IMMIGRATION & VISAS
IMMIGRATION & VISA LAWYERS IN MIAMI, FLORIDA
Davis & Associates are your lawyers of choice for U.S. immigration and visas in Miami and surrounding areas.
Our immigration attorneys supply experienced legal counsel for all components of immigration law, including deportation defense, writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, family-sponsored immigration, employment-sponsored immigration, investment immigration, employer compliance, temporary visas for work and college, permanent residence, naturalization, consular visa processing, waivers, and appeals.
IMMIGRATION & VISA LAW PRACTICE
Davis & Associates is committed to immigration law. Our firm devotes all of its efforts to the vast areas of immigration law. America's political mindset changes with each President, so staying on top of immigration law is a full time job for our visa and immigration attorneys.
An immigrant in the United States needs the best representation possible to be able to overcome many obstacles that arise.
OUR FIRM IS COMMITTED TO PROVIDING EXCELLENT REPRESENTATION IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
- Removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (Cancellation of Removal, Adjustment of Status, Withholding of Removal, Voluntary Departure, Waivers, Fighting Charges).
- Appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals.
- Immigrant Visa Petitions (Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers, National Interest Waivers, Multinational Managers and Executives, Spouses, Parents and Minor Children of US Citizens, Spouses and Minor Children of Lawful Permanent Residents, Adult Children of U.S. Citizens, Brothers and Sisters of US Citizens, Special Immigrants).
- Nonimmigrant Visa Petitions (Visitors, Investors, International Traders, Students, Professional Workers, Intercompany Transfers, Extraordinary Ability, Performers, Religious Workers).
- Change of Status (conversion of the I-94 Entry Document to a different status).
- Adjustment of Status (filing for lawful permanent resident status while in the U.S. with an approved Immigrant Visa Petition, Asylum status or the Diversity Visa Program).
- Consular Visa Processing (Immigrant or Nonimmigrant Visas from the U.S. Consulates).
- Labor Certification and Business Immigration.
- Writs of Mandamus and Writs of Habeas Corpus in Federal Court.
- Political Asylum.
- Violence Against Women Act.
- Special Immigrant Religious Workers.
- Advisory Opinions and Expert Witness services for the Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity and domestic relations decisions.
- Waivers (Fraud, Criminal Activity, Medical, Unlawful Presence, Prior Deportations, J-1).
FAMILY BASED VISAS
An immigrant visa (also known as permanent residency or a "green card") can be acquired through a member of the family through Family Immigration.
Citizens and permanent residents of the United States have the potential to petition the federal government for an immigrant visa for certain family members. U.S. citizens can petition for more classifications of family members than permanent residents can.
The amount of time between the date the petition is filed and the date when the family member literally gets the immigrant visa can vary wildly—anywhere from 6 months to 20 years or more.
The wait time is decided by the immigration status of the petitioner (are they a citizen or a permanent resident?), the category of family member they are petitioning, and what country the family member is from.
US CITIZEN PETITIONERS
- Unmarried child under 21 years old
- Parent (the US citizen petitioner must be at least 21 years old)
- Unmarried child over 21 years old (and his or her children)
- Married child of any age (and his or her spouse and children)
- Siblings (and his or her spouse and children)
PERMANENT RESIDENT PETITIONERS
- Unmarried child under 21 years old (and his or her children)
- Unmarried child over 21 years old (and his or her children)
Each year, the U.S. government authorizes a set number of immigrant visas for the family-based categories. More citizens and permanent residents file petitions for their family members than there are immigrant visas considered. This has built a years-long back-up in the system.
The government designates each of the different types of family petitions a priority. Some family relationships have a higher priority than others, indicating those family members will typically get their permanent residency faster.
The government also prioritizes the petitions for immigrant visas based on the country that the family member is immigrating from. Mexico, China, India, and the Philippines have their own waiting times because family members from these regions make up many of the requested immigrant visas.
The family relationship categories with the highest priority have a special name. They're called "immediate relatives." The spouses, unmarried children under 21 years old, and parents of U.S. citizens are immediate relatives. Immediate relatives have immigrant visas instantly available to them.
Once the preliminary petition by the U.S. citizen is approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the immediate relative may immediately file an application for the immigrant visa-- sometimes it can even be filed together with the initial petition.
Those family relationships that are not immediate relatives belong in "preference categories." The people within preference categories must wait until an immigrant visa is available for them before they can apply for one.
Every petition submitted by a citizen or permanent resident which is accepted is given a priority date (generally, it's the date on or around when the petition was received by USCIS).
The U.S. Department of State publishes a visa bulletin monthly which provides each preference categories with a date. Immigrant visas are available to anyone in that preference category whose priority date is earlier than the date on the visa bulletin.
