Social Group for Asylum Purposes

The definition of Social Group has been evolving for a long time now. This undefined term in Immigration has evolved over the time, but now The Advocate General is narrowing the interpretation of the Social Group. The first victim became the “victims of domestic abuse”.

The definition of a “social group,”  for asylum purposes (and withholding of removal purposes) is in flux because of circuit splits and changes in BIA precedent, but in our circuit it has been primed for explanation.

Asylum, a discretionary relief from removal, and withholding of removal, a mandatory ground of relief, both require, to varying degrees of proof, a showing of a fear of harm “on account of” one of the categories enumerated in the Immigration and Naturalization Act (“Act”) along with a government that is not able or willing to control the  persecution.  8 U.S.C. §§ 1158(a), 1101(a)(42)(A); Lopez-Soto v. Ashcroft, 383 F.3d 228, 234 (4th Cir., 2004) .  One such ground, that of the “social group”, which is not defined in the Act, has been defined by the executive branch and the Article III Courts.  Matter of Acosta, 19 I&N Dec. 211, 233 (I & N, 1985).

In 1980 Congress modified the Act to provide asylum on various grounds: including that of persecution with a nexus to a  “social group.”  United States Refugee Act of 1980, Public Law 96-212, 96 Stat 102.  The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA” or “Board”) took to defining the term “social group.”  Matter of Acosta, 19 I&N Dec. 211, 233 (I & N, 1985).  In Matter of Acosta, the Board made clear that, because a “social group,” was listed near other immutable characteristics in the Act, such as race or political opinion, the doctrine of ejusdem generis, mandated that to be a “social group”, the characteristic of a approved “social group” must also be immutable or one policy would not ask a person to change to avoid persecution.

After Matter of Acosta, the Board approved several social groups and also disapproved of others, based upon the definition it had given in Matter of AcostaValdiviezo-Galdamez v. Attorney Gen. of the United States, 663 F.3d 582, 595-96 (3rd Cir, 2011) (citing e.g., Matter of Fuentes, 19 I. & N. Dec. 658 (BIA 1988) (former police officers of El Salvador); Matter of Toboso–Alfonso, 20 I. & N. Dec. 819 (BIA 1990) (homosexuals in Cuba); In re H-, 21 I. & N. Dec. 337 (BIA 1996) (familial sub-clan in Somalia); In re FauziyaKasinga, 21 I. & N. Dec. 357 (BIA 1996) (females in the Tchamba–Kunsunto Tribe not yet subjected to female genital manipulation)).

Later the Board, added at least two more requirements to meet the requirements under the act: “particularity” and “social visibility” or “social distinction.”  See Matter of C-A-, 23 I&N Dec. 951, 951 & 959-61 (BIA 2006) (expanding criteria for “social group” and denying asylum to drug informants).  Some circuits met the definition changes with approval. Barrientos v. Holder, 666 F.3d 641, 650 & 652 (10th Cir., 2012) (upholding both requirements);Tay–Chan v. Holder, 699 F.3d 107, 111-12 (1st Cir., 2012) (upholding “social visibility and tacitly upholding “particularity”); Ucelo-Gomez v. Mukasey, 509 F.3d 70, 73 (2nd Cir., 2007) (upholding both requirements); Gaitan v. Holder, 671 F.3d 678, 681 (8th Cir., 2012); Umaña-Ramos v. Holder, 724 F.3d 667, 671 (6th Cir. 2013) (upholding both requirements); Orellana–Monson v. Holder, 685 F.3d 511, 520 (5th. Cir., 2012) (upholding both requirements); Castillo-Arias v. U.S. Atty. Gen., 446 F.3d 1190, 1198 (11th Cir., 2006) (upholding “social visibility and tacitly upholding both requirements).

Other circuits have met the changes with disapproval or only partial approval.  Valdiviezo-Galdamez v. Att’y Gen. of U.S.,663 F.3d 582, 603-09 (3rd Cir. 2011) (disapproving of both requirements);  Gatimi v. Holder, 578 F.3d 611, 615-16 (7th Cir., 2009) (disapproving of  the “social visibility” requirement).

Finally, at least one circuit has declined to decide at all. Pirir-Boc v. Holder, Slip op. p 15, (9th Cir., 2014) (noting that the definition of “social group” is “in flux”).

Even those that disapproved recognized the need to afford the Board’s definition with the deference it is owed as an agency interpreting a statute it has been grated authority to interpret.  See e.g. Valdiviezo-Galdamez,663 F.3d at 603-09;  Gatimi, 578 F.3d at 615-16 (7th Cir., 2009) (citing Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 467 U.S. 837 (1984)), See also INS v. Cardoza–Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 445–50 (1987) (applying Chevron deference to the Board of Immigration Appeals’ interpretations of statues.).

However, the circuits that disapproved have noted that they do not need to give deference when they find the Board’s new definitions incompatible with older Board definitions, and have therefore rejected the new requirements of “particularity” and “social visibility” as being incompatible with Acosta and the intent of the Act.  See e.g.  Valdiviezo-Galdamez,663 F.3d at 603-09; Gatimi, 578 F.3d at 615-16, See also Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 446 n. 30 (1987) (less deference owed to BIA when it contradicts long held positions).  Other criticisms of have been that the new requirements do not fit with the intent of the international agreements on asylum, which the statute was meant to execute. See In re W-G-R 26 I&N Dec 208, 220 (BIA 2014) (acknowledging disparity between the guidelines used by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in determining a “social group” under the international agreements and the BIA’s understanding of “social group” after Matter of C-A-).

Notably, as important in this case and to this Court, the fourth circuit has approved of the particularity requirement while expressly reserving on the “social visibility” requirement. Lizama v. Holder, 629 F.3d 440, 447 & FN 4 (4th Cir., 2011); Zelaya v. Holder, 668 F.3d 159, FN 4 (4th Cir., 2012).

