Immigration Law

U.S. immigration law can be extremely complex and requires competent counsel. The attorneys at A. O. E. Law & Associates, Inc. provide immediate attention to our clients to ensure that every petition is diligently prepared and thoroughly analyzed. We provide competent legal representation in the following areas:

Family Based Petitions.

Our firm has helped hundreds of foreign nationals with relatives such as spouses, fiancées, parents, children or siblings who are a United States Citizens or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) to receive immigration benefits including permanent residence and citizenship. We provide assistance with all family based petitions and have found success in most of our cases.

Work Based Petitions:

We have assisted many of our employer clients get immigration benefits for their employees. Our areas of practice include H1B petitions for specialized workers, O visas, Perm, Labor Certification and Investor Visas.

DEFENSE FOR THOSE IN DEPORTATION OR REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS

Asylum

A.O. E. Law & Associates has literarily helped hundreds of clients who have suffered past persecution or have a "well-founded fear of persecution" on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political opinion in their country of origin to obtain asylum and ultimately permanent residence in the United States. Asylum applications are complex with strict deadlines for filling. Our Immigration attorneys know know what the USCIS and the Immigration Courts are looking for and are able to find the most important facts regarding your application. We meticulously prepare your case and make sure your application is complete, accurate and up to date. We present your case and fight for you in immigration court. We have successfully obtained asylum for our clients even in very difficult removal cases.

Withholding of Removal

Withholding of removal is a status which is similar to asylum, but not as secure. People who win withholding of removal have the right to remain in the U.S. and work legally. Unlike asylees, however, people with “withholding” do not have the right to apply for legal permanent residence. People who win “withholding” actually have a final order of removal (deportation) against them, so if they ever travel outside the U.S., they will not be permitted to return here. As with asylum, a “withholding” application must be based on fear of persecution on account of “race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” The standard for “withholding” is higher than for asylum, however. To win asylum, an applicant must show a “well-founded fear” and to win “withholding” an applicant must demonstrate that he or she is “more likely than not” to face persecution if returned to his or her country. In other words, an asylum applicant must show that it’s possible he or she will face persecution whereas a withholding applicant must show that future persecution is probable. There are certain crimes which may disqualify applicants from winning asylum, but which would not make them ineligible for withholding. The primary benefit is that you are permitted to remain in the United States. You are permitted to obtain employment authorization and to receive most of the same government benefits as asylees. Please consult A. O. E. Law & Associates, Inc. for more information on Withholding of Removal.

Convention Against Torture (CAT) relief

Foreign nationals who fear that they would be tortured either directly by their government or with the acquiescence of their government if returned to their country of origin may qualify for relief under the Convention against Torture (CAT) treaty permitting them to remain in the United States. Unlike asylum and withholding, to qualify under CAT, you do not have to show that the abuse you will suffer is “on account of” one of the five protected characteristics (race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.) The standard for CAT, however, that it is more likely than not that the applicant would face torture, is a very high one and CAT cases are not often granted. The primary reason that an individual might seek CAT is that if an applicant meets the high standard for relief, she or he must be granted relief, even if she or he has been convicted of very serious crimes (including aggravated felonies) in the United States. If, however, the U.S. government feels that an individual who has been granted CAT is a danger to the community because he or she has committed very serious crimes, the government may detain him or her even after having won CAT relief. There is no one year filing deadline for CAT relief. When our attorneys represent clients in Immigration Court, we take your case personally; we hire needed expert witnesses and put on the very best defense for our clients.

Cancellation of Removal

Our attorneys at A. O. E. Law & Associates meticulously prepare applications for cancellation of removal, timely file said applications and fight for our clients in Immigration Court. We have successfully obtained this immigration benefit for many of our clients. Cancellation is available to both permanent Residents and Non-Permanent Residents who are placed in removal proceedings. We have provided legal help for several clients who among other things have resided in the US for no less than 10 years immediately preceding the notice to appear, (7 years for permanent residents), do not have certain convictions that will make them ineligible and have United States citizen immediate relatives that will suffer extreme and unusual hardship should they be deported. If you or a loved one has been placed in removal proceedings please consult with an attorney from A. O. E. Law & Associates, Inc. immediately.

Vacation of Criminal Convictions

Some criminal convictions make many people ineligible for immigration reliefs. The attorneys at A. O. E. Law & Associates, Inc. have successfully vacated several such convictions for clients before going back to immigration court to obtain immigration reliefs. We have successfully vacated convictions for domestic violence, theft and other crimes.

