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PRACTICE AREAS

IMMIGRATION LAW

Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC is dedicated to assisting families as they navigate through the complicated immigration process.  Spouses and children can often have different immigration statuses, and in these sensitive cases, we work tirelessly to keep your family together.  As your family immigration attorney in Nashville, TN, we offer diligent representation and expert advice.  Whatever the immigration status of you and your family member, you can trust our law firm to be your compassionate advocate.  Schedule and appointment today to review:  


Protect Your Family with Our Immigration Services
Our law firm is highly experienced in the field of immigration law, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  When it comes to immigration legal services, we have the expertise you can trust to help you achieve your goals. You are not alone if you are facing the daunting process of immigration to the United States.  Whether you are seeking citizenship or temporary work document, our law firm is on your side.  Let us assist you as you make your way through the legal system.  

Review

 *****

My wife and I wanted to use a lawyer to navigate the increasingly complex green card process.  We didn't want any delays in our processing.  Bruce and his staff were very kind and helped out throughout our process and we had a successful result.  We would recommend him!

Kyle Rolnick

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ASYLUM

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At Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC, we handle a variety of immigration cases, including Asylum

 

  • An individual who legally or illegally enters the U.S. and is a victim of past persecution because of their nationality, race, religion, political opinion or member of a particular social group and/or fears persecution for one of these reasons, if they return to their home country, may petition the USCIS for asylum
  • One must do so within one year of arrival or prove exceptional circumstance;
  • If one cannot prove the one-year rule, you may still be eligible for withholding of removal where you are not deported bur are not eligible for permanent residence for this reason -  only a work authorization card;
  • If one files for asylum with the USCIS and it is not approved, the case is referred to Immigration Court, where one will have another opportunity to prove asylum.

 

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CITIZENSHIP

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At Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC we handle a variety of immigration cases, including citizenship.

 

  • In order to become a U.S. citizen, one must be a permanent resident for 5 years or 3 years if married to U.S. citizen spouse; and 
  • There are other rules which must be followed, such as living in the U.S. for more than 50% of the 3 or 5 years.

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CONSULAR PROCESSING

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At Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC, we handle a variety of immigration cases, including Consular Processing

 

  • If a spouse, parent, adult child or adult sibling successfully petitions though an I-130 petition with the USCIS, the beneficiary, who is living abroad, is eligible for consular processing;
  • Depending upon the situation, the beneficiary may be immediately eligible for consular processing or may have to wait 10 to 20 years for eligibility, based upon the Visa Bulletin;
  • Additionally, spouse, parent, or adult child who is living in the United States and receives a provisional waiver of unlawful presence, is eligible for consular processing;
  • The beneficiary will have an interview at their US Consulate and if approved will receive an immigrant visa and a green card upon entry into the United States. 

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DACA

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At Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC, we handle a variety of immigration cases including DACA.

 

  • Individuals, who arrived in the United States before the age of 16 and are younger than 36 years old, who are in school, graduated from high school, received a GED or are enrolled in GED classes, are eligible for DACA (Deferred Actioin for Childhood Arrivals);
  • These individuals must not be convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors;
  • After approval of DACA, individuals recieve a 2-year EAD, which is renewable every 2 years;
  • DACA is currently only available to those who need to renew their DACA status and it is unclear how long the DACA program will continue as President Trump has tried to end it but the federal courts have ordered DACA to continue until an unknown date. 

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EMPLOYMENT-BASED IMMIGRANT VISAS

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 There are several types of immigrant visas, which means the foreign nationals will receive their green card, including:

  • EB-1-1 is available to foreign nationals who demonstrate extraordinary ability in their field, whether the sciences, the arts, education, business, or athletics. Extraordinary ability is normally proven through showing evidence of “sustained national or international acclaim”.  
  • EB-1-2 is for professionals holding advanced degrees (Ph.D., master's degree, or at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience) and persons of exceptional ability in sciences, arts, or business. 
  • EB-1-3 is for executives or managers of multinational corporations. 
  • EB-2 is for professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability
  • EB-3 is for skilled, professional and unskilled workers.


Initially, the employer must file with the U.S. Department of Labor for a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD). Once that is received, the employer must engage in recruitment to determine there is no US worker qualified and available for the job. If after recruitment, one does not find a qualified employee, then the employer files for a PERM Labor Certification with U.S. Department of Labor.After certification, the employer files an I-140 petitioning to permanently employ a foreign national. The foreign national files a I-485 seeking permanent residence.Sometimes, the beneficiary (foreign national) may already be present in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa, such as an H-1B or L. Other times, he is outside the U.S. 