However, even if this “social visibility” requirement is later adopted by the fourth circuit (or the Supreme Court), it is still not clear exactly what this social visibility requirement will mean.  In Matter of C-A-, for example, when denying asylum based on a proposed social group of “drug informants” the Board emphasized the importance of ocular (or physical visibility) in defining “social visibility.” Matter of C-A-, 23 I&N Dec. at 960-61.  Oddly however, when faced with a later gang case, the Board retreated and re-framed “social visibility” as “social distinction,” a matter of psycho-social visibility in the country at large rather than physical visibility.  In re M-E-V-G 26 I&N Dec. 227, 246-47 (BIA 2014) (expressly invalidating ocular visibility and re-framing the idea as social “distinction.”    Furthermore, this “social distinction” must now be a distinction from the society at large, not simply the persecutor’s perception. Id. at 243.

Of course, given the fourth circuit’s recent skepticism with the Board’s holdings on social groups, respondent takes the position that, at the very least, “social visibility” is not required in this circuit, and certainly not “visibility” as newly defined by the Board.  See Crespin–valladares v. Holder, 632 F.3d 117, 125-26 (4th Cir., 2011); Cordova v. Holder, Slip Op. p. 12-16 (4th Cir., 2014); Martinez v. Holder,Slip op. p 21 and N. 4 (4th Cir. 2014)[1].  Given this tension, it is more likely than ever that “social groups” in the fourth circuit are primed for broadening.

  1. Gang related social groups in asylum/withholding of removal in the BIA and the Fourth Circuit show the fourth circuit’s positive attitude to gang related asylum claims is in tension with the Board’s attitude.

Since adding the “social viability” and “particularity” requirements to the definition of “social group” under the act, the Board (and the courts) has had several opportunities to further clarify those requirements, and to specifically apply them to gang based asylum claims.

Examples of claims based on gang related activity might include current gang members fearing violence from rival gangs, former gang members who fear persecution as retaliation for leaving a gang, family members of current or former gang members fearing violence from rival gangs, those who have refused gang recruitment, those who have become essential witnesses for prosecutions against gang related criminal activity and who fear retaliation, as well as family members of those potential witnesses.

The Boardhas held that people who are merely resistant to gang recruitment lack the necessary “social visibility” to be a cognizable “social group” under the Act as they were not, (under the record the Board had reviewing the case), perceived by society at large to be a distinct group. Matter of E-A-G-, 24 I&N Dec. 591, 594 (I & N, 2008).  The Board similarly rejected those whose families had refused gang membership as failing the “particularity” and the “social visibility” requirements.  Matter of S-E-G24 I&N Dec. 579, 585-88 (I & N, 2008); Matter of M-E-V-G, 26 I&N Dec. 227, 249-51 (2014).  Finally, the Board has, through similar logic, rejected those who were prior gang members fearing retaliation as not being part of a social group.    In re W-G-R-, 26 I&N Dec. 208, 221-23 (I & N, 2014).

Despite these holdings, the Fourth Circuit has distinguished the group of “family members of those who testify against rival gang members” from “those who merely testify against gang members.”  Compare Zelaya v. Holder, 668 F.3d 159, 166 (4th Cir., 2012), (witnesses against gangs)with Crespin–valladares v. Holder, 632 F.3d 117, 125-26 (4th Cir., 2011) (family members of witnesses against gangs).Noting that the former category is largely more “socially visible” than the latter, and that groups based upon family ties have high levels of social visibility, the fourth circuit vacated a BIA denial of asylum based on a social group for those who are family members of people testifying against gang members.  Crespin–valladares, 632 F.3d at 125-26.  The Fourth Circuit also criticized the Board’s opinion that family members of witnesses against gang members are somehow not “particular”-citing precedent that family ties are highly “particular.” Id.

Similarly, when family members who have been part of rival gangs have been persecuted, the Fourth Circuit has indicated it may recognize the group of their family members as a “social group”, and vacated a BIA holding otherwise.  Cordova v. Holder, Slip Op. p. 12-16 (4th Cir., 2014). Finally, in a recent case, the Fourth Circuit, while only expressly finding that prior gang members meet the Acosta “immutability” requirements-strongly hinted in dicta that the fourth circuit was still open to the “former gang member” social group.  Martinez v. Holder, Slip op. p 21 and N. 4

Thus, at least where family members of those targeted by gangs are concerned, (and possibly as to actual former gang members as well), the fourth circuit has been not shy in overruling the BIA to allow asylum claims based on a “social group.”

The tension the Fourth Circuit has held with the BIA over gang based claims, especially over family based claims, shows that whatever the outcome of the definition war over “socail group” the Fourth Circuit will want gang based claims to win in many circumstances.

III. Respondent likely qualifies for asylum or withholding of removal.

Undersigned expects that the respondent will be highly credible, and that the Court will not doubt the conditions in Guatemala and the government’s inability to control the situation there. It is also expected that the Court will find respondents fear is due to threats from the gangs towards her daughter.

The factual predicate in this case therefore, sets up respondent for at least one social group tacitly approved by the fourth circuit: that of family members of those already the targets of gangs.  Martinez v. Holder, Slip op. p 21 and N. 4.  If there is testimony about her family witnessing violence, she is also likely to fit into the 4th Circuit approved group of family members of gang violence witnesses.  Crespin–valladares, 632 F.3d at 125-26.

When it is time to expand the definition of the Social Group, the Advocate General has decided to narrow its scope.

Contact Wani and Associates P.C. for Social Group for Asylum Purposes.We provide our services throughout Virginia & Maryland.

