• Naturalization And Citizenship

    Preparation and filing an application for naturalization (with or without criminal history) . Naturalization interviews . Naturalization appeals . Issues related to derivation and acquisition of citizenship . Petitions for review from denial of naturalization (to be filed in a federal district court)
  • Business Immigration

    We enable clients to recruit, hire and move innovators, professionals and employees with essential education, skills or backgrounds from around the world. Transfer existing employees – executives, managers or those with specialized knowledge – to fill new roles that require deep company knowledge and an understanding of company culture. Bring talent with extraordinary abilities – whether in creative fields, arts and entertainment, athletics, business, science, or education – to the U.S. We advise our business clients on the best long- and short-term approaches for their specific needs, including the use of H-1B specialty occupation visas and L-1 visas for intracompany transfer of executives, managers and employees with specialized knowledge, as well as all other types of nonimmigrant and permanent residence classifications. In addition to serving organizations across a number of industries, our attorneys represent individuals who, because of their extraordinary ability in their fields or because of their substantial investments in the U.S., do not require corporate sponsorship to immigrate.
  • Asylum

    Preparation and filing of affirmative (with the USCIS) or defensive (in immigration court) asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture application . Asylum interviews
  • Federal Court Litigation

    Habeas Corpus petitions in federal district courts challenging unlawful detention . Mandamus actions in nation-wide federal district courts to compel the immigration service to adjudicate a benefits application . Petitions for Review in a federal Court of Appeals . Motions in federal Court of Appeals for a stay of deportation or removal or a stay of voluntary departure
  • Criminal Deportation Defense

    Aggravated felony convictions . Bond and detention hearings . Cancellation of removal (relief before the Immigration Judge) . Crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) convictions . Domestic violence convictions . Drug offenses (state or federal misdemeanor and felony possessions and/or sale) . Fraud convictions . Sex offenses (including convictions for sexual abuse of a minor or endangering the welfare of a child) . Special Rule Cancellation for battered spouse and/or child . Suspension of Deportation . Theft offense convictions . Waivers under INA § 212(c), INA § 212(h), INA § 212(i) . Weapons possession convictions . Any other criminal conviction you may have that may render you deportable or inadmissible
  • Seeking Asylum

    Since 1994 the U.S. Department of Justice has allowed individuals who are persecuted because of their sexual orientation to seek sanctuary in the United States through a process called political asylum.A non-United States citizen can seek political asylum in the United States if they have a fear of being persecuted in their country of origin because of their political opinion, religion, race, national origin, or membership in a particular social group. For example, people seeking asylum based on their sexual orientation or status as a transgender person usually apply based on their membership in their social group, their political opinion, or their religion. Individuals who are fleeing are in danger from their community, their government, their families, or their church. If granted political asylum, individuals have the right to remain in the United States and the right to family reunification (with spouse and children). Eventually, they have the right to apply for U.S. citizenship.
  • Immigration Benefits for Same Sex Partners

    Federal Law Now Allows Immigration Benefits For Same-Sex Partners We are helping same-sex couples nationwide with immigration services. With the overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act, U.S. citizens and permanent residents can now sponsor their same-sex partners. Gay and lesbian U.S. citizens may immediately begin petitioning for their fiancés living overseas, and both citizens and residents can now start the immigration process for their foreign-born spouses.

USCIS Publishes Final Rule For Certain Employment-Based Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Programs