Waivers of Fraud, Certain Crimes and Unlawful Presence

The law provides for forgiveness of certain acts by permitting a violator to file a waiver. Our attorneys have extensive experience with waivers whether those filed here in the US or while at a US consulate abroad. We have filed and obtained successful result with many waivers.

Temporary Protected Status

Anyone whose life or freedom would be threatened in his or her own country on account of one of the five enumerated grounds of asylum is protected from removal under United States and international law. The United States offers Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to individuals from countries that have suffered natural disasters or that are undergoing war or severe civil unrest, forcing the displacement of citizens of that country. Temporary Protected Status is effective as long as the conditions persist in the country in question. We offer a free confidential initial consultation about your asylum application case.

Relief For Abused Spouses Under Vawa

Our attorneys have helped many who are or have been married to a legal permanent resident of the U.S. (LPR) or to a U.S. citizen (USC) and abused by that spouse physically or mentally, to obtain lawful permanent residence in the U.S. even without the petition of their spouses. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been the answer for thousands of victims of abuse. Those whose marriages are less than two years old when they obtain their Legal Permanent Resident status normally get what is called “conditional permanent residence,” and the spouse would then normally need to file a joint petition to remove the “condition” so that you can obtain full lawful permanent residence before the second anniversary of your permanent residence. However, under VAWA certain noncitizen victims of abuse can get legal status on their own without involving the abuser through the use of VAWA. If you have been a victim of abuse from your LPR or USC spouse, you may be entitled to immigration relief. Please consult our attorneys today!

Deferral of Removal ( Mini Dream Act)

President Obama's administration announced on June 15, 2012, that it would implement a new government policy of granting temporary immigration benefits to persons less than 30 years of age.This new policy proposes to grant lawful immigration status to young persons who have attended school in the U.S. will grant what is known as "Deferred Action," to potentially hundreds of thousands of young immigrants currently in the U.S. Under this new policy persons under 30 years of age as of June 15, 2012 can obtain temporary legal status and employment authorization if they can prove that they are under the age of 30, have resided in the U.S. for at least five years, came to the U.S. while they were under the age of 16, are presently in the U.S., are presently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED certificate, or are honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard or Military, have not been convicted of a felony, or of a misdemeanor offense labeled "significant" or have not been convicted of two or more misdemeanors. The new policy applies to persons who are in the U.S. and regardless whether they are in removal (deportation) proceedings or are subject to a final order of removal, (deportation.). Persons who qualify can obtain deferral of any deportation or removal proceedings instituted against them and may apply for employment authorization. The government states that benefits are granted on a case by case basis and initially are granted for a two year period with extensions available. Our attorneys know the law and will provide the best legal assistance with obtaining deferral of removal. Consult with us today!

Immigration Appeals

Our firm has successfully filed motions to re-open cases that have been closed for several years and have fought and won many appeals before several Courts of Appeal including the 4th, 5th and 9th Circuits. Our attorneys know the important deadlines, and the rules. If you have lost your immigration case in Immigration Court, don’t wait. Consult A. O. E. Law & Associates, Inc. today!

Don’t take chances by trusting an inexperienced attorney or a paralegal service to handle your case. Trust the experience and track record for success that our firm enjoys and benefit from having a qualified and experienced immigration attorney personally see your case to completion. While no case is too small for our consideration, likewise, no case is too complex. Over the years our office has literally handled thousands of cases in our respected practice areas, and it is no exaggeration to say that we have represented clients in the most complicated cases, including novel issues.

Our firm has handled litigated cases in Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and the state of California.

  1. Nonimmigrant Visa Options
  2. Student Visa (F-1)
  3. Professional Workers (H1-B)
  4. The Trade NAFTA (TN) Visa
  5. Visitor Visas B-1 (business) and B-2 (tourist)
  6. Nonimmigrant Visa
  7. Intra-Company Transferees (L-1)
  8. Treaty Traders / Investors (E-1/E-2)
  9. Athletes/Entertainers/Artists (O-1)
  10. Religious Workers (R-1)
  11. Essential Workers (H-2B)

Student Visa(F-1)