8229 Boone Blvd, Suite 210
Vienna, VA 22182
(T): 703-556-6626

8020 New Hampshire Avenue #108
Langley Park, MD 20783
(T): 301-434-1666

Why should you Hire an Immigration Attorney?

Immigration Laws are the pathways that guide you about the terms and conditions that you should follow to be the citizens of the U.S. But the U.S. immigration law is very complex and it is always advisable to render the services of an eminent and professional immigration attorney to go through this complicated yet necessary process successfully. An acknowledged attorney can assist you in several ways including the following:

  •          An immigration attorney provides you guidance and counselling regarding visa applications, green card, citizenship, naturalization, deportation issues etc.
  •          If required, they would also act as mediators between the clients and immigration authorities like USCIS.
  •          Immigration lawyers also help you to submit application if you ever have been convicted of a crime.
  •          They assist to appeal for denied applications and also counsels you about re-applying and reasons of denial.
  •          An immigration lawyer can help you to file the application, if you are denied of entering U.S. because of a medical situation or condition.
  •          They can even help to accelerate your processing  in case of unduly delays; as they are well aware about the deadlines and waiting time involved in the process
  •          They help you in filing employment based visas and as well make sure that your employers are fulfilling their obligations
  •          Immigration lawyer prove highly supportive if you file visa on marriage basis and your marriage terminates before the conditions are removed from your permanent resident status. They help to prove that your marriage was not a fraud.
  •            Immigration lawyer also help you if your children reach the age of 21 before the permanent resident status is granted; as the immigration rules differ for children below and above the age of 21.
  •          Attorneys also help you with the additional documentation and paperwork asked by USCIS, in order to eliminate delays.
  •          They assist you with your citizenship tests and also help you to attain immediate access to citizenship, in case of an emergency.
  •          Immigration laws change often and immigration lawyers keep updated with those changes and see to it that you are filing according to the new validated rules
  •          If required, they also represent you in front of the appropriate government agencies.
  •          They also suggest you alternate ways to file your application because if you are denied on one basis; can find the approval according to another criterion.
  •          They also assist you with changing your immigration status.

Contact Wani and Associates P.C. for any of your immigration visa related needs and issues. Our acknowledged attorneys with their relentless service and efforts will help to resolve your immigration related issues and save your application from rejection. 

Essentials for Filing Bankruptcy

Which Factors should you Consider while Filing Bankruptcy?


Bankruptcy Attorney

Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing bankruptcy is like pressing the financial restart button as it enables the debtors to start afresh and resolves their major financial problems. But you consider filing Bankruptcy only when your debts become unmanageable, your expenses exceed your income and you are threatened with wage garnishment, foreclosure or repossession. Also it is very crucial to choose the right time to file bankruptcy as you can not file another bankruptcy easily.

Below mentioned are the factors that you should consider when filing bankruptcy:

  • Types of Bankruptcy: Before filing bankruptcy you should discuss with your attorney that your circumstances are in accordance with which type of bankruptcy chapter and should file accordingly. There are two main types of bankruptcy. ; Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Under Chapter 7, all the debts are discharged or cancelled but Under Chapter 13, debtor has to repay the whole or parts of debts over three or five years.
  • Varying Eligibility: Every State has its own set of rules or standards regarding your asset custody, income and expense limits to define whether you can file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Attorney’s fees and filing fees also vary from state to state.
  • Possession of Assets: Bankruptcy does not bereft you of all of you belongings or possessions. You can retain your personal property like; electronics, household furnishing and exempted articles. But retaining of larger assets like; your home or car again depends upon your state laws, type of bankruptcy and your finances.
  • Cost of Filing Bankruptcy: Cost included depends upon your attorney and your location as well. But with Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can also include your bankruptcy filing costs in plan and pay them over three to five years. Initial consultations are usually free.
  • Credit Counseling Classes: It is mandatory to receive credit counseling classes from an approved non-profit budget and credit counseling agency, 180 days before filing a bankruptcy.
  • Search out your Creditors: Go to to search out a whole list of creditors you owe to, as you need to add all the creditors on bankruptcy filing.

 Which are the debts that can not be discharged or cancelled under Bankruptcy?

  • Debts owed over $500.00 for luxury goods, purchased within 90 days of filing for bankruptcy
  • Any cash advances of $750.00 or more taken on credit card within 70 days of filing bankruptcy
  • Any Federal, State and Local income taxes that are due since last three years
  • Any Student loan that is due since last 7 years
  • Child support and alimony payments ordered by court, along with other divorce related debts
  •  Any court ordered fines and criminal restitutions
  • Any debt for death or personal injury cases caused while driving intoxicated
  • Debts that are not enlisted on Bankruptcy Petition
  • Any debts that arose after you  filed for bankruptcy
  • Any ‘Reaffirm Debt’ i.e. you have an agreement with the creditor that you will repay the debt, despite of including it on your Bankruptcy list.

What is your Do’s and Don’ts list for filing Bankruptcy?

  • Ensure that you have  submitted all the required paperwork and forms to your attorney on or before the requested date
  • Fill out all the required information and include all the necessary schedules and forms. If you submit incomplete documents; Bankruptcy Court may dismiss or deny your case or you have to file additional paperwork or pay more fees for that
  • Comply with all  the requests and requirement made by court, if you have any queries consult  your attorney immediately
  • Never make an attempt to hide or provide any inaccurate information about your assets, transactions, debts, income and expenses and financial history. Any fake or false information can subject you to 5 years in-prison and/or $ 500,000.00 fine
  • Never damage or hide any property within or after 1 year of filing bankruptcy to intentionally defraud your creditor as you would be subjected to above said penalties
  • Do not make false statements to court or attorney
  • Do not run after the ads that boast of or commit to cut off your debts for free or at lower prices, as these are frauds or scams and would land you in more debts than before                                                                                       

Contact Wani and Associates, P.C.