WASHINGTON— USCIS has published a final rule to modernize and improve several aspects of certain employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa programs. USCIS has also amended regulations to better enable U.S. employers to hire and retain certain foreign workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions and are waiting to become lawful permanent residents. This rule goes into effect on Jan. 17, 2017.
Among other things, DHS is amending its regulations to:
  • Clarify and improve longstanding DHS policies and practices implementing sections of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act related to certain foreign workers, which will enhance USCIS’ consistency in adjudication.
  • Better enable U.S. employers to employ and retain high-skilled workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions (Form I-140 petitions) while also providing stability and job flexibility to these workers. The rule increases the ability of these workers to further their careers by accepting promotions, changing positions with current employers, changing employers and pursuing other employment opportunities.
  • Improve job portability for certain beneficiaries of approved Form I-140 petitions by maintaining a petition’s validity under certain circumstances despite an employer’s withdrawal of the approved petition or the termination of the employer’s business.
  • Clarify and expand when individuals may keep their priority date when applying for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.
  • Allow certain high-skilled individuals in the United States with E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1 or O-1 nonimmigrant status, including any applicable grace period, to apply for employment authorization for a limited period if:
  1. They are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140 petition,
  2. An immigrant visa is not authorized for issuance for their priority date, and
  3. They can demonstrate compelling circumstances exist that justify DHS issuing an employment authorization document in its discretion.
Such employment authorization may only be renewed in limited circumstances and only in one year increments.
  • Clarify various policies and procedures related to the adjudication of H-1B petitions, including, among other things, providing H-1B status beyond the six year authorized period of admission, determining cap exemptions and counting workers under the H-1B cap, H-1B portability, licensure requirements and protections for whistleblowers.
  • Establish two grace periods of up to 10 days for individuals in the E-1, E-2, E-3, L-1, and TN nonimmigrant classifications to provide a reasonable amount of time for these individuals to prepare to begin employment in the country and to depart the United States or take other actions to extend, change, or otherwise maintain lawful status.
  • Establish a grace period of up to 60 consecutive days during each authorized validity period for certain high-skilled nonimmigrant workers when their employment ends before the end of their authorized validity period, so they may more readily pursue new employment and an extension of their nonimmigrant status.
  • Automatically extend the employment authorization and validity of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs or Form I-766s) for certain individuals who apply on time to renew their EADs.
  • Eliminate the regulatory provision that requires USCIS to adjudicate the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, within 90 days of filing and that authorizes interim EADs in cases where such adjudications are not conducted within the 90-day timeframe.

From: https://www.uscis.gov

USCIS Announces Final Rule Adjusting Immigration Benefit Application and Petition Fees

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a final rule published in the Federal Registertoday adjusting the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees will be effective Dec. 23.
USCIS is almost entirely funded by the fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities.
Fees will increase for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 percent for most applications and petitions.   This increase is necessary to recover the full cost of services provided by USCIS. These include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other customers eligible for fee waivers or exemptions.
The final rule contains a table summarizing current and new fees. The new fees will also be listed on the Our Fees page on our website. Form G-1055 will not reflect the new fees until the effective date. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23 must include the new fees or USCIS will not be able to accept them.
"This is our first fee increase since November 2010, and we sincerely appreciate the valuable public input we received as we prepared this final rule," said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. "We are mindful of the effect fee increases have on many of the customers we serve. That’s why we decided against raising fees as recommended after the fiscal year 2012 and 2014 fee reviews.  However, as an agency dependent upon users’ fees to operate, these changes are now necessary to ensure we can continue to serve our customers effectively.  We will also offer a reduced filing fee for certain naturalization applicants with limited means."
Read more about the new fee schedule on the Our Fees page. Highlights follow:
  • A modest fee increase of $45, or 8 percent, from $595 to $640 for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
    • USCIS will offer a reduced filing fee of $320 for naturalization applicants with family incomes greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For 2016, this means, for example, that a household of four with an income between $36,000 and $48,600 per year could pay the reduced fee. Those eligible may apply for this option using the new Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee.
  • The fee for Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322, will increase from $550 or 600 to $1,170.
  • A new fee of $3,035 is required for Form I-924A, Annual Certification of Regional Center.
In preparing the final rule, USCIS considered all 436 comments received during the 60-day public comment period for the proposed rule published May 4.

