Immigration and Naturalization Law

WEISS & KAHN advises and represents corporations and individuals—both foreign and domestic—on a wide range of immigration issues. For example: immigrant and non-immigrant visas of all kinds; labor certification, including PERM applications; naturalization, citizenship, and residence retention issues; waivers of inadmissibility; J-visa waivers; national interest waivers; removing clients from government watch lists, and far more. Our services include:

  • Immigrant visas based on all categories—see list of immigrant visas
  • Non-immigrant visas of all kinds—see list of non-immigrant visas
  • Labor certification, including PERM applications
  • Naturalization, citizenship, and residence retention issues
  • Waivers of inadmissibility to the United States
  • J-visa (two-year home-country physical presence) waivers
  • National interest waivers
  • Diversity visa lottery applications
  • I-9 (employment eligibility verification) compliance
  • Corporate training programs
  • Freedom of Information Act Requests and litigation
  • Removing a client’s name from government watch lists
  • Immigration and citizenship status of children born overseas of US citizen or permanent resident parents
  • Administrative appeals in all agencies that deal with immigration matters, including
    • USCIS’s Administrative Appeals Office (AAO)
    • The Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)
    • The Department of Labor’s Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA)
    • The US Department of State
    • The National Fines Office

Elaine Weiss, our senior immigration partner, has practiced immigration law for over 30 years. You, the client, will have an initial consultation with Elaine for as long as needed to enable the firm to understand, and provide a comprehensive analysis of, the facts and circumstances of your case. We thoroughly explain your options for reaching your immigration goals; offer objective guidance for choosing the optimal—and most cost effective—way to reach those goals; and carefully and timely complete and file your paperwork with all US government departments and agencies involved in your case. We also keep you up to date on the status of your case; advise you of any changes in the law that might affect you; represent you at your immigration or naturalization interviews and in any follow-up proceedings; and offer ready access to the attorney handling your case.

Weiss & Kahn enjoys a proud record of succeeding in cases that others think unwinnable. One reason for this is the partners’ academic expertise. Dr. Kahn’s Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, his B.A. from Oxford University in England, and his decades of university research and teaching have prepared him to research and make intelligible the most complex academic, scientific, medical, and technical material. And re-packaging esoteric material into something that an overworked immigration official can quickly and easily understand is critical to winning complex cases—like those in the National Interest Waiver, Extraordinary Ability, and Outstanding Professor and Researcher categories.

Our partners are active in professional organizations such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and frequently speak and write on topics in immigration and nationality law. Elaine Weiss has served on AILA South Florida’s Board of Directors for over two decades, and was AILA South Florida’s Chapter President from 1996 to 1997. Firm members participate in AILA liaison activities with the various governmental agencies around the country that determine the outcomes of cases, and keep abreast of the legislative and rule-making activity that constantly change this field of law.

Elaine Weiss, our senior immigration partner, has practiced immigration law for over 30 years. You, the client, will have an initial consultation with Elaine for as long as needed to enable the firm to understand, and provide a comprehensive analysis of, the facts and circumstances of your case. We thoroughly explain your options for reaching your immigration goals; offer objective guidance for choosing the optimal—and most cost effective—way to reach those goals; and carefully and timely complete and file your paperwork with all US government departments and agencies involved in your case. We also keep you up to date on the status of your case; advise you of any changes in the law that might affect you; represent you at your immigration or naturalization interviews and in any follow-up proceedings; and offer ready access to the attorney handling your case.

Weiss & Kahn enjoys a proud record of succeeding in cases that others think unwinnable. One reason for this is the partners’ academic expertise. Dr. Kahn’s Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, his B.A. from Oxford University in England, and his decades of university research and teaching have prepared him to research and make intelligible the most complex academic, scientific, medical, and technical material. And re-packaging esoteric material into something that an overworked immigration official can quickly and easily understand is critical to winning complex cases—like those in the National Interest Waiver, Extraordinary Ability, and Outstanding Professor and Researcher categories.