If your debts have become unmanageable and you are considering to file Bankruptcy, our expert and compassionate Bankruptcy attorneys can assist you to overcome your financial crisis and to make strategic decisions. Contact Wani and Associates, P.C. to get immediate relief and protection and reset your financial course of action.

Why Choose Wani & Associates for your Bankruptcy Case

Because we will have in person consultation with you. We will discuss your case with and then you make an informed decision whether bankruptcy is a good option for you. And the best thing is you are not paying us  fee until you actually decide to file for the bankruptcy. To make an informed decision we will do the following:

Bankruptcy Attorney: $499 TO START BANKRUPTCY

Bankruptcy Attorney: $499 TO START BANKRUPTCY

  • We will go over your budget, to see what your actual expenses are.
  • We will also go over your current monthly income and statutory allowable expenses as those terms are explained below, to set up the means test, should you decide to file for bankruptcy.
  • We will go over your debts, to see how much you owe, and to whom.
  • We will advise you of your rights and duties.
  • We will explain the differences between secured claims, priority claims, and unsecured claims without priority.
  • We will tell you what debts are not forgiven (discharged) in a bankruptcy, if you decide to file.
  • We will give you a copy of this document, which contains disclosures that are required by federal law.
  • We will tell you your options.
    • You could do nothing. If you do nothing, your present (presumably unpleasant) situation will persist, then deteriorate, as creditors, one-by-one, file suit against you, and seek to grab your assets.
    • You could make one-on-one deals with your creditors. In this scenario you could be treated fairly, but remember that “fairness” is subjective term.
    • You could enter into a program where you pay the counselor or some other agency so much a month, and the agency will parcel that out to your creditors. This is called a “debt management plan.” Often there is a deal made by the agency to reduce your finance charges. Also, there is often a side deal between the agency and the credit card companies that lets the agency keep a portion of what you pay.
    • You could file bankruptcy. If you decide to file for bankruptcy we will ask you some documents, like your tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements and unpaid bills.
    • We will arrange for your counseling. You are required to have two counseling classes, one before filing and one after filing.
    • You can do your counseling by telephone.
    • You can do your counseling on-line, over the internet in our office or at your home.


            You must use a counseling agency that is a non-profit agency approved by the Department of Justice, and you must do it before you are eligible to file any kind of case in bankruptcy. This is sometimes called the “gatekeeper” provision in the new bankruptcy law, the idea is to give you an impartial “second opinion” on what to do. We are not impartial. We are on your side. You must pay a fee for the counseling, if you can afford it. Only the very poor, those with severe medical problems or those on military duty will be excused from paying for the counseling.

Here is what to anticipate from counseling.

  1. The counselor will go over your budget, as we have already done.
  2. The counselor will go over your debts, as we have already done.
  3. The counselor will tell you there are several options, as we have already done. Among the most likely of these are the following:

 You could do nothing. If you do nothing, your present (presumably unpleasant) situation will persist, then deteriorate, as creditors, one-by-one, file suit against you, and seek to grab your assets.

  1. You could make one-on-one deals with your creditors. In this scenario you could be treated fairly, but remember that “fairness” is subjective term.
  2. You could enter into a program where you pay the counselor or some other agency so much a month, and the agency will parcel that out to your creditors. This is called a “debt management plan.” Often there is a deal made by the agency to reduce your finance charges. Also, there is often a side deal between the agency and the credit card companies that lets the agency keep a portion of what you pay.
  3. You could file bankruptcy. For purposes of this document, we will assume that you decide on a bankruptcy.
  4. Presumably, that brings you back to us.


There are income guidelines for the filing of chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is more than the guidelines, you may not be eligible for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Means testing is a two part calculation with several steps to each part that determines if you can be made to pay something to creditors. Here is the means test in a nutshell.

  • If your household income is OVER the median for your state; and
  • If after an elaborate calculation using IRS standards for living expenses;
  • You have $117 a month left over, then
  • There is substantial pressure under the statute for you to file CHAPTER 13

 The idea behind the means test is to see if you can actually afford to pay back some of the debt, even though you feel overwhelmed your current situation.

Here is the means test in detail.

  1. You give us your pay stubs for the last six months. If you cannot find them all, we will have to reconstruct them. You tell us what other revenue is coming into your home for the same time period. Exclude social security. We divide this by 6. The statute calls this your “Current Monthly Income.”
  2. If your Current Monthly Income is less than the MEDIAN INCOME for your state, and the size of your family, the means test is over, and you can go ahead with a chapter 7 filing, if you want, and if you are otherwise eligible.

If your income is ABOVE the MEDIAN, we go on to the rest of the test. Here is the rest of the means test.

  1. Subtract your expanses from your Current Monthly Income. You do not use your costs. You must use “Standard Expenses” developed by the IRS to help in collecting back taxes. As you can imagine, these standards are not particularly consumer friendly. We subtract the following.

        i.            National Standards for food, clothing, housekeeping, and personal care.

      ii.            Regional / Local Standards for transportation.

 The transportation standards were set when gasoline was about $1 less per gallon than on the effective date of the new law. We may be able to justify an upward adjustment. If your car payments put you over the allowance, you can make an upward adjustment, if you intend to keep the car(s).

     iii.            Local standards (by county) for housing and utility.

    iv.            You can probably justify an increase in any of these with proper proof.

      v.            You are also authorized to deduct certain specified items from your Current Monthly Income.

a)      Private School, with a limit of $1,650 per child per year;

b)      Actual elder-care expenses for a disabled or elderly family member.