From: https://www.uscis.gov

USCIS to Allow Additional Applicants for Provisional Waiver Process

Rule to Extend Process to All Individuals Who Are Statutorily Eligible for the Waiver
WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a final rule expanding the existing provisional waiver process to allow certain individuals who are family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and who are statutorily eligible for immigrant visas, to more easily navigate the immigration process.  The provisional waiver process promotes family unity by reducing the time that eligible individuals are separated from their family members while they complete immigration processing abroad, while also improving administrative efficiency.
This final rule builds on a process established in 2013 to support family unity.  Under that process, certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens can apply for provisional waivers of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility, based on the extreme hardship their U.S. citizen spouses or parents would suffer if the waiver were not granted.  The rule announced today, which goes into effect on Aug. 29, 2016, expands eligibility for the provisional waiver process to all individuals who are statutorily eligible for the waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility. USCIS expects to update its Policy Manual to provide guidance on how USCIS makes “extreme hardship” determinations in the coming weeks.
Until now, only immediate relatives of U.S. citizens were eligible to seek such provisional waivers before departing the United States for the processing of their immigrant visas.  Those eligible for the provisional waiver process under the 2013 rule are only a subset of those eligible for the waiver under the statute.  This regulation expands eligibility for the process to all individuals who are statutorily eligible for the waiver.
To qualify for a provisional waiver, applicants must establish that their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses or parents would experience “extreme hardship” if the applicants are not allowed to return to the United States. 
The final rule also makes changes to Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver.  These changes will go into effect along with the final rule.  The updated form will be posted on USCIS’ website at uscis.gov/i-601a on August 29, 2016.
Applicants should not submit a request for a provisional waiver under the expanded guidelines until the final rule takes effect on Aug. 29, 2016.  If you do so before that date, USCIS may deny the application.

From: https://www.uscis.gov

Biggest Developments in the Business Immigration Law

The Business Immigration Environment is Becoming Increasingly Restrictive for Employers and Foreign National Employees

The H-1B Classification

One of the most significant business immigration developments in 2015 was the precedential decision of Matter of Simeio Solutions, issued on April 9, 2015, by the Administrative Appeals Office. This decision overruled previous H-1B guidance issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and instituted a new requirement that employers must file amended H-1B petitions whenever an H-1B employee’s job location moves outside of the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) covered by the previous H-1B petition. Recognizing that this was a radical change, theUSCIS issued final guidance in July 2015 and announced that it generally would not pursue enforcement actions against employers that did not file amended petitions for location changes that occurred prior to the issuance of Simeio; in this guidance, however, the USCIS warned that location changes after April 2015 required an amendment.

The effect is to significantly increase the administrative burden and expense associated with H-1B employees, thus making U.S. employers less competitive if they are unwilling to relocate an H-1B employee due to the added burden and expense of filing a new H-1B petition. Furthermore, inadvertent lapses in this new requirement can result in status violations that can have draconian consequences.

The F-1 Foreign Student Classification

In August 2015, a federal district court in Washington, D.C., issued a decision that invalidated the regulation that established the USCIS’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) OPT extension process because the government had failed to comply with applicable notice and comment requirements. See Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Civil Action No. 14-529 (D.D.C. Aug. 12, 2015). Under the OPT program, F-1 students are eligible to obtain work authorization for up to 12 months. Pursuant to the STEM OPT extension program, students can extend this work authorization by an additional 17 months if they graduate from a U.S. university with a degree in designated STEM fields, and they work for an E-Verify employer.

Recognizing that many employers and foreign national employees would be unfairly impacted by an immediate invalidation of the STEM extension program, the court established a deadline of February 2016, by which the current STEM regulation would be invalidated unless the USCIS properly promulgated a new regulation. To save the program, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published a notice of proposed rulemaking on Oct. 19, 2015. In addition to reauthorizing the basic STEM OPT extension process, the NPRM added new requirements to the current rule. Some may benefit employers and foreign nationals, such as the proposed increase of the OPT STEM extension period from 17 months to 24 months. The NPRM also would maintain the automatic 180-day work extension that results upon the timely filing of a STEM OPT application and more clearly define “STEM field.”

The NPRM also imposes additional obligations on the sponsoring employer. For example, employers seeking to employ an F-1 STEM candidate and extend their OPT employment authorization will be required to develop a mentoring and training program for each sponsored OPT employee, and then secure approval of the sponsoring school’s designated student officer (DSO) before the USCIS approves the extension.

