Immigration Attorneys - San Gabriel Valley


Immigration Law

Asylum Applications Deportation Defense

Glossary of Visa Terms

The immigration attorneys with Michael T. Chulak & Associates deal with issues of concern to foreign nationals who come to this country either temporarily or permanently. Our immigration attorneys can help you overcome and avoid legal problems that commonly arise. We can also simplify the immigration process and save you valuable time.

Since the immigration process is likely to be the most important legal process in your life, it is critically important that you completely trust the attorney representing you. With Michael T. Chulak & Associates, you will be represented by a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who will keep you fully informed during the legal process. We understand that time is critically important to our clients and will make every effort to move your case through the system as quickly as possible.

Michael T. Chulak & Associates can assist you with all areas of immigration law including family immigration, obtaining a green card, naturalization and citizenship, fiancee visas, marriage visas, employment visas, student visas, work permits, deportation and removal defense and asylum. We also provide criminal defense and can represent clients in family law matters, including battered spouse claims.

Most importantly, if you have been the victim of employer abuse, don't let your immigration status prevent you from asserting your rights. Call us for a free, confidential consultation at (800) 565-2232 so that we can answer your questions.

Since immigration law is a federal practice, we can represent clients anywhere in the United States.

Our attorneys speak Mandarin Chinese and of course, English. We have a legal assistant that speaks Mandarin as well as the dialect from Wenzhou, China. We serve Los Angeles and the surrounding communities: San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Conejo Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and Ventura.

All major credit cards are accepted.

Initial consultations are at no cost.
Call us when you can't afford a mistake.

We have attorneys that speak Mandarin Chinese.

Asylum Status    •    Refugee Status

Asylum status and refugee status are legal protections available to qualified people who have left their home country for their personal safety and are afraid to return. Not everyone qualifies for asylum or refugee status.

The difference between asylum and refugee status is based upon your location when you apply. People who are in the United States when they apply seek asylum. People who apply from outside the United States seek refugee status.

If either asylum or refugee status is granted, you may stay in the United States indefinitely. You may legally work and can apply for a green card within one year of being approved for asylum, or within one year of entering the United States as a refugee.

You must prove two things to be granted asylum or refugee status:

You are unable or unwilling to return to your home country because of past persecution or have a well-founded fear that you will be persecuted if you return, and
Your past persecution or well-founded fear or persecution is based upon one of five things: your religion, race, nationality, affiliation with a particular social group, or your political opinions.

Persecution means to punish, harass, injure, or cause a person to suffer physical or psychological harm. Persecution may include torture, serious threats of harm, wrongful imprisonment, the denial of basic human rights, or other acts of violence. Persecution can also include forced sterilization and or abortion, as well as the threat of being forced to undergo such procedures.

Examples of particular social groups whose members have been accepted as asylees or refugees by the United States have included homosexuals, former members of the military or police, certain ethnic groups, and women.

Determining your qualifications for asylum or refugee status is not easy. Not all applications are approved. If you believe you are eligible, please call us today for a free consultation by an experienced immigration attorney. Only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice.


Denial of Asylum or Refugee Status

Sometimes people who otherwise meet the criteria for asylum or refugee status are denied protection under U.S. law because of other factors:

They are considered a threat to U.S. security or safety, or
They are already "firmly resettled" in another country, or
They have assisted in the persecution of other people.

Those that are considered a threat to U.S. security or safety include those that have been convicted of a serious non-political crime in another country or the U.S.

Those who are already "firmly resettled" in another country means a person who has been granted permanent residency or citizenship in another country.

A person who has assisted in the persecution of another person includes someone who has ordered, assisted, incited, or participated in the persecution of another person because of that person's race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.


H - 1B Visas - Petitions

H - 1B Visas are for foreign born professionals with offers of employment in the United States. Sponsoring employers must file a Labor Condition Application with the U.S. Department of Labor for approval.

The H - 1B Visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations requiring highly specialized knowledge. It is also for highly distinguished fashion models.

Occupations or professions that qualify include, but are not limited to architecture, engineering, physical sciences, biotechnology, health, librarians, dieticians, educators, law, medicine, accounting, theology, mathematics, and science. At the minimum, a Bachelor's Degree or its equivalent is also required with the exception of highly distinguished fashion models.

If a foreign worker in H - 1B Status is dismissed or leaves the sponsoring employer, the H - 1B worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another sponsoring employer, or leave the United States.