  • We pull your credit report and go through it with you.
  • After the petition is prepared we go through it with you and make any changes/correction you may want to.
  • After you sign the petition we file it electronically. Filing of case puts and automatic stay on all your debts, means your creditors can’t approach you for payment of debts.
  • If you have secured property you may want to keep, you should continue to make the payments unless you want to surrender that property.
  • You have a trustee’s meeting after 30 days of filing the petition. We represent you in the trustee’s meeting.
  • If everything goes fine and you have no assets, you may get your discharge 60 days after the trustee’s meeting.

EB-5 Investor Visa

Green Card Through Investment or Investor Visa

 What do we mean by Green Card?

Green Card, officially known as United States Permanent Resident Card (USCIS Form I-551), is verification or identification card and as well is a lawful proof of permanent resident status of an alien in the U.S. It attests the fact that its holder, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) has officially been provided with immigration benefits including; permission to work and reside in U.S. It is mandatory for all the United States’ lawful permanent residents to carry their physical green card itself all the times.

Green Card can be acquired through different means or ways:

What is Green Card through investment or Investor Visa (EB-5)?

EB-5 or officially referred as Immigrant Investor Program was created by Congress in 1990, to restore and revive American economy through job creation and as well through capital investment by foreign investors. It also provides the investors with the freedom to choose or take any job, run any business and to live and retire anywhere in America.

What are the eligibility criteria for Investor Visa (EB-5)?

  • You must invest $1000,000 or at least $ 500,000 in United States’ commercial enterprise or in Targeted Employment Area (TEA)
  • You must have the plan to create 10 permanent full time jobs for the qualified United States’ workers (excluding the investors and their immediate families)
  • You have an approved Form I- 526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
  • You are admissible to U.S.
  • The money you invest must be lawfully obtained
  • You must actively participate in the business either in managerial or policy forming role.
  • You must invest in new commercial enterprise either by creating new original business, buying a business established after Nov. 29, 1990 or buying a business and restructure or reorganize it.

 Once the foreign investor’s petition is approved, the investor and his dependents will be provided with conditional permanent residence for two years.

What are the potential benefits of EB-5 Green Card?

Green Card through Investment provides you multiple benefits including:

  • You can choose to invest and live anywhere in U.S.
  • Approximately after first 3 years, you are free to work for any other company or may not work at all.
  • Your spouse and children under 18 automatically get Green Card as accompanying relatives.
  • One investment can secure Green Card for whole of the family.
  • You can take or run any business.
  • Person of any nationality can apply.
  • No specific language is required.
  • Enjoy same privileges as U.S. citizens viz.
  1. Free public School Education
  2. Similar University fees
  3. Access Medicare after five years
  • Citizenship after five years

What are the basic requirements or supporting evidences needed for Form I-485?

You need below mentioned supporting evidences to apply for EB-5:

  • Two passport style photos
  • Form G-325A, Biographic information, if you are between 14 to 79 years of age.
  • Copy of photo identification issued by the government
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificates
  • Copy of passport pages
  • Detailed documentation for the source of funds
  • Form I-94, Arrival / Departure record (if applicable)
  • Certified copies of Court record (if any)
  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination
  • Applicable Fees
  • The Approval notice for Form I-526 (FormI-797)

Contact Wani and Associates P.C.

Contact Wani and Associates P.C. for high quality immigration lawyer services for Investor Visa. EB-5 category is one of the most difficult and expensive categories in terms of gaining eligibility. Our diligent attorneys through their experience and intelligence will guide you through this complicated process and help you to establish your eligibility for EB-5 visa. 

How to Hire a Family Law Attorney?

Family Law Attorney

Family Law Attorneys are those who handle and practice in legal matters related to familial issues like marriage, adoption, child custody, foster care, divorce and guardianship of minor children, adults with special needs or the elderly people. Certain family law attorneys pursue in a specific niche while others offer a wide range of services.

 Why is it beneficial to hire a Family Law attorney?

Hiring a competent family law attorney can bestow you with huge benefits involving:

  • It heightens your chance of being successful in case of specific family issues like; child custody, spousal support, domestic violence, divorce, child abuse and many more.
  • Family laws are very strict and different for every state in US. Only an experienced and educated family law attorney can guide you through all these complex legal procedures.
  • It eliminates the chances of any complicated legal problems in the near future.
  • Legal services of a skilled lawyer can help you to avoid the mistakes those are likely to be made due to incomprehensible legalese (legal language).

 What are the qualities of a competent Family Law attorney?

  • He must be specialized in the State family law; as the guidelines of family law differs from state to state.
  • He must have experience in handling family law issues; only then he can understand what are their client’s urgencies and needs.
  • An experienced attorney is able to assess the pos and cons of each situation and thus take right steps or make right moves to overcome the possible hurdles.
  • A skilled attorney should be well acknowledged about the paper work involved and as well the negotiation process involved in the procedure.
  • He should keep you well informed about the visitation schedules and time agreements as well.
  •  A competent attorney should be objective in giving his opinion; only then he can work for the best interest of his clients.
  • Try to go for the attorney, who has cordial staff; as most of the time you will be working with attorney’s assistants or paralegals in case of returning your calls and preparing your pleadings.
  • A skilled family law attorney should be board certified. As to get certified, they need to go through extensive trials and rigorous tests which in turn also enhance their knowledge and experience as well.
  • Always go for the attorney who seems reliable and dependable; as you have share highly confidential and personal information with him.
  • It always works the best if you hire the attorney who is located in the county where you or the other party is going to file. As it would be very beneficial for you and your attorney as well if he is familiar with the judges, court staff and other attorneys involved in the case.
  • Go for the attorney who provides you with the copies of all the correspondence received and sent related to you case.
  • He should have sufficient courtroom experience, so that he can adept his legal strategies and style accordingly.
  • He should be qualified to provide necessary counsel whenever and wherever required.

