Family Based Visas and Green Cards:
The need to be with family is a worldwide human condition. In the U.S. legal family immigration system, we help unite couples and their children through K-1 fiancé(e) visas, marriage based green cards and immigrant visas, and status for dependents. Visas and green cards are now available for LGBT families since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor holding section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. We also provide assistance with the removal of conditions for Conditional Residents, sponsorship of children, parents, and siblings, and their dependents. Services also include “follow-to-join” certain relatives and complex issues involving the Child Status Protection Act and Child Citizenship Act. In addition, we prepare and file waiver applications of all types for grounds of inadmissibility or removability (including I-601A family unity provisional waivers). Other services include cancellation of removal in the immigration courts; affidavit of support issues, Family Unity programs, quota related cross-chargeability strategies. We also provide advisory services about abandonment of residence and preservation of residence for naturalization purposes when opportunities arise to work abroad after permanent immigration to the U.S.
Sometimes people have neither family nor employers to sponsor them. Therefore, we look for other avenues of immigration that permit self-sponsorship. These services include employment based self-petitions (See Employers, Investors & Entrepreneurs), widows and survivor petitions, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions, plus specialized programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ), and the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery. We also prepare and file applications for Permission to Reapply after Removal. In addition, we provide services to tourists, students and exchange visitors (e.g., B-2/Visa Waiver, F-1, M-1, J-1 visa applicants).
Special programs are those unusual immigration avenues created by Congress for specific groups of people, or administrative relief offered by the Executive Branch of government through its discretionary powers. Examples of these programs include DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) for the would-be DREAM Act youth (if there ever was a DREAM Act passed by Congress, which it hasn’t accomplished…yet); general deferred action from removal; the DV diversity visa lottery, prosecutorial discretion, parole, and other immigration laws that help individuals not involving petitions by sponsors. There are a number of country-specific programs including Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), the Cuban Adjustment Act, the Haitian Refugee Act, and other categories.
Many of our clients have fled from persecution in their home country. Others have escaped from civil wars, abusive relationships, environmental disasters, or suffered other horrible circumstances abroad. Even while in the USA, some of our clients have been the victim of crimes, or experienced other exploitation. Still others have urgent medical issues. Our humanitarian services include preparing applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (CAT) (the latter two only available in immigration court), green cards or permanent residence for asylees and refugees, U visas for victims of crimes, T visas for victims of trafficking, S visas for cooperation with law enforcement, humanitarian and port parole, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions, and petitions to remove conditional status based on domestic abuse. In addition, we help individuals with family sponsorship cases where the petitioner has passed away and survivor benefits are needed.
Border & Consular Issues:
Being located in Seattle, Washington, we handle cases involving Canadian border issues as well as other air, land and seaport encounters with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”). We provide counseling about problems with admission, parole, and admission refusals. We prepare and file applications for nonimmigrant waivers. In addition, we provide assistance regarding Trusted Traveler programs (e.g., Global Entry, Nexus, etc.). Since the CBP went to electronic I-94 arrival cards in 2013, we are helping clients with I-94 problems (unable to download, incorrect information, etc.). We also prepare and file Freedom of Information Act Requests that are more and more important for proving lawful status and admission for adjustment of status and unlawful presence bar issues. (We also file FOIA requests with other agencies as well.)
Many of our cases involve temporary and permanent visa applications filed at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. Since there is no formal appeals process for either border or consular denials, it is imperative that prospective applicants seek legal advice before applying. Consular and border officers have unbridled power and discretion to make decisions. Therefore, careful preparation is of paramount importance. Further, in recent years, visa and ESTA (visa waiver) applications are now completed online. They ask very detailed questions, the answers to which can have long-term consequences. We work with the Visa Office and National Visa Center at the U.S. Department of State. See Consulates and Border Issues FAQs.
Naturalization & Citizenship:
U.S. citizenship is desired by people around the world. Because the length of time for an immigrant to become a U.S. citizen can be several years or longer, we evaluate every case to determine whether a client may already be a U.S. citizen or may have a speedier path toward citizenship. Services include applications for naturalization, certificates of citizenship, U.S. passports, and review of eligibility for derivative and automatic citizenship. These projects often involve historic family research and genealogy, analysis of military service records or employment histories abroad. In addition, in recent years there has been an increase in government regulations requiring better proof of citizenship for certain government benefits, even for those Americans born here. See our separate page on U.S. Citizenship. In addition, we advise about expedited naturalization and expatriation, as well as Native Americans Born in Canada (Jay Treaty).
We are proud to serve the men and women in uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces. Military related services that we provide include Parole in Place (PIP) applications for qualified family members not otherwise eligible to adjust status in the US; counseling, referrals or applications regarding posthumous citizenship, expedited citizenship for service members and certain dependents, survivor benefits for dependents, Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) analysis, and counseling regarding Selective Service registration obligations.