While the NPRM has promise, there is no guarantee that it will be finalized in the form proposed. Also, there is significant concern whether the necessary notice and comment period will be completed before the district court’s deadline in February 2016. If not, F-1 foreign nationals will lose their STEM OPT extensions authorized by the current rule, forcing employers to terminate valuable employees. Such a result will disrupt not only the lives of these foreign nationals, but also the operations of the employers that depend on them. If this occurs, the nation will lose a significant opportunity to fill badly needed STEM positions with tremendously talented individuals.

The L-1B Classification

On March 24, 2015, the USCIS also issued additional guidance for the often embattled L-1B specialized knowledge visa category. This guidance resulted from the immigration-related executive actions that President Obama announced in November 2014 to address various ongoing problems with the national immigration system. The White House pointed to a five-fold increase in L-1B denials and requests for evidence by the USCIS as evidence of the need for change. In the new guidance, the USCIS sought to provide its examiners with better rules for evaluating and adjudicating L-1B petitions.

Tasked with providing a clearer explanation of the term “specialized knowledge,” the USCIS guidance seeks to define the differences between “special” and “advanced” knowledge, the building blocks of a specialized knowledge case. Under this guidance, special knowledge is distinct or uncommon knowledge in comparison with that generally found within a particular industry or employer. Advanced knowledge is that not commonly found within the relevant industry, but also greatly developed or further along in progress, complexity and understanding than that generally found within the employer company. To assist its adjudicators, the USCIS also provided a nonexhaustive list of factors to consider when deciding specialized knowledge cases; these factors consolidated prior USCIS policy guidance, while also adding new criteria.

This guidance represents the latest effort by the USCIS to bring consistency to L-1B specialized knowledge adjudications. Prior memos and extensive agency training efforts have proved unsuccessful, so it is hard to be optimistic about this latest effort. A significant portion of the business immigration community has expressed concerns that the guidance imposes additional, more restrictive requirements, without providing examples of what cases should satisfy the specialized knowledge requirements. In this context, the list of factors to consider when making specialized knowledge determinations may merely provide adjudicators more leeway to issue RFEs and denials. USCIS adjudicators retained broad authority to request additional information, even in the face of persuasive employer statements. Given this uncertainty, the verdict on the value of this guidance will likely not arrive until more statistics addressing post-memorandum L-1B RFE and denial rates are available.

Consular Nonreviewability

On June 15, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Kerry v. Din, No. 13–1402, 576 U.S. ___ (2015), which upheld the doctrine of consular nonreviewability. Under this doctrine, a decision by a U.S. consular officer to deny a visa application is not subject to judicial review. This decision affirms the right of consular officers to deny visa applications without citing any factual basis for a decision; rather, the denying officer may refer solely to the statutory provision on which the denial rests. This decision is even more problematic in light of the DHS’s announcement that it is working on a plan to scrutinize social media posts as parts of its visa review process. Basing a visa denial on social media evidence raises concerns due to the inherent unreliability of this information. Under Kerry v. Din, a consular officer would not even have to explain what social media (or any evidence at all) formed the basis for a denial. As a result, unsuccessful applicants now have no recourse following the denial of an immigrant visa by a U.S. consular officer.

Developments that Have Improved the Climate for Business Immigration

H-4 Spousal Employment

Under certain circumstances, dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders may now apply for work authorization in the U.S. On Feb. 24, 2015, the USCIS announced that, as of May 26, 2015, it would begin accepting applications for employment authorization from qualified H-4 dependents. The spouse must be in H-4 status and married to a foreign national in valid H-1B status. To qualify for employment authorization, the H-1B spouse either must be the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140 petition, or have been granted H-1B status under AC21 sections 106(a) and (b) (essentially meaning that the H-1B visa holder has extended his or her H-1B status past the six-year limit on the basis of a pending lawful permanent residence application delayed by quota backlogs).