EMPLOYMENT-BASED NON-IMMIGRANT VISAS

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 Employers often want to employ immigrants for several years, up to 7 years depending on the visa. Bruce works with employers to legally employ immigrants through visas.Below are the kind of non-immigrant visas that we regularly work on:
 

  • H-1B Visas: Employers may petition for workers in which is defined as work in “specialty occupations” requiring at least bachelor's degree or equivalent in on-the-job experience. These occupations include computer system analysts, accountants, engineers, architects, PTs, chemists, pharmacists, large hotel managers, upper-level business managers, librarians, and dieticians. Before filing the I-129 petition, employer must file and receive an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor. Employer must pay the prevailing wage.The visas are initially for 3 years with the ability to seek a 3-year extension. Thus, a maximum of 6 years, unless the employer has had an I-140 pending for more than 180 days or there is an approved I-140 petition and the worker is waiting for his priority date. H-1B visa holders may port/transfer to another employer.There is a cap of 85,000 H-1B visas per year for all employers except universities, affiliated nonprofits and research facilities, who are exempt from visa cap. Only new H-1B applications count toward cap. The H-1B visa is a dual intent visa – meaning the employee can seek a green card simultaneously with holding H-1B status and seeking to extend H-1B status.Spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of H-1B visa holders may file for an H-4 visa. Under certain conditions, an H-4 visa holder may receive work authorization. However, Trump Administration is seeking to end work authorization for H-4 visa.
  • L Visas: Available to employers for intracompany transfers of managers, executives or workers with “specialized knowledge”, who have worked for a U.S. company’s parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch outside the U.S. for 1 year in last 3 years. The maximum duration is 7 years for managers and executives (L-1A) and 5 years for specialized knowledge employees (L-1B). If the U.S. office is new, the initial L visa is for 1 year. The L non-immigrant visa is useful to a multi-national company that needs to bring foreign managers, executives or “specialized knowledge” workers to the United States or is looking to start/expand operations in the United States. The company must continue to operate as a multinational company for the duration of the employee’s L1A status. Executive capacity generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight. Managerial capacity generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization. It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others. See section 101(a)(44) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii) for complete definitions. Specialized knowledge means either special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures (See 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(D)).
  • TN Visas – Employers may petition for Canadians and Mexicans to work in the United States in certain professional occupations, similar to H-1B occupations. Through NAFTA, the TN-1 visa is available for Canadians and TN-2 visa is available for Mexicans. In order to qualify, (1) the job must be listed in NAFTA Appendix 1603.D; (2) the foreign national has the right qualifications to work in your industry; and (3) the foreign national has a job offer from a U.S., Mexican, or Canadian employer. If you're a Canadian citizen, you can apply for a TN visa at a port of entry or through the USCIS. Mexican citizens must reach the U.S. Consulate before applying. Each TN Visa is valid for up to 3 years though ones issued in Mexico are only one year. There is no limit on the number of extensions of the TN visa you may receive; however, you must always show ties back to Canada or Mexico.
  • OPT-STEM - After one-year of employment on OPT, employee is eligible for additional 24 months of employment on OPT- STEM if: 1) Employee has STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) degree, 2) Employer drafts training program and 3) Employer uses E-Verify at work-site in question. 
  • E Visas: In order to qualify under either the E-1 (treaty trader) or E-2 (treaty investor) category, at least 50% of the stock of the company engaging in trade or investment in the United States must be owned by treaty citizens who are not permanent residents of the United States.  The E-1 visa is granted for business people from the treaty country, who engage in substantial trade (more than 50% of the total volume of international trade) with the United States and the treaty country.  The E-2 visa is for investors of countries which have signed a bilateral investment treaty or a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. The E-2 visa is granted for business people who make a substantial investment in the United States. There is no minimum amount although many investments are over $100,000. The investment must be made in an active and effective business. The E-2 visa holders must develop and direct operations while investing substantial money. The investment must expand job opportunities. You must show it is going to generate more than marginal income – meaning more than providing just an income for you. A marginal enterprise is an enterprise which does not have the capacity to generate significantly more than enough income to provide a living for the investor, family and other alien employees.  The E visa is granted to the principal owner of a business or a key employee in an executive or a managerial capacity, who has invested a substantial amount of money in the United States. Both the investor and the key employee must be treaty citizens.  The E visa is generally issued for an initial period of two years although it may be issued for  additional years. The visa generally may be extended in two-year increments without limitations as long as the person runs the business or is employed by the company engaging in trade or investment in the United States. 
  • O-1 Visas: Available to foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, crafts, education, business, athletics, or any field of “creative endeavor.” One must show receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards or documentation from 3 out of 8 categories listed in regulations.  Some of the 8 categories are foreign nationals’ membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members; and published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien.  The visas are for 3 years initially, then one-year extensions. There is no maximum stay. O-2 visas are available for essential support personnel and O-3 visas for family members. 
  • P Visas: P-1A - Applies to you if you are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete, individually or as part of a group or team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.  P-1B - applies to you if you are coming to the United States temporarily to perform as a member of an entertainment group that has been recognized internationally as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.
  • B-1 Visas: Available to short-term visitors for business. The visas are temporary and must show foreign residence, no U.S. compensation, and benefit to foreign employer.
  • H-2B Visas - To qualify for H-2B non-agricultural classification, the petitioner must establish: (1) There are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work; (2) Employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers; and (3) Its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as temporary. The employer’s need is considered temporary if it is:
  • (A) One-time occurrence – A petitioner claiming a one-time     occurrence;
  • (B) Seasonal need – A petitioner claiming a seasonal need must show that the service or labor for which it seeks workers is traditionally tied to a season of the year by an event or pattern and of a recurring nature;
  • (C) Peak load need; or
  • (D) Intermittent need.

