers, Computer Systems Analysts, Accountants, etc. The minimum requirement is usually a Bachelor Degree.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

TN Visa procedures require that the Department of Labor (DOL) first certify a Labor Condition Application (LCA) only for Mexican National or citizens TN visa applications. Then Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker and all appropriate supporting documentation, are filed with the Lincoln Nebraska INS Regional Service Center. The filing fee for the I-129 is $110. Canadian Nationals may apply for the TN visa at a port of entry.

DURATION

The TN visa is granted for one-year increments and is renewable indefinitely.

FAMILY MEMBERS STATUS

Spouses and unmarried minor children accompanying the TN professional may secure derivative Trade Dependent (TD) status. Family members under TD classification are not authorized to work in the United States, but are allowed, however, to attend school.

INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFERS

L-1 VISA

DEFINED

When a foreign entity transfers an executive or manager to a newly formed or already existing US subsidiary, affiliate, or branch, the L-1 Visa is ideal for that Intra-company transferee. L-1 visas are available to professionals who have worked abroad for one continuous year within the preceding three years in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity for a foreign business entity (usually the transferring entity) and who are being transferred temporarily to the United States to work in that same capacity for a qualifying, related United States business entity.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

L-1 procedures require that the petitioning entity file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker, and the L Supplement, and all appropriate supporting documentation, with the appropriate Immigration and Naturalization (INS) Regional Service Center. The filing fee for the I-129 is $110.

DURATION

Generally, an L-1 professional may remain on L-1 status for a total of seven (7) years.

FAMILY MEMBERS STATUS

Spouses and unmarried minor children accompanying a principal L worker may secure derivative L-2 status. Family members under L-2 classification are not authorized to work in the United States, but are allowed, however, to attend school.

PROFESSIONAL WITH EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY IN BUSINESS OR SCIENCES

O-1 VISAS

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FOREIGN INVESTORS/ TRADERS

E VISAS - TREATY TRADERS (E-1) AND INVESTORS (E-2)

DEFINED

Treaty visas are part of the United States' efforts to "enhance or facilitate economic and commercial interaction between the United States and the treaty country. The three main types of commercial treaties are treaties of friendship, commerce, and navigation (FCNs); bilateral investment treaties (BITs); and free trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Depending on the exact language of a treaty, and the treaty country's reciprocal treatment of U.S. nationals, nationals of a particular foreign state may be admitted to the US as both treaty traders (E- I) and treaty investors (E-2), or only as one or the other.

NATIONALITY

The treaty trader or investor must, whether an individual or business, possess the nationality of the treaty country.

E-2 VISA

The E-2 Investor Visa is issued to an investor that enters the United States, based upon treaty between the US and the country of which he/she is a national, to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the alien has invested, or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. Generally, nationals of the treaty country must own 50 percent of the business in question. The investor must show that he or she has either made a substantial investment or is actively in the process of making a substantial investment in the enterprise. "In the process of investing," the investor must be close to the start of actual business operations, not simply in the stage of signing contracts (which may be broken) or scouting for suitable locations and property. Mere intent to invest, or possession of uncommitted funds in a bank account, or even prospective investment arrangements entailing no commitment, will not suffice.

E-1 VISA

The E-1 Trader Visa is issued to a foreign business individual that enters the United States, based upon a treaty between the US and the country of which he/she is a national, to carry on substantial trade in goods, services, or technology in a capacity that is supervisory or executive in nature or involves essential skills. Trade means the exchange, purchase, or sale of goods and/or services. The trade must (1) constitute an exchange between the United States and the treaty country and must be traceable or identifiable, (2) be international in scope, and (3) involve qualifying activities.

DURATION

Holders of E visas may reside in the United States as long as they continue to maintain their status with the enterprise (i.e. maintain trade or investment).

FAMILY MEMBERS STATUS

The spouse and unmarried minor children of a treaty trader or investor are entitled to the same E-1 or E-2 classification as the principal alien. The nationality of a spouse or child of a treaty alien is not material to their classification as E-I or E-2.

VISA FOR ENTERTAINERS, ARTISTS, ATHLETES

O-1 VISA – ALIEN OF EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY IN ARTS

O-1 VISA – ALIEN OF EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY IN ATHLETICS

P VISAS

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FAMILY BASED PETITIONS

Not all family relationships serve as a basis to apply for lawful permanent resident status. There are two basic categories Immediate Relatives and Preference relatives.

Immediate Relatives:

Spouses or unmarried minor children of American citizens.

Preference Relatives are set as follows:

1. FIRST PREFERENCE

a. UNMARRIED SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS. Adult children of US citizens or those who have reached the age of 21 years prior to issuance of the immigrant visa.

2. SECOND PREFERENCE

a. SPOUSES, SONS AND DAUGHTERS (Unmarried and under 21 years of age) OF LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENTS;

b. UNMARRIED SONS AND DAUGHTERS, OVER 21 YEARS OF AGE, OF PERMANENT RESIDENTS

3. THIRD PREFERENCE

a. MARRIED SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF US CITIZEN.

4. FOURTH PREFERENCE

a. BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF US CITIZENS.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

The petitioning relative must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with a filing fee of $110, with the appropriate INS Regional Service Center. After the petition is approved, the alien relative may have to wait for a period of years until an immigrant visa is available to him or her. When an immigrant visa is available, or the priority date is current, the alien may finalize permanent residence through the filing of an Adjustment of Status.

CITIZENSHIP/NATURALIZATION

These are the general requirements for Citizenship/Naturalization:

The applicant must a lawfully admitted permanent resident

The applicant must reside in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for a period of five (5) years immediately preceding the filing of the application for naturalization

The applicant must reside within the state or within the INS district where the application will be filed for at least three (3) months immediately preceding the filing of the application

The applicant must be 18 years of age at the time of filing the application for Naturalization

The applicant must be a person of Good Moral Character

The applicant must read, write, and speak English

The applicant must have knowledge of the History and Government of the United States

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

The applicant must file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, with filing fee of $225 and $25, with the appropriate INS Service Center and all supporting documentation.