Preliminary Green Card Applications

In concert with the U.S. State Department, the USCIS also has made efforts to ease the backlog for filing green card applications by updating the process for determining visa availability. Specifically, each month, the DOS visa bulletin now posts two distinct charts for each visa preference category: (1) application final action dates, indicating the dates when applications may be adjudicated, and (2) dates for filing applications, indicating the earliest dates when foreign nationals are eligible to file certain permanent residence applications (AOS). This change cannot expedite approval of permanent residence applications that are pending due to quota backlogs; however, it does offer relief by allowing foreign nationals to receive immigration benefits associated with those applications faster. This includes: employment authorization and permission to travel; spousal work and travel authorization; and increased employment options due to green card portability. Additionally, the new system may improve the accuracy of predictions regarding future backlog movement.

AOS Portability

On Nov. 20, 2015, the USCIS also issued a draft policy memo that, when finalized, promises to provide long awaited guidance on how to determine whether two jobs are “same or similar” for purposes of AOS portability. The guidance clarified that USCIS examiners would reference the standard occupational classification (SOC) codes published by the U.S. Labor Department to analyze whether proposed positions qualify for AOS portability. In response to this proposal, concerns have been raised that the USCIS may rely too heavily on SOC codes for this analysis. Overall, however, the business community appears encouraged that there will finally be some guidance on how the USCIS will evaluate portability claims involving career progressions or changes to new employers. When the final memo issues, we hope to see improved predictability and consistency, both of which are critical to this area.

What Does this Mean for 2016?

Employers in 2016 are likely going to face increasingly long odds in getting cases selected in the annual H-1B cap selection process. While it is impossible to predict with precision the chances for success, information from past years does not bode well for the 2016 lottery. For the fiscal year 2014 lottery, the USCIS received approximately 172,500 petitions within its first week of filing. In 2015, that number grew to nearly 233,000 petitions. This represents about a 35 percent increase in petitions received between these two years. The 2016 H-1B lottery will likely involve even more petitions. Smart employers will plan early for alternative immigration options for important employees who may be cap casualties.

To be sure, the business community will continue to receive a potpourri of welcome and unwelcome developments until the next election. Just last week, Congress agreed on a new budget, which extended the EB-5 immigrant investor, Conrad 30, Special Immigrant Religious worker and E-Verify programs through September 2016. It remains to be seen if government will continue to make the immigration climate more favorable to the business community. If so, this likely will come at a cost of more regulations with restrictive and cumbersome requirements. Employers, therefore, must continue to make immigration compliance an important component of their risk management policies.

Immigration Video Bulletin

Frequently Asked Questions about Gay Marriage Based Immigration

1. Can a U.S. citizen who lives in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage file a Form I-130 or a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)?

Yes. Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano announced stated that the law of the place where the marriage has taken or will take place is key, not the law of the state of residence:

Yes, you can file the petition.  In evaluating the petition, as a general matter, USCIS looks to the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes.

The State Department’s FAQ agrees. And the Board of Immigration Appeals has agreed in Matter of Zeleniak, 26 I. & N. Dec. 158 (BIA 2013). In that case, the couple married in Vermont and resided in New Jersey, a state that does not offer full marriage equality.

President Obama has even weighed in on this question:

It’s my personal belief — but I’m speaking now as a President as opposed to as a lawyer — that if you’ve been married in Massachusetts and you move someplace else, you’re still married, and that under federal law you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple…. But I’m speaking as a President, not a lawyer.

It’s worth noting that the USCIS FAQ originally mentioned an exception to the general rule:

That general rule is subject to some limited exceptions under which federal immigration agencies historically have considered the law of the state of residence in addition to the law of the state of celebration of the marriage. Whether those exceptions apply may depend on individual, fact-specific circumstances. If necessary, we may provide further guidance on this question going forward.

But the FAQ has been updated to delete reference to the exception:

As a general matter, the law of the place where the marriage was celebrated
determines whether the marriage is legally valid for immigration purposes.  Just
as USCIS applies all relevant laws to determine the validity of an opposite-sex
marriage, we will apply all relevant laws to determine the validity of a
same-sex marriage..