Waiting for a priority date to become current can take a few years.
Once an immigrant visa is available to the intending immigrant family member, other factors such as the person's U.S. immigration history, criminal history, and current location will determine where he or she qualifies for permanent residency and where the application should be filed-- inside or outside of the United States.
It is necessary that you seek advice from an immigration attorney who is experienced in visas and U.S. immigration law before filing petition or application with the government.
VISAS FOR CERTAIN VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Certain people battered by their U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Resident family members may qualify for an immigrant visa.
Immigration through a U.S. citizen or permanent resident family member typically requires that the citizen or permanent resident file a petition and see the immigration process through to the end, often with an interview carried out by USCIS.
This means that the citizen or permanent resident has full control of the immigration process for their family member; they must be the one to launch the process and can cancel it at any time.
In relationships where domestic violence exists, this control can be misused by the citizen or permanent resident as one more way to hurt their family member through threats of revoking or delaying the immigration process, or of deportation.
Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in order to help undocumented victims of domestic violence gain permanent resident status independently of their abusive citizen or permanent resident family member.
The categories of people who can file VAWA petitions are:
- Battered spouses of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can apply. The battered spouse's unmarried children under the age of 21 may be included in the application, regardless of whether the child suffered abuse or not.
- Parents of children who have been abused by their citizen or permanent resident step-parents can apply. The parent's other unmarried children under 21 can be included in the application, regardless of whether the child suffered abuse or not.
- Unmarried children under 21 who have been abused by their citizen or permanent resident parents can apply. The child's unmarried children under 21 can be included in the application, regardless of whether the child suffered abuse or not.
- Parents who have been abused by their adult U.S. citizen sons or daughters can apply.
A VAWA petition is filed on Form I-360 and requires fairly significant documentation. There are certain requirements that have to be proven in order for USCIS to approve a VAWA petition.
Generally, the requirements are:
- Proof of the abuser's immigration status. The abuser's status may be proven with a copy of his or her birth certificate, passport, naturalization certificate, or permanent residency card.
- Proof of the relationship between the abuser and the undocumented person. This includes marriage certificates, birth certificates, and divorce decrees.
- Proof of the abuse, and the impact of the abuse on the undocumented person. Typical evidences include police reports, arrest reports, protective orders, restraining orders, court documents, medical records, doctor and/or hospital bills, pictures, news reports, counseling letters, and letters from people who were aware of the abuse during the time it occurred.
- Evidence of the good moral character of the undocumented person. USCIS requires that the VAWA applicant obtain a police endorsement letter from every city where the applicant has lived for the previous three years, if the applicant resided in that city for six months or more.
If the VAWA petition is approved, the battered spouse, child, or parent may be able to apply for permanent residency based on the petition once the priority date is current. The particular immigration, criminal, and medical history of each applicant must be fully investigated to determine if, how, and when they can request a green card.
Bringing employees to the US can be a frustrating and challenging process. When it comes to business immigration, whether your business is seeking to hire the most competent candidate, who happens to be from outside the U.S., or attempting to transfer in an executive or manager from your foreign office, the immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of Garry L. Davis can offer help.
Our firm focuses exclusively on practicing U.S. Immigration law. Garry Davis, the founder of the immigration law firm, is Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality Law.
We represent corporate clients ranging in size from one employee to hundreds.
Whether your business is a start-up, an investment purchase of an existing business, or a well-established company with a demand for talent that can only be found outside the U.S., our immigration lawyers can help.
We have successfully filed intra-company transfer visas for executives, managers and those employees with proprietary knowledge of the company's offerings (L-1A and L-1B visas).
We also file for professional worker visas and work visas offered under the NAFTA treaty (H-1B and TN-1). For nationals of those countries with whom the U.S. has a treaty of trade and friendship that provides for them, we file E-1 trader and E-2 investor visas.
If you are a religious organization and wish to bring a foreign clergyman to head up or begin an ethnic congregation, we file R-1 religious worker visas.
Once the visa holder has made it to the US, there are various options for allowing that person to become a permanent resident too. We provide assistance in navigating through those processes as well, whether the prospect is an individual of extraordinary ability, a multi-national manager or executive, a high net worth investor, or a world-class professor or researcher.
We also process applications for labor certification. If you are an investor, executive, manager or employer that has a demand for visa processing, the immigration lawyers in our office will be happy to offer you the assistance you need.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR A PERMANENT VISA
What are the ways in which someone can become a permanent resident of the United States?
Federal immigration laws allow different ways for a non-citizen of the United States to become a permanent resident. A person with permanent residency (a "green card") is referred to as a Legal Permanent Resident (" LPR") and has the right to reside and work in the United States, and to travel in and out of the United States.