 How to locate a good Family Law attorney?

  • Search websites offering directories of attorneys like; LawInfo, FindLaw,
  • Look for attorneys’ ads’ in local yellow pages.
  • Locate for legal referrals in American Bar Association Org.
  • Consult multiple lawyers before selecting the one to deal your case.
  • Check online reviews about attorneys on sites like; Awo, FindLaw, Martindale Hubble, Yahoo Local.

 How much will a family law attorney charge?

  • For one time events like name change or pre-nuptial agreement, attorney may charge flat fee.
  • Cases which require extensive hours of research and multiple court appearances are billed hourly.
  • Make enquiries about what an attorney would charge for the services of his secretary or paralegals.

Contact Wani and Associates,  for expert legal advice. Our well acknowledged attorneys are always at you beck and call to help you out of any of the adverse situation.


How to hire USA Investor Visa Attorney?

Investor Visa armors the foreign investors with Green card i.e. it provides the alien investors along with their partners and children under 21, the opportunity to be the lawful permanent residents of USA.

Investor Visa Attorney in VA | DC | MD

Investor Visa Attorney in VA | DC | MD

The investors become permanent US residents after holding the green card for five consecutive years. Obtaining US investor visa is a very perilous task and it is always recommended to hire a credible investor visa attorney very perilous task and it is always recommended to hire a credible investor visa attorney, who is experienced and efficient to handle the case and as well acknowledged about each and every detail and step involved in the application process. Obtaining US investor visa requires, your diligence and intelligence and experience on your lawyer’s part. So before hiring an investor visa attorney, look up for below listed details:

  • Contacting AILA (American Immigration Law Association) can be proved highly beneficial for locating a credible investor visa attorney. It is national bar association having over 7,500 attorneys practicing immigration law practice only. To approach an attorney through AILA, you may visit their website, call or email them. They will not only provide you with the best attorney within your area but also according to your specific requirements.
  • Visit ABA’s (American Bar Association) website. ABA is a national bar association with more than 400,000 attorneys, practicing in different law fields. This website provides you general information regarding US legal system and will also help you hire an attorney accordingly.
  • USCIS(United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) website may also be very beneficial and helpful to you in locating an investor visa attorney, as this website is linked up with various external resources and provides you the access to the same.
  • Consider whether the attorney primarily and promptly practices and has mastered  immigration law i.e. he must be an expert in US Immigration and Nationality law and should be well versed in all the nuances and complexities related to it.
  • Determine whether the attorney whom you want to hire  can make complex terms and conditions of investor visa application clear to you. In other words, filing for investor visa requires lot of paper work and most of the terms and conditions mentioned in the papers are in legal language that are not comprehensible to an average person. Only a diligent attorney can make and relay these terms clearly to an applicant and can judge whether or not an applicant is eligible to apply for the investor visa and if he is, then what steps should be taken to file his visa application.
  • Probe, whether he can regularly update you regarding your legal progress through either through mailing or by contacting you directly.
  • Every applicant has his own specific conditions and requirements to apply for investor visa i.e. every investor visa case is unique and exclusive in itself. So go for the attorney who can cater to your specific requirements and needs.
  • Make sure whether the fees charged by the attorney is in compliance with your geographical location and immigration matter. These two factors play vital role in discerning the fees of an attorney. Make inquiries about his initial consultation fees; if there is any, how much does he charge?
  • Also consider whether the attorney charges flat rate or hourly rate and if he charges flat rate, whether the miscellaneous items like mailing, copies are included or excluded and also if it incorporates the appeal for a pre-denied petition.
  • As USA immigration law is ever changing and complex, it is always wise and recommended to choose an attorney who is abreast with regular changes made in the law and always stays on top of those changes and counsels you accordingly.

US immigration law is intricate and changes constantly, so contact Wani and Associates P.C. law firm that provides you with the top notch legal counsel, services and representations. Our compassionate and experienced Investor law attorneys recognize and realize the complexities included within the process and thus provides you with the sound and best legal advice and representation.

VA Bankruptcy Lawyer‎: How To Hire Bankruptcy Attorney

Things to Think about before Hiring a Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are accruing unmanageable debt, facing a financial crisis, and are being harassed from your creditors and collectors with no way to avoid the multitude of collection calls and letters, it is the time to consider filing for bankruptcy. The process of filing for bankruptcy is a demanding and complex legal process which requires the expertise of an experienced and well qualified bankruptcy attorney.

Hiring the services of a professional bankruptcy attorney requires considerable planning and diligence on the part of the bankruptcy debtor (you). Furthermore, the following essential points should also be taken into account:

1)Do not procrastinate on your plan to alleviate your financial crisis. If you contemplate

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your plan to file for bankruptcy, your property or regular income may be subject to garnishment. In such a case, your attorney will not be able to reclaim lost income seized prior to filing for bankruptcy.

2)Be forthcoming with your attorney. Asking for your attorney’s advice and the strategy the attorney has developed will inform you of the bankruptcy process and the likely outcome concerning discharges of your debts. Ensure your attorney is well versed in his knowledge of the bankruptcy process. Bankruptcy is a unique and multifaceted legal field and requires professional knowledge of bankruptcy practice. The best places to research potential attorneys is through the local and state bar association, and additional legal practice groups.

3)Make sure you are confident about the legal expertise and experience of the attorney you are considering employing. This is an important decision and, as the debtor, you must make certain you are actively involved in the bankruptcy proceedings and certain your attorney is capable of successfully managing your financial concerns.

