Immigration Law Firm
If you are looking for an Immigration Law Firm Los Angeles, then our firm can help you. San Diego Immigration lawyer Bita Hamidi of our law firm has years of experience in helping clients obtain Immigration Visas in our Los Angeles Office, our Orange County Office, and in her San Diego Office. Our OC Office can help you if you need the best DUI lawyer in Orange County for a DUI case.
Under immigration law, there are broadly two types of Visas – temporary visas, and permanent visas. If you need a temporary visa, to work or attend school, to start a business, for marriage, or to travel in the USA, we can help. Those visas would include a TN Visa, L Visa, O Visa, B Visa, K Visa, E-1 & E-2 Visa, & F-1 Visas.
Permanent visas, or green cards, are something we can also help with. Permanent visas would include what the Immigration Naturalization Act has as five broad categories, under which one may apply as follows:
- Employment based
- Family based
- Visas obtained through the Visa Lottery
- Large Investment (Starting a Business & this category is really combined with employment based Visas); and
- Political Asylum.
Employment based visas are what our firm seems to do the most of. Many people are interested in obtaining a visa for employment and can show they bring specialized knowledge, or skills, investment funds or employ US Citizens.
Employment based green cards are categorized in five basic visa categories: EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4 & EB-5. Employment based green cards give preference to those who have a unique specialization and follow a procedure to allow American jobs to be filled first and ensure that any foreign jobs will not take away American jobs.
Typically, American employers are required to advertise for positions, and show, through a labor certification process, that they were not able to find a U.S. citizen to take the job that they are hiring for. Like the green cards for a family for certain countries, some of these categories take years to obtain the green card because of quotas. Also, each category requires eligibility.
Wait times for both Family Visas, and Work Visas, are dependent on the country you are applying from and each country has a quota assigned to them. (Especially Mexico, the Philippines, China, etc.)
Criminal Convictions and Immigration Eligibility.
Our firm, which does both criminal defense and immigration, also very commonly deals with the effects of certain criminal convictions that are a problem for immigration visas.
The Immigration Naturalization Act, which is part of the INA, contains certain specific types of crimes or related activities that are listed as inadmissible or may be deportable offenses. Note that not all of them require an actual conviction in court to make the applicant inadmissible for admission to enter the United States, as follows:
- Conviction of a crime that constitutes “moral turpitude”. This includes most theft crimes, including embezzlement or other theft charges, and some political offenses.
- Conviction of most controlled substance violations, whether under U.S. or foreign law. This includes any conspiracy to commit such a crime.
- Convictions for two or more crimes for which the prison sentences totaled at least five years. This multiple-offense ground of inadmissibility applies whether or not the convictions came from a single trial and whether or not the offenses arose from a single scheme of misconduct or involved moral turpitude.
- Conviction of or participation in a drug or controlled substance trafficking. This includes anyone who knowingly aided, abetted, assisted, conspired, or colluded in illicit drug trafficking. It also includes the spouse, son, or daughter of the inadmissible applicant if that person has, within the last five years, received any financial or other benefits from the illicit activities, and knew or reasonably should have known where the money or benefit came from.
- Engaging in Prostitution, or Sexual Trafficking. This includes procurement or attempted procurement or importation of prostitutes, directly or indirectly, or receipt of proceeds of prostitution, any of which occurred within the previous ten years.
- Commission of or conspiracy to commit human trafficking offenses, within or outside the U.S., or being a knowing aider, abettor, assister, conspirator, or colluder with such a trafficker according to the knowledge or reasonable belief of the U.S. government. Also inadmissible are the spouse, son, or daughter the applicant if they, within the previous five years (but when older than children), received financial or other benefits from the illicit activity and knew or reasonably should have known that the money or other benefit came from the illicit activity.
- Conviction of an aggravated felony, if the person was removed from the U.S. and seeks to return (this ground of inadmissibility lasts for 20 years). Since many crimes are felonies, this is a very common reason for inadmissibility or denial of entry.
- An assertion of immunity from prosecution after committing a serious criminal offense in the U.S., if the person was thus able to depart the U.S. and has not since submitted fully to the jurisdiction of the relevant U.S. court.
- Commission of particularly severe violations of religious freedom while serving as a foreign government official.
- Seeking to enter the U.S. to engage in money laundering or a history of having laundered money, or has been a knowing aider, abettor, assister, conspirator, or colluder with money launderers.
- The US Code and Immigration Act also lists a number of security violations, such as involvement in espionage, sabotage, terrorism, being an officer in the Nazi Party, the Communist Party, any other totalitarian parties, and so forth.
Annually, there is a worldwide limit of 675,000 permanent immigrants, with certain exceptions for close family members. Congress and the President determine a separate number for refugee admissions. Immigration to the United States is based upon the following principles: the reunification of families, admitting immigrants with skills that are valuable to the U.S. economy, protecting refugees, and promoting diversity.
If you wish to apply for a Visa or have questions as to whether or not you are ineligible for some reason, please contact Ms. Hamidi at our firm for advisement.