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Immigration Law for Individuals

Michael A Zwaig PA has a full service immigration practice.  We provide legal advice and representation related to all aspects of immigration law.  Our experience includes successful adjudications of nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applications, family and employment based permanent residency, self-petitions, waivers, citizenship, asylum and removal defense.

Information for Individuals

Michael A. Zwaig PA takes pride in our extraordinary immigration services available to individual clients. Certainly, the U.S. immigration system is confusing and very difficult to navigate without the assistance of counsel who practices in that particular field of law. We assist individuals with employment based nonimmigrant visas and permanent residency, family based immigration, asylum and citizenship applications, and requests for various waivers.

Employment Based Nonimmigrant Visas

Generally, when an individual intends to work in the United States for an employer he will initially petition for an employment based nonimmigrant status and apply for an employment based nonimmigrant visa.  There are many employment based nonimmigrant categories available to individuals depending on the position to be held and the company you will work for. Certainly, the most common employment based nonimmigrant statuses held by foreign nationals are the H-1B (specialty occupation) and L-1 (managerial or executive/specialized knowledge).  Not only do we have experience assisting clients with nonimmigrant petitions, but we also have experience assisting clients at consulates abroad in securing their actual visa that will allow them to travel in and out of the United States pursuant to the nonimmigrant status. We also assist individuals with a variety of other employment based nonimmigrant petitions including but not limited to the O-1, P, E-1/E-2, R, and TN.

Employment Based Permanent Residency

The majority of employment based permanent residency cases (or greencard cases) involve a three step process which includes having the employer file a PERM application with the Department of Labor, filing and immigrant petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and finally having the individual prepare and file his application for permanent residency with USCIS.

Individuals can avoid the first step in the process explained above if they qualify as an individual of extraordinary ability, an outstanding researcher, hold a multinational managerial position, invest a required amount of money in the United States, or secure a visa under the Diversity Lottery Program.

Family Based Immigration

United States Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents are able to petition for certain classes of family members.  This is generally a two step process including the filing of a family based immigrant petition and then either an application for adjustment of status or an application for an immigrant visa, depending on whether the individual is in the United States or abroad. The number of visas available to family members is limited and there can be long waits depending on the category you fall under. However, certain individuals are eligible for employment authorization and travel documents while their applications are pending.  If you have a family member you would like to sponsor or would like to be sponsored by a family member, please contact us and we can provide a more detailed explanation of the process and requirements.

Asylum

Individuals who fear persecution in their home country who are able to demonstrate that the fear is based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion can apply for asylum in the United States.  Individuals can file the application affirmatively with USCIS or in immigration court to avoid removal/deportation.  In order to qualify for Asylum, you must file your application within one year of the date you arrive in the United States. If you did not file your application within the first year, you may still be eligible for withholding of removal or relief under the Convention Against Torture, which are similar to asylum claims, but more difficult standards are applied in these types of cases.  If you feel you may qualify for asylum, withholding of removal, or relief under the convention against torture, please contact our office and we can assist you with the preparation of your application either affirmatively or in immigration court.

Immigration Court

When individuals are found to be either deportable or removable from the United States because they do not have authorization to be in the United States legally, they are placed in removal or deportation proceedings with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court.  Individuals are given a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court which will list the reasons the government would like them to leave the United States. We can assist individuals who are detained with securing bond or having their bond lowered if they have received a Notice to Appear.  In addition, we can help individuals and family members determine if there are avenues for relief available that would allow and individual facing deportation or removal to remain in the United States and avoid removal or deportation.

Citizenship

Individuals can become citizens of the United State by either birth or naturalization.  To qualify for naturalization an individual must be a continuous resident of the United States for three years.  Individuals who are married to United States Citizens must only be continuous residents for three years so long as they live with their United States Citizen spouse for three years.

Waivers

In addition to assisting clients with standard petitions and applications, we also  provide services to individuals who may be subject to inadmissibility or are unable to change their status because they have committed a crime, have a health problem, have been in the United States without any legal status, or are subject to a two-year home residency requirement because they entered the United States on a specific type of J nonimmigrant visa. Specifically, we have extensive experience working with our clients to prepare and file waivers that will allow them to enter the United States and /or change their status despite these problems.