Unlike most other nonimmigrant's, who are given a defined period of stay in the U.S., foreign students are permitted to remain in the U.S. for the "duration of status.", meaning that a student remains in valid status during his/her enrollment in any number of academic programs, plus any periods of authorized practical training and a 60-day grace period to depart the U.S. This eliminates the need for extension-of-stay applications for foreign students. F-1 visas are available for applicants intending to be full-time students at a U.S. academic institution or language-training program. The academic institution (college, high school, elementary school or language training program) has to be approved by the U.S. Attorney General. USCIS can grant approved academic institutions or language training programs the authority to issue certificates of eligibility (Form I-20AB or I-20MN) to foreign students. An F-1 visa applicant must show acceptance by the school or program and prove he can afford to attend the school and provide his own living expenses. Proof of finances is important to show that the applicant will not seek government (welfare, etc.) benefits and is not coming to the U.S. with the intention of staying here permanently. A person with a F-1 visa may work on campus for up to 20 hours per week while attending school. After attending school for one academic year, an F-1 student may work off campus with certain restrictions. After graduation, one year of practical training is available under proper circumstances. However, in certain situations, employment before graduation will be counted against the one-year practical training. F-2 visa holders (spouses and children of foreign students) are not allowed to seek employment. A relatively recent change severely restricts F-1 visas issued to students at public high schools and elementary schools. The new changes bar F-1 student status for students seeking to attend public elementary schools. Such students are limited to one year of attendance, and the foreign high school student must reimburse the school for the full-unsubsidized costs of the student's education. Please note that the above changes do not apply to minors in other nonimmigrant statuses (i.e., H-4, R-2, L-2) who are attending public schools. Neither do they apply to foreign college and university students. F-1 students often change their status to an H-1B professional worker category when their study programs are completed.

Professional Workers (H1-B)

The H-1B visa is among several categories of visas available to U.S. employers who wish to temporarily employ foreign nationals in the U.S. H-1B professionals are classified as such by USCIS if they meet the statutory definition of a "specialty occupation". At the minimum, the H-1B beneficiary should have a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent*) and a valid job offer in the U.S. within the specialty field. The key issues for H-1B eligibility are: (a) whether the position is a specialty occupation, and (b) whether the beneficiary meets the requirements for the specialty occupation.

THE CRITERIA OF A SPECIALTY OCCUPATION

To establish a "specialty occupation", one or more of the following criteria must be met:

  1. A bachelor's or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position being offered;
  2. The degree requirement is common to the industry or, in the alternative, the position is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree;
  3. The employer normally requires a bachelor's degree or its equivalent for the position; or
  4. The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree.

Note: The required degree must be in a specialty field. Occupations staffed with personnel having degrees in a variety of liberal arts may be denied H-1B status. Similarly, positions normally staffed by persons with a degree in general field, such as bachelor of arts in general education or philosophy, may be challenged by the USCIS. The basic idea is that the focused curriculum of the degree should supply the knowledge and skill necessary to perform a specific job.

QUALIFYING FOR A SPECIALTY OCCUPATION

  1. Generally, to satisfy the legal requirements of performing in a specialty occupation, the beneficiary will need:
  2. Full state licensure, if required for practice in the state;
  3. Completion of a U.S. bachelor's or (**) higher degree or its equivalent in the specific specialty or a related field; or
  4. Education, training, or experience in the specialty equivalent to the completion of such degree.

VALIDITY PERIODS

The H-1B is a temporary visa; thus, the activities to be performed must be temporary in nature. A schedule of events and/or employment agreement is often required. Generally, the initial H-1B status is granted for up to three years, followed by a three-year extension.

DEPENDENTS

Spouses and minor children of H-1B nonimmigrants can apply for H-4 status with the same period of admission as the H-1B holder. However, they may not work in the U.S. unless granted employment authorization through alternate means. PROCESSING TIMES Regular processing usually takes three to seven months depending where the petition is filed. However, USCIS offers a Premium Processing service (for an additional $1,000 fee) which ensures processing within 15 business days. If the H-1B beneficiary is residing abroad he or she will have to apply for the actual H-1B visa at the U.S. Consulate before being granted entry into the U.S. Thus, processing times may vary depending on the individual petition. NUMERICAL LIMITATIONS The new H-1B quotas are: 195,000 for the USCIS fiscal year 2002 and 195,000 for USCIS fiscal year 2003. These numerical limitations do not apply to: H-1B workers employed by institutions of higher education; a related or affiliated nonprofit; a nonprofit research organization; or a government research organization. (*) Equivalency to a bachelor's degree can be demonstrated by past work experience in progressively responsible positions relating to the specialty. (**)Some positions, such as research scientists, may require an advanced degree as a minimum entry requirement.