4)Use the Internet, newspapers and other media forums to contact a reliable attorney who can efficiently manage your situation and cater to your specific needs. Seek websites listing bankruptcy attorneys and their ratings. After reviewing bankruptcy attorneys, consider visiting their law firm websites for further details concerning the attorney’s experience and practice locations.

5)Seek reputed attorney’s who provide free consultation. This will allow you to explain your financial situation and receive free legal advice as to how the attorney will proceed with your case. An experienced attorney may have other options aside from filing for bankruptcy. A free consultation will not only allow you to explain your unique and individual situation but also enable you to choose the best in bankruptcy attorney.
6)Once you have selected the attorney whom you want to represent you, go for an interview with the attorney. This interview will help you to determine whether you can work well with attorney and the firm employing him. You can probe the attorney and other legal professionals at the firm the following details:

•Number of bankruptcy filings they normally undertake in a month or year,
•Number of consumer or personal bankruptcy filings
•If attorney himself is not handling the case, with whom would you work then
•Meeting that person in charge of your filing
•About the procedure

This interview process will help you to not only to evaluate your attorney’s competence but also the level of knowledge of his clerks or paralegals who may be handling aspects of your case. Carefully consider the responses to your questions during the interview before deciding about employing an attorney. Always choose an attorney according to your personal requirements and obligations.

7)Consider the business relationship between you and your attorney, so that no stone is left unturned when filing of your bankruptcy petition. Also, once you have hired an attorney consult with the attorney during the bankruptcy process so you will be fully informed of the status of your case.

8)Any bankruptcy attorney you hire should be highly verse in the bankruptcy procedures and processes, including petition preparation and 341 Creditor meetings. Ensure you are accurately conveying essential information about personal details and financial records.

9)Verify the fee structure and specifics of filing your bankruptcy case. Your local bar association can help determine whether the fee charged is fair and in line with the defined local fee structure. Also inquire as to any additional costs you may be required to pay aside from the attorney’s feed.

10) Above all, remain active and involved in your case, and do not leave everything on your attorney. Respond promptly to your attorney’s request for financial documents and other issues concerning your case. This proactive approach will allow your attorney to zealously and meticulously process your case and ensure your bankruptcy proceedings go smoothly.
If your debts are overwhelming you, and other relief measures are not helping, an experienced and professional bankruptcy attorney from Wani & Associates can help you eliminate your debts and repair your credit rating. Contact Wani & Associates, P.C. for expert debt advice and skilled legal assistance to explore how filing for bankruptcy can eliminate your debts and provide you with a fresh start in your financial affairs.


Information of Close Family Members of Citizens or Permanent Resident

Categories of Other Close Family Members of the Citizen:

Other groups of family members of citizens or permanent resident aliens can qualify to immigrate to the United States, but are not considered as “preferred” as immediate relatives of citizens. As such, these aliens are subject to a numerically-limited number of immigrant visas available to them each year. Since only a limited number of visas are available, Congress has divided these groups into “preference” categories, ranking them in the order in which they are preferred for immigration. The higher the preference, the more quickly a visa will be allotted to the alien.

Permanent Resident

The following categories are those to which Congress has given this preference:

  1. Unmarried sons and daughters of citizens
  2. Spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent resident aliens
  3. Married sons and daughters of citizens
  4. Brothers and sisters of citizens

1.    Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (Family First Preference)

The first family-sponsored preference is set aside for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, the same as the old first preference. This preference is assigned 23,400 annual visas, plus any visas not used by the fourth family-sponsored preference. This group does not qualify as immediate relatives because the sons and daughters are 21 years of age or older. The sons and daughters must have qualified as “children” of the citizens when they were under 21. The rules for determining whether a son or daughter was a “child,” a strictly defined term under the immigration law.

  • The spouse and minor children of first preference immigrants can immigrate with them. The spouse and children of the principal alien are entitled to derivative classification and they are charged against the visa allotment for the same preference as the principal alien. A separate petition is not required.
  • There is a waiting list for visas to immigrate in this category, regardless of the aliens country. First preference immigrants should expect to wait at least three years to complete the green card process. For certain nationalities, the wait is longer.

2.    Spouses and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents (Family Second Preference)

The second family-sponsored preference is set aside for two groups: preference 2A includes spouses and minor children-the immediate family members-of permanent residents, and preference 2B includes unmarried adult sons and daughters of residents. The entire preference category is allotted a minimum of 114,200 annual visas. Any visas unused by the first family-sponsored preference will go to the second family-sponsored preference. Seventy-seven percent of the annual visas goes to the 2A subpreference, and the other 2B goes to the 2B subpreference.

The sons and daughters of residents must either presently qualify as “children” as that term is strictly defined in the immigration law, or have qualified as children when they were under 21 years of age.

Note the following additional points:

  • The spouse and minor children of second preference immigrants can immigrate with them.
  • Spouses of permanent residents whose marriage was created within two years prior to the grant of permanent residence are given residence on a conditional basis.
  • There is a waiting list for visas to immigrate in this category, regardless of the alien’s country. Spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents (the family 2A second preference category) should expect to wait at least five years to complete the green card process.
  • Certain spouses and minor children of permanent residents with pending permanent residence papers may be eligible for non-immigrant benefits under legislation enacted in 2000.

3.    Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens (Family Third Preference)

The  third  family-sponsored  preference  is  set  aside  for  married  sons  and daughters  of U.S. citizens. The preference is allotted 23,400 annual immigrant visas. Any unused visas from the first and second family-sponsored preferences are also assigned to this category. This group does not qualify as immediate relatives because the sons and daughters are married (and some of them are also 21 years of age or older). As with those qualifying as unmarried sons and daughters of citizens in the first preference, those qualifying in this group must have qualified as “children” at one time as that term is strictly defined in the immigration law.

