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Kristy Figueroa-Contreras, Esq.

Attorney Kristin Figueroa-Contreras is board certified by the Florida Bar as an expert in immigration and nationality law. Her firm, Figueroa-Contreras Law Group, PLLC has its offices in Coral Gables (Miami), Florida, and handles full-service immigration and criminal trial matters.

Her firm also coordinates 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 Portuguese.

Ms. Figueroa-Contreras practices exclusively in all aspects of United States immigration, nationality, and consular law and the criminal defense of persons accused of a wide range of state and federal felony and misdemeanor offenses.  Her criminal defense experience makes her particularly well-versed in the complex and ever-changing interplay between criminal law and immigration laws and procedures. Much of her practice is devoted to representing non-citizens facing criminal charges in both federal and Florida criminal courts, as well as those with criminal convictions in their immigration and consular proceedings (deportation defense and waivers).  She also handles U.S. immigration and consular matters for students, artists, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs.  Her law firm, Figueroa-Contreras Law Group, also handles international service of process, document procurement, certified translations, apostilles, and legalizations.  The firm has offices in Coral Gables (Miami), Florida.

Attorney Figueroa-Contreras is a native speaker of English and Spanish and is also fluent in French and Portuguese.  She received her Juris Doctor (law degree) in 2002 from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia.  Immediately following law school, Ms. Figueroa-Contreras completed a judicial clerkship with federal criminal trial judge Jorge L. Ballestero, Juzgado de Instrucción No. 24 en ley Criminal y Correccional in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  While in Buenos Aires, she also completed graduate-level coursework in Latin American Legal Systems and Comparative Criminal Law at the Universidad del Salvador, Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas.  Ms. Figueroa-Contreras also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (1997) as well as a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French (Modern Languages) (1998) from Florida International University in Miami, Florida.  

Attorney Figueroa-Contreras admitted to practice in every immigration court in the United States, as well as before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), the Admissibility Review Office (ARO), the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) and the Board of Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA).  She is also admitted to practice in all Florida state courts and in federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  She also represents in other federal districts across the country in a Pro Hac Vice capacity.

Her other professional memberships include the Federal Bar Association (FBA), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) (South Florida Chapter, Rome District Chapter and Latin America and Caribbean Chapter), the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL).  The attorney is also a member of AILA´s Federal Court Litigation Section.

She is a frequent legal and political commentator on Spanish-language media, including Telemundo, América Tevé, Mega TV, Diario de las Américas and Radio Mambí. She has also discussed immmigration matters on English-language media such as National Public Radio (NPR).

She is the recipient of multiple awards and recognitions, including, most recently, the National Association of Distinguished Counsel’s Top One Percent in Criminal Law for 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, the National Advocates’ Top 100 Trial Lawyers (Criminal Defense) for 2015 and 2016, Acquisition International’s Global Mobility, Immigration and Logistics Award for Immigration Lawyer of the Year and Immigration Law Firm of the Year (Florida) in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Ms. Figueroa-Contreras is available for consultation in Spanish, Portuguese or French.

This attorney also handles diverse matters including:

  • Federal criminal investigations, prosecutions, sentencing, post-conviction and appellate matters
  • Investigations and opinion letters, upon request of criminal counsel, regarding the immigration consequences of criminal convictions
  • Immigration holds, ICE Detainers and CBP Detainers
  • CBP Deferred Inspection matters
  • Bond hearings, probable cause hearings, Nebbia proffers and immigration bond redetermination requests
  • Applications for Stay of Removal
  • Petitions for Review (of ICE determinations and BIA decisions)
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) requests
  • Cancellation of Removal under INA 240A(a) and 240A(b)
  • Federal Writs of Mandamus and actions under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA)
  • I-192 Unlawful Presence Waivers
  • I-601 Waivers, including the new I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver (“Stateside Waiver”)
  • Prosecutorial Discretion Requests and Applications for Stay of Removal
  • Waivers of Inadmissibility under 212(c), 212(d)(3), 212(h), 212(i) (Waiver for Misrepresentation or Fraud), and 212(k)
  • Immigration appeals, Motions to Reopen and Motions to Reconsider
  • Applications for Asylum, relief under the Convention Against Torture and Withholding of Removal
  • Advanced Parole and Re-entry Permits
  • Refugee Travel Documents
  • Employment-based (H-1B, H-2B, H-3, L-1A and L-1B) visas
  • Employment-based (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3) green cards and DOL PERM Labor Certifications
  • Investment-based (E-1, E-2) visas and (EB-5) green cards;
  • F-1, J-1 and M-1 Student Visas and Exchange Visitor Visas
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), “T” (Victims of Trafficking) visas and “U” (Victims of Crime) visas and Law Enforcement Certifications
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJS) matters, including proceedings in dependency court
  • Family-based immigrant visa petitions and family-based adjustment of status
  • Fiancé Visas (K-1) and Spousal (K-3) Visas
  • Immigration through Adoption
  • SB-1 Returning Resident Visas
  • U.S. Naturalization, Derivative U.S. Citizenship, Adult Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship and Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA)
  • Denaturalization proceedings in federal court

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 has 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.

» Kristy Figueroa-Contreras can answer your questions about U.S. immigration and other related issues:

  • General US immigration practice and new immigration procedures, legalizations, apostille, certifications.
  • U.S. Visa Questions including Work visas, Business, and Tourist visas, TN Work visas, U.S. Education, Business, and Investment.
  • U.S. Citizenship, Naturalization and Passport Questions, including people born abroad and consular issues.
  • Immigration Questions including Family-Based Permanent Residency Green Card, remove conditions, green card update or renewal, Asylum, and VAWA.
  • Feel free to submit questions in English, Spanish or Portuguese.

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Miami, Florida
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