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Supreme Court Issues Decision to Expand Eligibility for Cancellation of Removal that Could Impact Nearly All Immigration Cases.

By Scott McVarish on September 7, 2018 - Comments off

This analysis was prepared by staff attorney Marissa Malouff from the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C. Attorney Malouff is a former USCIS officer and Department of Justice attorney who drafted the decisions for immigration judges in the Los Angeles immigration court. To schedule your consultation with her, call us at (800) 792-9889 or text us at: (213) 375-4084.

On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Pereira v Sessions,  No. 17-459,  558 U.S. ___, (June 21, 2018) (slip opinion), which could have a far-reaching impact on immigration court proceedings and may make many immigrants with difficult cases eligible for immigration relief.  This decision is a small bit of welcome good news in an ever-changing immigration system.

How does this case impact you? First, let’s provide you with a little bit of background.

Every person in immigration court (officially named the Executive Office for Immigration Review)  receives a Notice to Appear (NTA). This document is produced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  To initiate immigration court proceedings against a non-citizen, DHS serves this NTA on the non-citizen and files it with the immigration court. This begins the deportation or removal case. Only after this NTA is filed does the Immigration Judge have control over a case.

Relatedly, once you are in immigration court, you can apply for a form of relief called cancellation of removal if you have resided in the United States for a long enough period of time. Many people have mistakenly heard that this is the ten-year rule, and that anyone can apply for if they have lived here for ten years. In fact, only immigrants who are already in immigration court proceedings can apply for this form of relief–and not even all of them can apply. If you apply for this relief as a non-green card holder, you have to prove that you have resided in the United States for at least ten years before you were served with the NTA.  If you already have a green card, then you have to show that you lived in the United States for at least seven years before you were served with a NTA Essentially, the residency time period cuts off at the time that you are served with the NTA.

For example, if you are a non-green card holder and came to the United States in April of 2008; if you are then served with a NTA in March of 2018, you would not be eligible for cancellation of removal. Why not? Because you did not reside in the United States for ten years prior to the NTA.  This is referred to as the “stop-time” rule, and it is a major reason why immigrants without competent attorneys lose their cancellation of removal cases.

For more information, please see:


Posted in: Immigration


Steps to start a successful E-2 visa business

By Scott McVarish on January 17, 2017 - Comments off

A few months ago, I wrote an article regarding the requirements of the E-Visa However, during my consultations, I am repeatedly asked similar questions from entrepreneurs about what it takes to start a business in the United States. Therefore, I decided to write this article to answer in more details, besides the basic immigration requirements, what one can do to start a business in the U.S.

The Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles is prepared to assist you in filing an E visa. Although an E visa offers many advantages, it is also complicated and requires the knowledge of an immigration attorney with experience in these areas of immigration law. Therefore, we encourage you to contact our office in order to avoid unnecessary delays, frustration, and complications with your case. Call us at (800) 792-9889 or fill out our contact form here

Steps needed to start a U.S. business:

  1. An entrepreneur should research and plan the type of business he or she plans to open in order to be successful. It also helps if you have the right background, for example, if you are a doctor, a medical clinic might be a good place for you to start your research. Consulates and USCIS prefer if you have experience or education in the field for your business. It’s not required, but it is helpful.
  2. Franchises are also an option for some investors. Our office can put you in touch with franchise brokers to help jump-start your search.
  3. Decide what kind of entity you want your business to be: a sole partnership, S corporation, limited liability company, etc. Some of our clients use a corporate attorney for this, others use Legalzoom. Depending on what you look to achieve, you can decide how it is best to structure it and incorporate it.
  4. The next step is to search that nobody is using the name you want for your business, and then register it with the government. Most states will have this type of corporate name search feature online.
  5. You should also obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the government (IRS), and plan to hire an accountant to help you with the U.S. tax code. You can get the TIN online for free. Don’t let an attorney charge you to do this.
  6. Once you have the TIN you should be able to open your corporate bank account, checking account and credit card. If the first bank turns you down., go to the next. You will usually need to deal with their business specialist or manager. Under no circumstances should you try to operate this business under your personal bank account or personal credit card.
  7. Another important step to setting up a business is picking the right location. When starting a business, location can be critical. That’s where the real estate phrase “location, location, location” comes from. To be successful, you must know your customers and where they are likely to find you. Once you find the right location, either obtain a lease or purchase the location. These expenses will be part of the $150,000 or more you are investing in your business.
  8. Depending on where you plan to do business, and what you plan to do, you may need a business or professional license. If you are working in a specialty trade, such as medicine, law or construction, you will likely need to obtain a professional license from the governing board in the state where you plan to do business. Also, many localities require businesses to register and obtain business licenses so they can keep track of the businesses in that area.
  9. Lastly, as much as possible, learn about state employment law. If you plan to hire employees, know what rights they have and what are your responsibilities towards them.

