Our Immigration Services
Our services are continuing during the COVID-91 pandemic. Our hours are continuing as usual with limited in-person services.
There are many instances where an applicant is instructed to appear at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain a visa for his or her green card. Processes at the Consulate can be slow, frustrating, and stressful. There are many challenges and benefits associated with Consular Visa Processing and ones that you should always consider when applying.
Every time someone applies for a temporary visa, from a tourist visa to an investor’s visa, the applicant must go through a consular process at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate located in the country of origin of the applicant. In some cases such as the intra-company transferee visa (L-1 visa), a petition must be first filed and be approved by the USCIS, prior to scheduling a consular interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. In other instances, such as in the case of a treaty trader or investor’s visa (E-1 or E-2 visas), the applicant may apply directly with the Embassy or Consulate without applying first with the USCIS.
The Consular Process for those seeking to secure their permanent immigrant status through a family member starts with the submission and approval before USCIS of the Petition for Alien Relative or also known as the I-130 Petition. Once approved, USCIS transfers the case to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) in order to coordinate and handle the remaining of the process which will culminate abroad at a consular post.
A waiver is an option available to those who have been deemed to be inadmissible from the United States. The grounds for inadmissibility range from health related grounds to illegal entrants and immigration violations. Those who qualify for a waiver, for example, an illegal entrant who is now married to a U.S. Citizen, will be thoroughly assessed by our team of experts who must be up to date about the evolution of the legal innovations as well as changes in consular as well as USCIS’ procedures to adjudicate waiver cases.
Waivers are complex and require particular attention to legal knowledge and expertise. Immigration adjudicators review waiver applications in a case by case basis and most of the time waiver approvals are a matter of discretion. Therefore, it is extremely important that a waiver is well prepared with factual documentation and legal support.
Adjustment of Status.
Adjustment of status is the process by which a foreign person applies for and obtains his or her permanent legal status or more commonly known as their green card. Those who qualify for adjustment of status can avoid having to travel outside the United States to their country of origin to obtain their legal status from abroad. Instead, the adjustment of status is an internal administrative process handled by the USCIS which typically takes approximately 9-18 months to be resolved.
Immigration Asylum is available to persons who fear returning to their country of origin because they were persecuted prior coming to the U.S. or fear that they will be harmed if they return. Persecution for asylum purposes must be based on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
Asylum cases can often be the life line for many who have suffered in their home country and who’s only survival decision is to flee their homes and seek shelter in the United States.
Immigration Detention & Removal Proceedings.
When someone is detained by immigration authorities under the suspicion of any immigration violation, that person may be entitled to be placed in removal proceedings (also known as Deportation Proceedings). The person faced with removal proceedings is afforded the opportunity to go before an immigration judge who will determine if he or she must return to his or her home country or whether that person may have a means to stay under immigration law.
Consequently, anyone in removal proceedings requires an experienced and effective legal team who can best protect their rights and the possibility to remain in the United States, avoiding removal. For more than twelve years, Luna & Associates has successfully represented many clients facing removal proceedings before the Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Federal Court of Appeals.
If you have not heard from your loved one and need to find them click on the detainee locator link below. This Online Detainee Locator System allows you to search for your detained family member. Please keep in mind information must be correct (name spelled correctly, age, country of birth and date of birth) in order to properly conduct the search.
Parole in Place
Spouses, children and parents of Active Duty Military Members, Veterans or Members of the Selective Reserve may now be able to obtain legal residence in the United States through a legal mechanism called Parole in Place. A “parole” is a discretionary benefit issued by U.S. immigration authorities to grant or recognize legal entry to non citizens who would not otherwise have a visa based on humanitarian reasons or significant public interests.
A Parole in Place, under this policy, allows spouses, children and parents of active duty military members, veterans or reservists to apply for their permanent residence in the United States instead of doing it from abroad even if they are present in the United States without proper immigration status. As this practice is implemented in local offices, it is important that you obtain the correct information by a qualified attorney.
Naturalization & Citizenship
Becoming a citizen of the United States is a life changing decision. This pivotal step comes with great advantages for those who make the decision to apply. As a United States Citizen you will have the ability to be a responsible citizen and vote, participate in a jury and impact policy changes. Citizenship will also allow you to petition your qualifying relatives including parents, children, siblings, and spouses. That in many instances should be supported by a great team and lead by an experience attorney.
If you obtained lawful permanent residence through a spouse, you can apply for citizenship three years after you obtained legal residency. If this is not the case, after being a permanent resident for five years you can submit your application to become a U.S Citizen.
The eligibility requirements scrutinize your moral character as well as your criminal history so if you have had any prior criminal history it is important that an attorney evaluates your situation carefully. In many instances, prior criminal offenses may not hinder your ability to become a U.S. citizen.
DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals allows students who entered the country before the age of 16 and meet other requirements to apply for deferred action from USCIS. Applicants must gather evidence showing continuous residence in the United States and evidence of high school or GED graduation or current attendance. Individuals who are approved for Deferred Action will not be placed into removal proceedings or be removed from the United States for a specified period of time, unless terminated. Additionally they will be able to continue their education and obtain a work permit valid for 2 years.
The future of DACA is constantly changing and and updates will be reflected on our blog page.
A “non-immigrant” is a person who enters the United States for a temporary period of time and is restricted to the activity consistent with his or her visa. Generally, a non-immigrant is also one who does not intend to reside in the United States permanently. Therefore, most non-immigrant visas require that the person present to the Immigration or Consular officer that his or her intent to remain in the United States is only temporary. The following visas’ category is considered “non-immigrant”: Visas for Temporary Visitors (B-1/B-2 Visas), Visas for Students and Trainees (F, M, J); Visas for Business Personnel (H, TN, L, E)
Meet our Staff
Legal Assistant & Communications
Karla graduated from the University of California-Berkeley in 2016 with a major in Political Science and a minor in Chicano Studies. She has worked for the National City Chamber of Commerce and the City of Chula Vista. She currently is passionate about securing the rights of the unhoused and being involved in her community in Barrio Logan. She hopes to one day go to law school.
Mrs. Crabtree joined our firm in 2004 and has since been a key part of our team. She has almost 20 years of experience in the immigration field. Her critical thinking, dedication, and attention to detail make her a client’s favorite. Currently she is the Senior Legal Assistant for Family Immigration and Removal Proceedings Legal Team as well as the office manager. Her education includes attending City College for Legal Administrative and Psychology. As part of our team she has attended AILA Immigration Seminars in 2000, 2002, 2009; and 2017 as well as multiple Immigration classes and webinars. Yavira is fluent in Spanish.
Foreign Attorney & Legal support
Gabriela obtained her law degree from Universidad Iberoamericana & a master’s degree in Corporative Management from Colegio de Estudios Superiores Humanitas. Gabriela worked for two prestigious law firms in Mexico City, Noriega y Escobedo, A.C. and Creel Abogados, A.C. Later, she worked for the Mexican financial system for 15 years. In 2009, she was appointed Consul of Mexico in San Diego, CA, as head of the Protection Department where she had the opportunity to attend many protection cases.