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Kristy Figueroa-Contreras, Esq.
Kristy Figueroa-Contreras, Esq. is managing partner at the Miami, Florida offices of Negri, Torres & Figueroa-Contreras, an international trade, business, immigration and criminal defense law firm with additional offices in Buenos Aires, Caracas and Santo Domingo and affiliate attorneys in Lima, Madrid and Mexico City.
Attorney Figueroa-Contreras´s practice focuses on all aspects of immigration, nationality and consular law, as well as criminal defense of persons accused of a wide range of felony and misdemeanor offenses. She has state and federal criminal trial experience, making her particularly well-versed in the complex and ever-changing interplay between criminal and immigration laws and procedures. Much of her practice is devoted to representing non-citizens facing criminal charges in both state and federal criminal courts, as well as those with criminal convictions in their immigration and consular proceedings.
Her firm also handles international service of process, document procurement, certified translations, apostilles and legalizations. This immigration attorney can answer immigration related questions by e-mail and offers immigration related phone consultations during 15, 30 or 60 minutes. Attorney Kristy Figueroa-Contreras, is a native speaker of English and Spanish and is also fluent in French and Brazilian Portuguese.
The attorney Kristy Figueroa-Contreras, can answer your immigration questions by e-mail or by telephone, individuals may be located anywhere in the world abroad or in the US to receive a consultation with her. The lawyer Kristy Figueroa-Contreras is admitted to practice law in the State of Florida. However, because immigration law is a federal matter, this lawyer is able to represent individuals and organizations without regard to their location. Further, she is authorized to represent individuals and help them with their cases with the USCIS, the Department of Labor and other government agencies. This Lawyer can assist clients and answer questions online or one the phone about various immigration cases including nonimmigrant visas, consular processing, permanent residence, labor certifications, naturalization, removal and asylum.
Sample Questions and Answers from Lawyer Figueroa-Contreras, Esq.:
Question: Dear Immigration Lawyer, Our company, based in Italy, recently opened a new subsidiary in the United States. We wish to employ a manager at this U.S. subsidiary on an L-1A visa. It is our understanding that the employer must show that both the foreign company and the U.S. company must show that they are “active” in order to be able to petition for an L-1 visa. Our company been active and thriving in Italy for over nine years. However, because our U.S. subsidiary is less than two months’ old, we have no prior business activity to show for it. Will we still be able to petition for the L-1?
Answer: Yes, as long as you meet certain requirements. There is indeed a requirement that both the foreign and US companies are (or will be) actively doing business, and such business activity must be above and beyond the mere incorporation of a business, registration an office or presence of an agent. However, USCIS has special regulatory provisions dealing with new offices, defined as organizations which have been “doing business in the United States through a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary for less than one year.” 8 C.F.R. §214.2(l)(1)(ii)(F). In order to qualify for an L-1 in the “new office” case of your subsidiary, you must show that your company in Italy is active and also present evidence that (1) you have obtained sufficient physical premises to house your U.S. subsidiary (e.g., by submitted a copy of your lease agreement for the premises); (2) your intended manager has been employed continuously at your Italian parent company as a manager for at least one (1) year at any time within the past three (3) years; and (3) within one (1) year, your U.S. subsidiary will have the financial viability to support your intended manager’s position. You must meet this last requirement by submitting information regarding: (i) the organizational structures of both the Italian parent and the U.S. subsidiary; (ii) the U.S. office’s scope of operation and financial goals; (iii) the size of your U.S. investment and the ability of your Italian office both to compensate your intended manager and to begin doing business in the U.S.
In addition, L-1 petitions involving “new offices” may only be approved for one (1) year (as opposed to the usual three (3)). In order for the period to be extended thereafter, you must present evidence that the subsidiary is still active and no longer in the “start-up” phase (showing, for example, tax documentation reflecting the payment of salaries and hiring of additional employees under the manager’s supervision, a significant increase in cash flow and a solid clientele base). In other words, must make sure you have “beefed up” the subsidiary’s operations well in advance of the L-1 extension filing deadline.
Question: Dear Immigration Attorney, I am currently present in the United States on an F-1 student visa, along with my wife, who is here on an F-2. My prospective U.S. employer has filed for a H-1B visa on my behalf, along with a Form I-539 Application for Change of Status. Unfortunately, H-1B cap for this year has already been reached. My F-1 optional practical training program will be completed at the end of this month and the authorized stay on my F-1 visa will only be valid for 60 days thereafter. Will my wife and I have to depart the United States prior to the termination of the 60 days and wait for the H-1B approval abroad?
Answer: No. Because you timely filed your I-539 application to change your status to H-1B and this year’s cap for H-1B visas, the authorized stay period on your F-1 and your employment authorization (for optional practical training) will be automatically extended until the 1st of October of next year, which is the H-1B start-up date. This extension also applies to your wife’s F-2.