Our Clients

Weiss & Kahn’s clients include, among many others, major multinational corporations with household names, athletes, artists, academics, entrepreneurs, chefs, professionals and managers of every sort, eminent scientists and researchers, teachers, persons who possess extraordinary or exceptional ability (in the arts, education, business or athletics), and immigrant investors. We also represent ordinary people like ourselves who simply seek a better future in the United States or want to join family members here.

Our clients come from countries the world over, and work in areas as diverse as banking, steel making, pharmaceuticals, shipping, import-export, data management, industrial instruments, health care, architecture, engineering, medical research, motor-racing, toxicology, market research, hotels and resorts, airlines, advertising, fashion design, dance, painting, luxury desserts and chocolates, veterinary medicine, social science, law, economics, and many more.

We represent clients before the US Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), the Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the National Fines Office, the Department of Labor (including BALCA, its Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals), the Department of State, US Consular offices the world over, state employment service offices, and the federal courts (both at the trial and appellate levels).

Business and Corporate Matters

Weiss & Kahn advises and assists corporations with the immigration implications of hiring or transferring foreign nationals to work in the United States; acquiring, merging or joint venturing with companies in the United States or overseas; and starting up operations in the United States. In the right circumstances, we assist in setting up special corporate programs that facilitate the transfer of international personnel to the United States, thereby shortening and simplifying approval for intra-company transfers, treaty visas, and training programs.

Permanent labor certification applications: Most employment-based residence cases first require employers to prove to the US Department of Labor (DOL) that bringing the foreign national to the US to fill an available position will not deprive a qualified American worker of the job. This proof process is known as a “permanent labor certification application,” commonly called “PERM.” The process is lengthy and exacting. Weiss & Kahn works with the employer and the foreign national to ensure that the offered job can reasonably be expected to yield a DOL certification and, if so, to ensure that the employer’s finances will stand up to US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ scrutiny. Once assured that the case can be successful, we provide the necessary legal services.

Congress has recently extended the powers of federal immigration agencies to make random worksite visits. These aim to ensure that the actual work of foreign national employees complies with the terms of their employers’ promises to the immigration authorities, and with the law more generally. Breaches can lead to civil and even criminal penalties. Weiss & Kahn works with employers and foreign nationals from the start to ensure that all parties clearly understand their duties and their documentary requirements. Before the government makes a random site visit to a client, Weiss & Kahn seeks to ensure that inspectors will find full compliance. And if issues arise, we do everything possible to ensure a favorable disposition.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) mandates that employers confirm that all newly hired employees are authorized to work in the United States. Failure to comply with IRCA’s constantly changing Employment Eligibility Verification (EEV) and Form I-9 compliance provisions can result in civil and criminal sanctions for the employing company and its officers. Weiss & Kahn helps companies develop IRCA compliance programs to reduce the risk of liability, runs preventative compliance audits, and represents those facing Department of Homeland Security or Department of Justice proceedings.

Family Immigration

Among our greatest pleasures is helping reunite families, and ensuring family members’ continued authorization to remain together in the United States. To this end, Weiss & Kahn handles the full range of family-based immigration petitions and waivers. We are active partners in our clients’ family-based cases, making certain that they receive the well-known benefits of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, as well as the benefits available under more arcane parts of the law such as:

  • The Child Status Protection Act
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • The Cuban Adjustment Act
  • The Violence Against Women Act
  • Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationalization Act
  • Recent legislation designed to soften the “widow penalty” by benefitting widow(er)s of US citizens and other surviving family members of deceased petitioners and applicants
  • The complex law on the immigration and citizenship status of children born overseas of US citizen or permanent resident parents
  • Registry— a route for obtaining permanent residence for certain people who entered the United States prior to, and have lived here continuously since, January 1972

Consular Practice and Visa Refusals

Even a foreign national with a lifetime of US visas can go to a US Consulate to apply for a new or renewed visa, only to meet with delay or denial. Weiss & Kahn works first to ensure that this doesn’t happen to its clients. But, if it does, we are here to battle back. Efforts include telephone conferences and correspondence with consular personnel, and inquiries—formal and informal—with the US Department of State. Our goal is to ensure our clients’ speedy and successful acquisition of their visas. To this end, we also seek and obtain advisory opinions from the US Department of State. A favorable advisory opinion effectively reverses the denial of a visa at a US consulate overseas. For additional information, see Significant Immigration Cases.