FAMILY - BASED PERMANENT RESIDENCE

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At Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC, we handle a variety of immigration cases, including family-based permanent residence.

 

  • Permanent resident of U.S. citizen spouses, parents, adult children (21 and older) and adult siblings (U.S. Citizens only) may petition for their spouse, parents, child or sibling;
  • In order to be eligible for Adjustment of Status (permanent residence or green card), the beneficiary must: 


  1. Enter the U.S. legally on a visa, such as B-2 (tourist) or F-1 (student), even if it has expired after the fact; or 
  2. Be eligible for the 245(i) program - In order to qualify for 245(i), one must be present in the U.S. by December 21, 2000 and had a non-frivolous visa petition or labor certification filed on one's behalf by April 30, 2001, or
  3. Be the victim of domestic violence by their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent.

 

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FIANC(É)E VISAS

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At Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC, we handle a variety of immigration cases, including Fianc(é)e Visas

 

  • U.S. citizens may petition for their fiance by filing a petition with the USCIS'
  • After approval by the USCIS, the fiance files the appropriate paperwork with their U.S. consulate for a K-1 visa;
  • If approved for a K-1 visa, the fiance travels to the United States to marry their fiance within 90 days of arrival in the United States; and
  • After marriage, the newly arrived immigrant files for Adjustment of Status (green card).

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IMMIGRATION COURT

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At Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLc, we handle a variety of immigration cases, including Immigration Court

  • Some individuals are placed in Immigration Court where the government is trying to deport because of unlawful presence or crime;
  • Individuals have defenses that they can raise in Immigration Court, such as Cancellation of Removal (you get a green card), asylum, Adjustment of Status and Prosecutorial Discretion;
  • OSC Complaint Defense - If OSC serves your company with a complaint, we are there to defend yo in response to the subpoena, including before OCAHO. 

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U VISAS

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At Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC, we handle a variety of immigration cases, including U Visas

 

  • Cooperatin crime victims, those of mainly violent crimes, are eligible for a U Visa if they suffered physical or emotional harm;
  • In order to receive an U Visa, the investigating police department, prosecutor, or judge must sign a U Visa certification;
  • If this U Visa certification is received, there is a good chance that the U Visa will be approved;
  • Because of the backlog of U Visa victims and statutory limit of 10,000 a year, most U Visa applicants first receive a form of deferred action with an Employment Authorization Card (EAD);
  • After 2 to 3 years, these crime victims receive their U Visa with EAD for 4 years; and 
  • After three years, U Visa recipients may apply for permanent residence  (green card).

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WAIVER OF INADMISSIBILITY

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At Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC, we handle a variety of immigration cases, including: Waiver of Inadmissibility

 

  • Individuals who have entered without documentation (papers) for longer than 6 months but less than a year, face 3-year bar of inadmissibility if they leave the U.S. and if for more than one year, the bar is 10 years; 
  • In many cases where the individual is marred to a U.S citizen or whose parent(s) is a U.S. citizen, a Waiver of Inadmissibility can be filed arguing "extreme hardship" on the U.S. citizen.  If granted without leaving the U.S., this is called a provisional waiver; 
  • If a provisional waiver is granted, the individual can consular process with an interview at a U.S. consulate in their home country without worry of a 3-year or 10-year bar for unlawful presence; and
  • There are other Waivers of Inadmissibility under I-601 involving criminal activity or fraud. 

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