Consider a successful franchise

Usually E visas are used to start small businesses, that do not require a large investment. One type of business that entrepreneurs might want to consider when starting to research their option is opening a franchise. Franchises qualify for E visas because they help the U.S. economy and create jobs for U.S. workers. It is important to note that you will be required to hire at least two U.S. workers when opening this type of business. Additionally, you can buy a running franchise, but you must own at least half of its shares to qualify for the E visa.

There are several reasons to consider a franchise, including that it is already a successful business model, and immigration officials will not have a difficult time understanding the business model. One might also have an easier time writing a business plan for a franchise, because it will be already known how much money is needed to invest, how the business will run, etc. Also, one will get lots of help in starting his or her business with a franchise, because those that will sell the franchise rights want you to succeed. It does not seem as risky to invest in a business that has already been tried and is successful. Franchises are available in lots of different fields, including fast food restaurants and food trucks, barber shops, kids entertainment, gyms, etc. And when starting your research, you can search the field that interests you and also the amount of money you want to invest in a franchise.

Posted in: E-Visas

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Expansion of Provisional Waiver

By Scott McVarish on September 22, 2016 - Comments off

On July 29, 2016, USCIS announced the expansion of the provisional waiver. This is great news for those that have green card holding spouses or parents, but were not previously eligible to apply (because it was limited to U.S. citizen qualifying relatives). To better understand the changed, let’s first look at the original provisional waiver.

Since March 2013, a person that entered the United States illegally (for example without inspection), could apply to obtain a green card. He or she had to:

  1. File and have a family, employment or other petition approved;
  2. Then file a waiver to prove their U.S. spouse or parent would suffer extreme hardship if applicant was deported;
  3. And lastly, the applicant would travel to the U.S. embassy in their home country for an interview.

The last step might seem scary to many applicants, but the interview is usually a formality. With the waiver already approved in the U.S., one would not have to worry that the hardship was not met. Additionally, the time spent outside the United States would be just a couple of weeks.

The provisional waiver is a big improvement from previous laws, which would require an applicant to first leave the United States, and then file the waiver. If the extreme hardship was not met, then the applicant would be stuck outside the United States. Even if the waiver was approved, the applicant would be forced to wait for the approval abroad, which could take an additional 6 months to 2 (or more) years.

Therefore, we are excited that many other individuals would be able to take advantage of the process described above, even if they were not eligible before the expansion of the rule. If you are in the United States illegally, but are married to a green card holder or have parents that are green card holders, you also might now be eligible to apply for the provisional waiver. It is no longer limited just to those that have spouses or parents that are U.S. citizens. Green card holders are now also eligible to be qualifying relatives for the provisional waiver.

Obtaining a green card that requires a provisional waiver requires a lot of work and specialized knowledge of U.S. immigration laws. Our office will meet with you and your qualifying relative and advise you if there is enough extreme hardship. If we think that there is enough hardship, we will closely work with you to ensure that enough documents are provided to give you the best chance for approval. Documents to prove hardship include medical records, financial records, detailed records of one’s life in the United States, an extensive evaluation of country conditions of applicant’s home country, just to mention a few.

Our office has filed many provisional waivers and to this date, our success rate has been extremely high. We were able to demonstrate the extreme hardship factor in almost all cases, which is “extremely” difficult to do. Our clients were able to leave the U.S., attend an interview and enter the United States as lawful permanent residents of the U.S.

We encourage you to contact our office and schedule a consultation, so we can advise you of the best options given your individual needs, in order to avoid unnecessary delays, costs and frustration.


