Specializing in Family (Divorce), Criminal and Immigration Law

MedinaLaw.org - Immigration

Immigration Law

Our office is ready to help you resolve your immigration problems in the following areas of the law:

Employment Visa

Family Visa


Employment Visas:

We work with employers and individuals seeking help in obtaining H-1 and H-2 visas for legal employment in the United States.


Family Visas:

Fiancé Visa

An application for a K-1 fiancé visa begins with the U.S. citizen (or legal resident) filing a form I-129F petition for a relative or fiancé visa with the USCIS office in the jurisdiction in which he or she currently lives. Delays often result because of minor details or mistakes that should be avoided. The local USCIS office will typically take between one and three months to approve your I-129F form for the next step of the process.

Time is an important factor for a successful application for a K-1 visa. Your fiancé will have only four months to meet with the American consular office following approval of your I-129F application. You will have only 90 days to get married after he or she arrives in the U.S.

The approval will be forwarded to the local American consular office in the city nearest the beneficiary's (your fiancé's) residence. The approval is generally only valid for four months, so time is a critical factor. Your fiancé will be required to meet formally with an official at the local consular office for an interview. The interview will ensure that there is, indeed, a relationship and an intended marriage. In order to prevent "mail-order" weddings, the intended marriage partners will be required to prove that they have met face-to-face at least once within the prior two years.

Upon approval of the I-129F, the application for the K-1 visa will be forwarded to the American consular office nearest the city of your fiancé's current residence. The petition is valid for only four months; however, the consular office may revalidate the application upon request. Following approval of the K-1 fiancé visa, you will have only three months to get married after your fiancé arrives in the United States. K-3 marriage visas are then reviewed every two years to determine the legitimacy of the marriage.

Relative Family Visas:

If you are a legal resident or citizen of the United States, your main concern may be bringing children, your spouse or other immediate relative to the United States legally. As long as you meet certain requirements, you can petition for family members and relatives to immigrate to the Unites States, and our firm is ready to help.

Despite a complex set of laws in place that seem designed to make immigration difficult for immediate relatives, there is actually some good news for family members who fall into specific preference categories. Immediate relatives such as husbands, wives and unmarried children under age 21 will not have to wait for an immigrant visa number. If you would like to bring your spouse, children or other relative to the United States, we can explain the requirements and help you through the family immigration process.

The process for obtaining a visa for an immediate family member begins with the form I-130. To secure a visa for an immediate relative, you will need to prove that a family relationship exists. To "sponsor" an immediate relative for a legal visa to the U.S., you must also be able to prove that you can support the person financially, with earnings more than 125 percent above the poverty line. If the beneficiary has unlawful presence of more than 180 days in the U.S., however, they may face a three-year bar from entering legally to the U.S. If the beneficiary has been present in the U.S. illegally for more than one year, they face a 10-year bar. If, however, any family member filed a valid I-130 on or before April 30, 2001, by paying a $1,000 fine, the beneficiary can generally avoid the prohibitions. In addition, if your immediate relative arrives in the U.S. legally and stays, the bar may be removed by applying for adjustment of status.


Removal, or deportation, is one of the most frightening things a person can face if he or she is arrested by USCIS immigration detention officials. Every year thousands of families are torn apart because of removal proceedings. Removal, or deportation, is one option the United States government has of returning illegal immigrants to their country of origin. However, there are other options that the courts often feel are better for the individual and family members involved. If you or a family member has been detained, it is important to remember that you have rights.

If you are detained by immigration follow these steps and contact our office immediately!

"Parole in Place" - special procedures for active duty military families

Parole in Place is a process that, if granted, allows immediate relatives of active duty military servicemen and women to remain in the United States for the entire green card application process.  It basically grants the applicant the same status as a person who entered the US with permission. 

Due to the fact that this is a relatively new process, there are no official guidelines, however, applicants are advised to file the following forms and documentation with their local USCIS (immigration) office:

  • Form I-131, Application for Travel Document with the filing fee of $360 and $85 in biometric (fingerprint) fees. 
  • Suggested supporting documentation:
    • A letter from the active service member stating the hardship they would suffer if their family member is not allowed to adjust status to lawful permanent resident
    • Marriage certificate & proof that the marriage between the service member and applicant is valid - e.g. bills, lease agreements, photos, mailings, etc.
    • Birth certificates for both the service member and the applicant
    • Birth certificates for children of the service member and applicant
    • The applicant's military family member identification car
    • A copy of Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System enrollment documentation for the applicant
    • Two original passport photos of the applicant
    • A copy of any deployment orders for the service member
    • Any additional documents substantiating the case for hardship

When parole in place is granted, the family member will receive a parole document in the form of an I-94 card, effectively changing their status from EWI (entered without permission) to someone who entered the United States with permission.  Once they are issued the I-94, the applicant can continue the green card process. 

Now this is a DISCRETIONARY request, and therefore, the applicant has to understand that they are alerting immigration to their presence in the U.S. If the I-131 is not granted, there is always a possibility (although very slim) that the applicant will be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings.  Due to the risk, it is imperative that the applicant seek out legal counsel, to make sure that they have the strongest possible case to present to immigration.  Also, if the applicant has ANY type of criminal record, no matter how minor, or if the applicant has entered and exited the US multiple times without permission, that can also affect their eligibility. 

As with any "new" form of relief that is filed with local offices, the procedures and adjudication rates vary from place to place.  For example, in some offices, they prefer the applicant to file everything together - Form I-131 and all of the forms associated with permanent residency.  In other offices, they only want the I-131 and once that is approved, they will request the rest of the applications/documentation.  The applicant's attorney, or the applicant, should check with their local office regarding their specific procedures for Parole in Place. 

All in all, this is a great way for the immediate relatives of active service members to remain in the US while they apply for permanent residency, thus eliminating the risk and uncertainty that accompanies having to return to their home country to consular process. 


Online Resources:

Immigration Forms

USCIS Website

International & Visitors Medical Insurance

Board of Immigration Appeals Precedent Decisions
List of PDF files of precedent decisions. Posted by the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Section of LawHelpCalifornia.org Web site. Includes information on naturalization and citizenship, public benefits for immigrants, temporary protected status (TPR), political asylum, and refugee status.

National Immigration Law Center: Community Education Materials
These materials and links cover topics for low-income immigrants.

U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review
The official Web site of the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review.

U.S. State Department
The official Web site of the U.S. State Department