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Kristy Figueroa-Contreras, Esq.
Ms. Figueroa-Contreras is a partner at Negri, Torres & Figueroa-Contreras, P.A., an international trade, business and immigration law firm with offices in Miami, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Madrid. The firm also has affiliates across Latin America. Locally in Miami, Ms. Figueroa-Contreras handles all types of matters related to U.S. immigration, naturalization and visa and consular law, with a special focus on the Latin American community. Her clients include large multinational corporations, professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, entertainers and athletes. Her firm also handles international service of process, document procurement, certified translations, apostilles and legalizations.
Ms. Figueroa-Contreras also has experience in other areas of the law, including federal and state criminal and civil trial experience as well as representation of immigrant juveniles in Florida dependency courts. This attorney is particularly skilled in matters involving the intersection of criminal law and U.S. immigration law, having successfully defended many non-citizens with criminal convictions, including having vacated or set aside several felony convictions and re-opened removal cases based on same. She is a member of the Florida Bar and is also admitted to practice in federal court (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She is also a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Translator’s Association (ATA).
Ms. Figueroa-Contreras can answer immigration questions by e-mail about any related issue and offers immigration related phone consultations during 15, 30 or 60 minutes.
Immigration attorney Kristy Figueroa-Contreras, who is Cuban-American, is a native speaker of both Spanish and English and is also fluent in French and Portuguese. Ms. Figueroa-Contreras has lived and worked as an attorney in Latin America. She also has over a decade of experience as a freelance legal translator and works in any combination of these four languages
Law Degrees and Education
Ms. Figueroa-Contreras obtained her Juris Doctor (law) degree in 2002 from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. During law school, Ms. Figueroa-Contreras spent a year abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she studied Comparative Law and Latin American Constitutional Law at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and Universidad del Salvador. While in Argentina, she clerked for a trial judge on the Argentine Federal Criminal Court. She also interned at an Argentine law firm and at the Buenos Aires office of a major U.S. law firm
This experienced immigration lawyer also holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, With Honors, in English and French respectively, from Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
Immigration Work Experience:
Family-based immigration Ms. Figueroa-Contreras has extensive experience and expertise in family-based immigrant petitions, including immigrant visas, adjustment of status, K-1, K-2 and K-3 visas, the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program and Special Immigrant (I-360) petitions for beneficiaries under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Employment-based visas and permanent residence. Ms. Figueroa-Contreras also represents multinational employers seeking employment-based visas and permanent resident status for their employees. She studies these employers’ diverse business structures and assists them in creating and implementing effective immigration strategies. Ms. Figueroa-Contreras has assisted clients and their dependents in obtaining non-immigrant work-related and investor visas in the E, H, TN, L, O and P categories, as well as business (B-1) visitor visas. Ms. Figueroa-Contreras has also obtained permanent resident (“green card”) status for individuals in the EB-1 extraordinary ability, EB-2 National Waiver/Schedule A Pre-Certification and EB-5 Investor Visa categories, including the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program.
Removal (Deportation) Defense/Asylum. She continuously represents clients in bond, detention, removal and asylum proceedings in the South Florida area. She has succeeded at obtaining terminations and administrative closures of removal proceedings, Cancellations of Removal for both Lawful Permanent Residents and Non-Permanent Residents, Withholdings of Removal, Convention Against Torture (CAT) relief, Waivers of Inadmissibility and Asylum Relief.
Motion Practice. This immigration attorney frequently prepares and files Motions to Reopen and/or Reconsider before the Immigration Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as Bond Motions requesting the release of detained aliens on a reasonable bond and Motions to Vacate or Set Aside Criminal Convictions.
Waivers. Non-citizens who have been previously removed or deported, convicted of a crime, committed immigration fraud, entered the U.S. illegally, or overstayed in excess of 180 days may need a waiver to re-enter or remain in the U.S. or qualify for immigration benefits. This immigration attorney has successfully handled immigrant waivers (I-601), non-immigrant waivers (INA §212(d)(3), and waivers under INA §212(c) and INA §212(h).
Ask the Immigration Lawyer Kristy Figueroa-Contreras:
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.