The “exception” that USCIS had referred to are for instances in which the state of residence has strong public policy reasons for not recognizing a marriage entered into legally in another jurisdiction. For example, where residents of State A are close relatives whose marriage would be considered incestuous and illegal go to State B to marry but then return to their State A residence, USCIS may not recognize the marriage as legal. So LGBT advocates feared that the “exception” mentioned in the USCIS FAQ related to states like Wisconsin, which has a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages and a statute declaring void for purposes of state law marriages by persons residing in Wisconsin who wed out of state but intend to continue to reside in-state. In any case, it appears the “exception” to recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages appears to have been deleted.

2. Can a U.S. citizen living abroad file a Form I-130 on behalf of same-sex spouse?


3. My Form I-130, or other petition or application, was previously denied solely because of DOMA.  What should I do?

According to the USCIS announcement, the agency will  reopen those petitions or applications that were denied after February 23, 2011, solely because of DOMA section 3. USCIS says it’s trying to identify those cases and notify the parties if additional evidence is required. USCIS has provided an email address to bring such cases to its attention and says that you must do so by March 31, 2014. No fee is required to reopen such cases.

4. When might it be preferable to file a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), to qualify for a K-1 visa?

If the foreign national fiancé(e) resides in a country, like China, that does not allow same-sex marriage and he/she is unable to get married in another country, the K-1 would be appropriate.  That is a huge benefit to same-sex couples because most of their fiancé(e)s probably do reside in countries without marriage rights.

The application requires the couple to demonstrate that they have a “bona fide” relationship. After the visa is granted, the couple is required to marry within 90 days of the foreign partner’s entry into the U.S. Once married, the couple can file the marriage-based Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, from within the United States.

5. What about visas for the foreign spouse or fiancé(e)’s children?

Generally, when a U.S. citizen files a Form I-130 or Form I-129F for a spouse or fiancé(e), the foreign spouse’s children can qualify to immigrate as the citizen’s “stepchildren.” (If you and your spouse planned to have a child together, you probably consider the child to be your “child”–not your “stepchild”–but the immigration law classifies the child as your “stepchild” if you are not a biological parent.)

For an I-130 of behalf of a citizen’s stepchild, the couple must have married before the child turned 18, and the child must be under 21 and unmarried at the time the I-130 is filed in order to get a green card at the same time as the parent’s marriage-based green card.

For the I-129F, the citizen’s stepchild may obtain a K-2 visa so long as he or she is under age 21 at the time of issuance.

6. Can a foreign national coming to the U.S. in nonimmigrant status (e.g., F-1 student, H-1B specialized knowledge worker, J-1 exchange visitor, L-1 intracompany transferee, O-1 extraordinary ability) obtain a dependent visa (e.g., F-2, H-4, J-2, L-2, O-3) for a same-sex spouse?


7. What other immigration benefits may a same-sex spouse qualify for?

Immigration equality will cover a range of benefits. For example, eligibility for provisional waivers for persons who entered the United States without inspection; eligibility for permanent residence for battered spouses under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which despite its title has never been limited to women; and even naturalization, for example as an adopted child in a same-sex marriage, to qualify for the reduced three-year residence requirement when living with a U.S. citizen spouse, or to qualify for “expeditious naturalization” under section 319(b) as the spouse of a U.S. citizen employed abroad.

8. What evidence should be filed to prove that a same-sex marriage is valid, meaning entered into for purposes of sharing ones’ lives together, rather than merely for immigration purposes?

The evidence will be similar to what heterosexual spouses submit. 

The potential signs of a fraudulent marriage that the government looks for will be similar to signs that a heterosexual relationship is a sham:

Large disparity of age, especially if the woman is older than the man.

Inability of petitioner and beneficiary to speak each other’s language.
Vast difference in cultural and ethnic background.
Family and/or friends unaware of the marriage.
Marriage arranged by a third party.
Marriage contracted immediately following the beneficiary’s apprehension or receipt of
notification to depart the United States.
Discrepancies in statements on questions for which a husband and wife should have
common knowledge.\
No cohabitation, other than educational or professional reasons, especially if the parties
don’t visit each other often.
Beneficiary is a friend of the family.
Petitioner has filed previous immigration petitions, including but not limited to petitions
for prior foreign spouses.
Marriage not recorded in personnel records for one or both spouses.
In addition, some same-sex petitioners and beneficiaries may have not disclosed their sexual orientation to their friends, family, landlord, financial institutions, employer, etc. meaning that a bona fide relationship might be hard to prove. Many U.S. states and localities have no anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation. For others, it might actually not be safe to openly admit they are gay or lesbian, much less identify a spouse.