Note the following additional points:

  • The spouse and minor children of third preference immigrants can immigrate with them.
  • There is a waiting list for visas to immigrate in this category, regardless of the alien’s country. Third preference immigrants should expect to wait at least six years to complete the green card process.

4.    Brothers and Sisters of Citizens (Family Fourth Preference)

The fourth family-sponsored preference includes the brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, provided the citizen is at least 21 years old. It is allotted 65,000 annual visas, plus any visas not used in the first three family-sponsored preferences. Brothers and sisters of citizens can qualify for immigration if the citizen is 21 years of age or older.

Note the following additional points:

  • The spouse and minor children of fourth preference immigrants can immigrate with them.
  • There is a waiting list for visas to immigrate in this category, regardless of the alien’s country. Fourth preference immigrants should expect to wait at least 12 years to complete the green card process.

At Wani & Associates, we have professional and experienced criminal attorneys, immigration attorneys, family law attorneys, bankruptcy attorneys and automobile accident attorneys. We can fight for your rights in the courts of the Virginia, Maryland, DC, Pakistan, and India.

Requirement for Permanent Residence based on a Family Relationship

Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens


Persons who qualify as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are so highly preferred  as candidates for immigration  that,  unlike most other  candidates,  no numerical limitation  is  placed  on the  number  of immediate relatives  of citizens who may become permanent residents in  any one year. The following aliens can qualify as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Children of U.S. citizens (provided child is unmarried and under the age of 21 years)
  • Parents of U.S. citizens (provided citizen is 21 years of age or older)

Spouses of U.S. citizens

A person who marries a citizen can qualify for immigration in this category. The marriage must not be a “sham,” of course-that is, one entered into in order to obtain an immigration benefit. The marriage must be legally entered into that is, both parties were free to marry, all prior divorces were legal, and the marriage formalities themselves are recognized as legal in the jurisdiction where the marriage occurred. The marriage must still legally exist-the parties cannot be divorced or legally separated. But the marriage need not be viable even if the parties are separated, if they have not entered into a legal separation agreement or gotten divorced they still have a valid relationship for immigration purposes.

The spouse of a citizen whose marriage was created within two years prior to being granted permanent residence is granted residence on a conditional basis. He or she is a full permanent resident in all respects-eligibility for employment, ability to travel freely in and out of the United States, accumulation of time toward compliance with residence and physical presence requirements for naturalization as a U.S. citizen-but that residence is subject to termination within two years after it is granted if the marriage has terminated by divorce or annulment during that period, or the marriage turns out to be sham.

  • Spouses of deceased citizens qualify as immediate relatives for whom immigration may he sought under some circumstances.
  • In order to qualify, the alien must have been the spouse of the deceased citizen for at least two years and must not have been legally separated at the time of the citizen’s death.
  • The alien spouse must file an immediate relative immigrant visa petition within two years after the date of death and must still be unmarried at that time.
  • Alien spouses seeking residence on this basis must use a different form than other family-sponsored immigrants.
  • The unmarried minor children of the alien spouse may be included in the petition as well.

Children of U.S. citizens

Children of U.S. citizens are also eligible to immigrate. Note that “child” is strictly defined in the immigration law. The citizen’s child must be unmarried and under the age of 21 years.

  • Children born in wedlock automatically qualify, and may be petitioned by either citizen-parent.
  • Children born out of wedlock to citizen-mothers also qualify.
  • A citizen-father may petition for his child born out of wedlock only if the child was legitimated prior to the age of 18 and the child is in the “legal custody” of the citizen-father, or the citizen-father has or had a bona fide parent child relationship with the child.
  • Adopted children may also qualify, but only if the adoption was finalized prior to the child’s l6th birthday and certain procedural requirements with regard to the adoption have occurred.
  • Stepchildren may qualify if the step relationship was established before the child’s l8th birthday.

Parents of U.S. citizens

Parents of U.S. citizens are eligible to immigrate as immediate relatives, but only if the citizen is 21 years of age or older. The citizen must be able to qualify as a child of the parent according to the rules just outlined, except of course that the citizen must be over the age of 21 and can be married. To determine whether a parent qualifies for immigration, then, it is essential to look at the parent-child relationship in the same way as you would if you were determining whether a child would qualify.

Special issues regarding immediate relatives

There are several important points to keep concerning immediate relatives:

  • Family members of the immediate relative cannot immigrate unless each of them also qualifies as an immediate relative. Example: A U.S. citizen marries a foreign national who has a 19-year old child. The foreign national can immigrate as an immediate relative, but the child does not qualify as a child of the citizen, since the step relationship did not exist before the child’s l8th birthday, and the child is too old to qualify through adoption. The child cannot immigrate as an immediate relative of a citizen. Once the foreign national becomes a permanent resident, however, the child may qualify as a son or daughter of a resident.
  • Qualifying as an immediate relative of a citizen has several advantages, but one disadvantage. Since an unlimited number of such aliens can immigrate each year, there is never a waiting list for visas. Thus, if such aliens are already in the U.S., and they meet all the other requirements for adjustment of status they can always apply for adjustment of status.
  • Because the “immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens (spouses, minor children, Parents) are not subject to an annual cap on entry as are all other family-sponsored immigrants, an immigrant visa is considered to be immediately available to these individuals. In reality, however, due to USCIS and consular processing delays, it may still take up to a year for these family members who are outside of the country to enter the U.S. Because they are presumed to be “intending immigrants,” however, they are not eligible to receive a non-immigrant visa to visit their petitioning U.S. citizen relative during the pendency of the process.

WANI & ASSOCIATES, P.C Attorneys and Counselors at Law provide a wide variety of immigration services in the states of Maryland and Virginia as well as District of Columbia. Call now at: (703) 556-6626