Optional Practical Training

By Scott McVarish on August 7, 2016 - Comments off

Can students work on an F-1 Visa?

Once a foreign student with a student visa has completed their academic program, the student is eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT allows a student to obtain paid or unpaid temporary employment that is directly related to the student’s major area of study. The OPT program provides students the ability to gain valuable work experience, remain in the U.S. for 12-24 months beyond the completion of their academic program and potential eligibility for certain students for some employment based visas. Some students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from U.S. institutions may extend their STEM OPT period by 24 months after their initial 12 month OPT period.

Read the rest »

Posted in: Immigration


Green Cards for DACA & TPS holders

By Scott McVarish on July 22, 2016 - Comments off

Are you a DACA or TPS recipient married to a U.S. Citizen? If so, please review a possible path for you to get legal permanent residency at:


Posted in: DACA, Green Card, TPS


EB-1 Visas

By Scott McVarish on June 24, 2016 - Comments off

First Preference Category Visas – EB-1

First Preference Category visas also known as, EB-1 (Employment Based) visas are dedicated for three types of foreign individuals, those who:

  1. have an extraordinary ability,
  2. are an outstanding professor or researcher, or
  3. are a multinational executive or manager. Read the rest »

Posted in: EB-1


Tips for Foreign Workers and Employers

By Scott McVarish on June 24, 2016 - Comments off

Foreign workers and employers should note that only 28.6% of the world wide visas are reserved for the EB-3 category. Consistently there are more applicants under this category than there are visas available. This means that there is usually a waiting list for this employment based category and the foreign worker must wait for a visa to become available before they can apply for a green card (Form I-485). Read the rest »

Posted in: EB-3


Me Puede Patrocinar Mi Hijo Ciudadano Para La Residencia Permanente?

By Scott McVarish on May 5, 2016 - Comments off

Me Puede Patrocinar Mi Hijo Ciudadano Para La Residencia Permanente?

Muchos inmigrantes son padres que entraron a los EE.UU. sin documentos y que tienen hijos ciudadanos americanos. Es muy común que muchos inmigrantes con hijos que son ciudadanos americanos pregunten: “mi hijo/a tiene 21 años, me puede patrocinar para una tarjeta verde?” Si esta es su situación, primero asegúrese que usted tiene todos los requisitos necesarios antes de someter una aplicación al Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de Estados Unidos (USCIS, por sus siglas en inglés). Solo el hecho que su hijo/a americano/a tiene 21 años no es suficiente para obtener su residencia legal. Si usted cumple con todos lo requisitos, usted podrá someter una aplicación para la residencia a USCIS. Read the rest »


What are the benefits of a U Visa?

By Scott McVarish on May 5, 2016 - Comments off

What are the benefits of a U Visa?

A U Visa is a temporary visa available for immigrant victims of serious crimes in the U.S. who have suffered significant physical harm or significant emotional or psychological harm as a result of the criminal activity. The victim must also have provided information, assistance and cooperated with law enforcement or government officials during the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If an immigrant’s U visa is approved, the immigrant will receive a temporary visa to remain and legally work in the U.S. for a period of four years. After the immigrant has had U Visa status for a period of three years, he or she can file an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to obtain Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) (green card). Read the rest »

Posted in: U Visas


CA PERM Domestic Employer Payroll Tax Requirements

By Scott McVarish on March 16, 2016 - Comments off

Extra Obligations for California Employers

If you are currently employing a foreign domestic worker and sponsoring that worker for Lawful Permanent Resident status (LPR) (green card) you must ensure that you are in compliance with state and federal employment tax laws.

Examples of domestic workers, also referred to as household workers are: baby-sitters/nannies, chauffeurs, cooks, housekeepers, caretakers etc.

If you are a domestic employer in the state of California, state payroll taxes are regulated by the State of California Employment Enforcement Department (EDD). A domestic employer may have to register with EDD and submit Form DE1 HW – Employers of Household Workers Registration and Update Form. To determine whether registration and submission of Form DE1 HW is required, the employer must look to the amount of cash wages paid to domestic worker in a calendar quarter. Read the rest »

Posted in: Employment Visas


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Copyright © 2018 The Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C. - All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.