Note that if the marriage was celebrated before the Windsor decision it would be difficult for the government to argue it was entered into solely for purposes of immigration: at the time of marriage, there was no immigration benefit eligibility under U.S. law.

Also note that if either or both spouses previously filed IRS income tax returns as “single” because the marriage wasn’t recognized under DOMA, you may want to speak with a tax advisor about filing amended returns to show your status as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.

9. Is it possible to request that the immigration case be expedited?

In appropriate cases, it may be possible to request that an immigration case on behalf of a spouse or fiancé be expedited on the basis that the delay in filing was due to the Government’s unconstitutional refusal to recognize the validity of a same-sex relationship, causing hardship to the couple.

10. Does a civil union or domestic partnership count?

The answer is not yet clear. The Department of State FAQ says not “at this time.” USCIS has not issued guidance.

11. I married in a state where same-sex unions are allowed. However, I have moved to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages. Can we still apply for immigration benefits?

Yes, as long as you are legally married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. The new Supreme Court ruling has allowed the federal government to treat all marriages equally.  Since immigration is governed by federal law, immigration benefits will now be given to same-sex couples, no matter where you reside.

12. I married my partner abroad in a country that recognizes same-sex marriage.  Will the United States recognize that marriage for immigration purposes?

Yes, as long as you are legally married in a country that recognizes same-sex marriage. The new Supreme Court ruling has allowed the federal government to treat all marriages equally.  Since immigration is governed by federal law, immigration benefits will now be given to same-sex couples, no matter where you reside.

13. How do I know if I qualify for immigration benefits?

Immigration law still remains as one of the most complex areas of law. Determining your eligibility depends on many factors, such as your manner of entry into the United States, any past immigration history, past criminal history, and the length of your stay in the U.S.  The Law Offices of Darryl L. Wynn has created a state-of the art eligibility test in order to determine all immigration benefits you may be eligible for. To find out your eligibility, please give us a call at 212-402-6886.

14. Are you able to help clients nationwide?

Absolutely. we specializes in serving clients nationwide and worldwide.  We have state-of-the-art technology allowing us to effectively communicate and keep our clients informed of every step taken with their case. We also regularly Skype with our clients who may want a face-to-face meeting who otherwise do not have the time to visit one of our offices.  At Law Offices of Darryl L. Wynn, we are able to do things differently – which our clients appreciate.

15. Is same-sex marriage legal in the state of California?

Yes. Gay and lesbian couples can now get married in California. On June 28, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay of the historic District Court decision that ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

16. I married in California before Proposition 8 passed. Is my marriage still recognized?

Yes.  Marriages that occurred before Proposition 8 are valid. California first began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on June 16, 2008.  The issuance of those licenses was halted on November 5, 2008 due to the passage of Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages.  On June 27, 2013, the granting of same-sex marriages recommenced after the United States Supreme Court decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry declaring Proposition 8 as unconstitutional.

17. Will immigration benefits be given to those who hold civil unions or domestic partnerships?

No. Those who hold civil unions or domestic partnerships must legally get married in a state that allows same-sex marriage. Only then will the federal government recognize the marriage.

18. Which states recognize same-sex marriages?

California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota (starting August 1, 2013), New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island (starting August 1, 2013), Vermont, Washington State.

19. Which countries allow same-sex marriages?

Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand (starting August 19, 2013), Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay (starting August 1, 2013), as well as certain jurisdictions in Brazil and Mexico.

20. Do I need to be a resident of a state to get married in that State?


21. I have a civil union from another state. Can I still get married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage?