USCIS Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and DOL Audit Requests

US Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) has always been empowered to ask for additional information and/or documentation after a case is filed. USCIS usually makes such requests by issuing “Requests for Evidence” (RFEs). USCIS has recently stepped up its rate of issuance of RFEs. These may be apt, but are just as likely to be repetitive, inappropriate or incomprehensible. Similarly, PERM cases are “audited” by the Department of Labor (DOL)—sometimes randomly, and sometimes to address a specific concern that DOL has about the labor certification application. And, like USCIS Requests for Evidence, DOL audit requests can ask about matters important—or irrelevant—to the case. Weiss & Kahn strives, first, to prepare cases that don’t become subject to RFEs or audit requests. But if RFEs or audit requests are issued, we work closely with our clients to ensure the government’s satisfaction with the responsiveness, completeness, and timeliness of our answers.

Criminal Issues

While some policy changes may prove helpful, current legislation and the enlarged resources and powers of the Department of Homeland Security have made it more difficult than ever for aliens with any sort of criminal record to travel to and from, work in, settle in, and/or remain in the United States. No longer are minor criminal records—including older, state-level or foreign country convictions—unavailable to, or ignored by, the federal immigration authorities. We represent and advise clients on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions for foreign nationals in immigrant and non-immigrant status, and for residents seeking US citizenship. We work closely with criminal defense lawyers prior to and during trials—to minimize the immigration consequences of charging documents, plea bargains, convictions, and sentences. And we represent clients seeking waivers of their inadmissibility (because of criminal issues) under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Some of the Types of US Visas that We Handle

Immigrant Visas:

  • Family Immigration:
    • immediate relative—spouse, child, stepchild, parent, or stepparent of a US citizen
    • family sponsored—son, stepson, daughter, stepdaughter, brother, half brother, sister, or half sister of a US citizen
    • family sponsored—spouse, child or stepchild of a lawful permanent resident
  • Marriage to a Foreign National
  • Fiancé(e), and Child of a Fiancé(e), of a US Citizen
  • EB-1 Priority Workers:
    • aliens with extraordinary ability in the arts, education, business or athletics
    • outstanding professors and researchers
    • multinational executives and managers
  • Labor Certification Applications (PERM)
  • EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Aliens with Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business
  • EB-3 Skilled Workers and Professionals
  • EB-3 Unskilled Workers
  • EB-4 Special Immigrant Visas for Religious Workers
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investors
  • National Interest Waivers
  • Diversity Visa Lottery Winners
  • Special Juvenile Immigrants
  • Battered Spouse Immigrants
  • Registry

Non-immigrant Visas:

  • B-1 Temporary Visas for Business
  • B-2 Temporary Visas for Pleasure
  • E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader and Investor Visas and their Families
  • F-1/F-2 Students and their Families
  • H-1B Specialty Occupation (Professional) Visas
  • H-2 Other Temporary Workers
  • H-3 Trainee Visas
  • H-4 Spouse or Child of Other H Visa Recipients
  • I Representatives of Foreign Information Media and their Families
  • J-1/J-2 Exchange Visitors (e.g., professors, scholars, teachers, physicians) and their Families
  • K-1/K-2 Fiancé(e) of US Citizen and Children of Fiancé(e) of US Citizen
  • K-3 Spouse of US Citizen Awaiting Availability of Immigrant Visa
  • L-1/L-2 Intra-Company Transfers (executives, managerial and specialized personnel continuing employment with international firms or corporations) and their Families
  • M-1/M-2 Vocational Students and their Families
  • O-1 Persons with Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics and their Families
  • P-1 Artists and Athletes and their Families
  • Q International Cultural Exchange Program Visitors and their Families
  • R-1/R-2 Religious Workers and their Families
  • TN/TD Professionals under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and their Families

For more on the firm’s immigration work, see Significant Immigration Cases.