The pathways to permanent residency are listed below coupled with a brief breakdown. Please see the other articles on this website in our News section for more information on any particular method of obtaining permanent residency.
CERTAIN FAMILY MEMBER OF U.S. CITIZENS & LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS
If you are the spouse, parent, child, or sibling of a U.S. citizen, or the spouse or unmarried child of a permanent resident, you may have the chance to become a permanent resident through your family member.
Through Family Immigration, the citizen or permanent resident family member would have to file a petition for you with US Citizenship and Immigration Services. If that petition is approved, you may then be able to apply for an immigrant visa (a "green card").
The amount of time between when the citizen or permanent resident files the petition and when the non-citizen family member truly obtains the immigrant visa can vary wildly-- anywhere from 6 months to 20 years or more.
The hold time is determined by the immigration status of the petitioner (are they a citizen or a permanent resident?), the type of family member they are petitioning, and what country the family member is from.
Merely having an approved petition, or even several approved petitions, does not mean that the non-citizen will in fact be able to obtain permanent residency.
USCIS must determine that the person qualifies for residency according to a number of factors, including the person's health, immigration, and criminal histories.
CERTAIN EMPLOYEES, WORKERS, OR INVESTORS
People who provide certain skills useful to U.S. employers can qualify for permanent residence through Business Immigration. There are various qualified categories such as those namely professors, researchers, athletes, entertainers, people with advanced degrees, religious workers, people wanting to invest $1 million in a U.S. company, and certain "special immigrants."
Each worker is prioritized in preference categories, similar to what happens with family-based visas. As a result of this, there can be a lengthy wait time between the time the employment-based petition is filed and when the person can apply for permanent residency.
Because of the number of ways that a person can qualify and the requirements that an employer must fulfill in order to petition for permanent residency for a non-citizen worker, an experienced immigration attorney should be consulted with before kicking off the process.
In some cases a person can file a visa petition for themselves.
Recently widowed spouses of U.S. citizens can self-petition, as long as they were married for two years preceding the death of their spouse, apply within two years after the loss of their spouse, and have not remarried.
The under 21 battered spouses, parents, and unmarried children of U.S. citizens and the under 21 battered spouses and unmarried children of permanent residents can also self-petition.
In order to do this, the battered family member must provide documentation that they have suffered extreme cruelty at the hands of the citizen or permanent resident. The petitions are subject to approval from USCIS.
ASYLEES & REFUGEES
Asylum can be sought by an individual inside the United States within one year of their time of arrival.
The person must verify that they have a well-founded fear of oppression in their native country based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
Refugees resemble asylum-seekers with the exception that they apply for refugee status outside of the United States.
A person granted asylum or refugee status can request permanent residency after one year.
DIVERSITY LOTTERY WINNERS
Fifty thousand immigrant visas are authorized every year for the lucky winners of the diversity lottery. The winners are randomly selected by the Department of State and the lottery is open to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
PEOPLE WHO QUALIFY FOR LEGALIZATION, SAW, OR NACARA
Legalization programs from the 1980s allowed millions of people to become permanent residents. The application periods for the "amnesty" and Special Agricultural Worker programs of 1986 ended years ago.
However, subsequent class action litigation has enabled a narrow group of people to seek permanent residency through those programs even after they ended.
The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act of 1997 provided immigration advantages for people from Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, and certain Eastern European countries. The application period for NACARA has ended.
PEOPLE WHO QUALIFY FOR REGISTRY
Registry is a provision in immigration law which allows an undocumented person who has lived in the United States since January 1, 1972 to request permanent residency.
The person must be of good moral character and must otherwise qualify to receive permanent residency.
A person's criminal, immigration, or medical history could exclude them from becoming permanent residents—it is vital to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure you qualify.
CONGRESSIONAL PRIVATE BILLS
Permanent residency may be conveyed to an individual through an act of Congress via the introduction of a private bill, but this is exceptionally rare. A member of Congress must sponsor the bill and introduce it.
The bill must voted on, and passed, the same as any other law.
People who obtain residency through a private bill typically have compelling humanitarian considerations in their cases and no other way to legalize their status.
PEOPLE WHO SUCCESSFULLY DEFEND THEMSELVES IN IMMIGRATION COURT AGAINST DEPORTATION
A person who is in removal proceedings before an immigration judge and who has resided in the United States for at least 10 years, has good moral character, has not been convicted of certain crimes, and has a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent can prevent their deportation if they can prove to the judge that if they are deported, their family member will suffer exceptional and extremely unusual trouble.
This is an extremely high specification and as a result few people can meet it. However, if the judge does decide to cancel the deportation, she will also provide permanent residency to the non-citizen.