Yes, as long as you are marrying the same person. If you are marrying a different person, you will need proof that your civil union ended (i.e. death, dissolution, divorce, or nullity).

22. I am in a State Registered Domestic Partnership. Can I still get married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage?

Yes, as long as you are marrying the same person with whom you are registered as a Domestic Partner. If you are marrying a different person, you will need proof that your domestic partnership ended (i.e. death, dissolution, divorce, or nullity).

23. What documents do I need to get married?

In most states, both parties must appear in person and bring valid picture identification to the County Clerk’s Office to apply for a marriage license. Valid picture identification is one that contains a photograph, date of birth, and an issue and expiration date. Some states and counties may also require a copy of your birth certificate. If you have previously been married you will need to know the date your last marriage ended and how it ended. You may also be required to present a final judgment of the dissolution.

CALL 212-402-6886 or 718-986-2151 NOW!

Attorney Darryl Wynn interviewed by NY1 - Top News Channel in New York!

- Read the full news here!

Contact Us To Get Free Consultation

Call  Us Now!
New York Immigration Hotline: (212) 402-6886 or (718) 986-2151
Philadelphia Immigration Hotline(215) 948-2819
Boston Immigration Hotline: (617) 858-1887
Miami Immigration Hotline: (305) 209-3529
Estero/Naples/FortMyers Immigration Hotline(239) 384-1998

Email Us: dwynnesq@gmail.com and/or darryl@wynnlawoffice.com

Please call, email, or send us a message to speak with an attorney about your case. We begin with a free evaluation of your case to determine your eligibility and advise you on your options. We welcome you to call at any hour and from any location for a free consultation.

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Law Offices of Darryl L. Wynn
75 Maiden Lane
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New York, NY 10038

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We Know Everything About Immigration. Let Our Experience Be Your Guide .

Hello, I'm Darryl Wynn. I have been an immigration lawyer since 1994, and I focus exclusively on U.S. immigration law. My practice is family-based immigration, naturalization, asylum, consular processing, motions and appeals to the BIA and Immigration Courts, and representation in Immigration Courts in deportation or removal proceedings. Because immigration law is federal law, I can represent clients in any state in the United States or abroad. My immigration service office is a full service law firm handling cases in all areas of: Immigration and Naturalization, Visas, Deportation, Asylum, Real Estate, Buying and Selling, Family Law, Divorce, Business Law, Corporate Law, Administrative Law, Elder Law, Health Care. Please do not hesitate to call me at my office number at 212.402.6886 or my cell at 718-9862151 or you can also email me at dwynnesq@gmail.com.


Darryl L. Wynn has been practicing law in New York State since 1988 and has worked in a number of settings, including private firms, government, public authorities and a nonprofit organization. He has had his own law firm since 1992, which is located in the Wall Street-Financial District area of New York City. He has served as Counsel to The Gilman Group, an international strategic alliance consulting and government affairs advocacy firm headed by former U.S. Congressman Benjamin Gilman and based in Washington, DC, since 2006.

Darryl Wynn’s practice area is concentrated in U.S. immigration and nationality law, including the defense of removal proceedings in criminal and political asylum related cases, litigation of immigration cases in Federal Court and complex business immigration matters. He is a senior member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association New York Chapter and has been an advisor on immigration law matters to a number of universities and organizations. He has represented a number of hotel and hospitality companies as well as manufacturers and Other employers, as well as artists and scientists of international reknown. He has lectured on Immigration law throughout the United States as well as internationally.
Attorney Wynn received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy at Princeton University and his Juris Doctor Degree from the City University of New York Law School. He has also studied in the L.L.M in Taxation Program at New York University.

He is admitted to practice law in the States of New York and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of New York.
Prior to his concentration in immigration law, Darryl Wynn practiced in real estate transactional, financing and cooperative/ condominium litigation matters. He was an associate at Fischbein Badillo Wagner as well as at Smollens & Guralnick, and was Special Counsel for Project Development at the New York City Housing Authority.

He has also been a member of the American Bar Association, the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, and had been the Young Leadership Chairman of the American Jewish Committee New York Chapter.
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