Your employer will be liable for the reasonable costs of your return transportation if your employer terminates you before the end of your period of authorized stay. Your employer is not responsible for the costs of your return transportation if you voluntarily resign your position. You must contact the Service Center that approved your petition in writing if you believe that your employer has not complied with this requirement.

The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six. An exception to a maximum length of stay applies in certain circumstances:

One-year extension if a labor certification application has been filed and is pending for at least 365 days; and
One three-year extension if an I - 140 Immigrant Petition has been approved.

Despite a limit on length of stay, no requirement exists that the individual remain for any minimum period in the job provided by the original sponsor. This is known as H - 1B portability or transfer, provided a new employer sponsors another H - 1B Visa. Under current law, an H - 1B Visa has no stipulated grace period in the event the employer-employee relationship ceases to exist.

Upon receipt of an H - 1B Visa, you can apply for visas for your spouse and minor children to accompany you to the United States. However, they may not be employed here unless they separately apply for and qualify for their own work visa(s). Also, until your H - 1B Visa expires, you are permitted to travel in and out of the country.

The current law limits to 65,000 the number of foreign born who may be issued an H - 1B Visa in any one fiscal year. An additional 20,000 may be issued to workers who have earned a Master's Degree or higher. Also, the numerical limits do not apply if you will be working for an institution of higher education, a non-profit organization affiliated with such an institution, a non-profit research organization, or a government research organization.

If you are an employer, we can assist you in getting your Labor Condition Application approved or if you are seeking an H - 1B Visa, we can assist you in completing and obtaining approval of your H - 1B Visa Petition.

Initial consultations are provided at no cost. Remember, the number of H - 1B Visas being granted are limited each year; so you should proceed promptly.



E-2 Visas-Petitions

EB-5 Visas-Petitions



Fiancé and Fiancée Visas

and Petitions

If you are a U.S. citizen and intend to marry a foreign national outside the United States, you do not need a Fiancé or Fiancée Visa. Also, if you are a U.S. citizen and intend to marry a foreign national that is already residing legally in the United States, you do not need a Fiancé or Fiancée Visa.

A Fiancé or Fiancée Visa is needed only when a U.S. citizen is intending to bring a foreign national into the United States with the intention of getting married within 90 days of entry into the United States.

Please note that a Fiancée is a female who is engaged to be married. A Fiancé is a male who is engaged to be married. The Visa issued by the government is commonly referred to as a Fiancé(e) Visa.

If you petition for a Fiancé(e) Visa, you must be able to show that:

You (the petitioner) are a U.S. citizen.
You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States.
You and your fiancé(e) are both free to marry and any previous marriages have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition. There are two exceptions that require a waiver:
If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice, or
If you prove that the requirement to meet would result inextreme hardship to you.

Our immigration attorneys can assist you in obtaining a Fiancé(e) Visa as quickly as possible.


Marriage Fraud

If you have been accused of marriage fraud, you should immediately seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney with immigration law experience. Marriage fraud is a serious charge that can lead to imprisonment and subsequent deportation if you are not a U.S. Citizen. These claims are sometimes made by the government during the interview process for obtaining a green card or citizenship.

In California, any individual who knowingly enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or fined not more than $250,000, or both.


Christian Persecution - Asylum Petitions

If you are a Christian living in the United States from a country that persecutes Christians, you have one year from the date of your arrival to file a petition for asylum. There are circumstances where an extension of time may be possible, but it is highly recommended that you file within the one year period.

While it has never been easy to enter the United States by petitioning for asylum, recent violence against Christians, and the severe persecution of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa has created genuine and justified fear in many people from such countries as Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, and Iran.

If you are here from any of these countries, or any other country that has a policy of persecuting Christians, please call us for a free consultation. We are greatly concerned that certain radicals want to make Christianity extinct. We want to help you and your family.



Warning About Immigration Consultants

If you need help with your immigration status, be careful who you hire. Only attorneys licensed to practice can give legal advice and represent you in immigration court. Notaries public, paralegals, accredited representatives, and immigration consultants are rarely licensed attorneys.

It is illegal for an immigration consultant to give legal advice. An immigration consultant can only give you non-legal help, like translating your answers to the questions on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) forms, getting copies of supporting documents, and, if you ask them to, submitting the forms to the USCIS. Only an attorney can give you legal advice, such as advising you about what forms to file with the USCIS.

Scam artists can cause you to lose thousands of dollars and harm your immigration status. In the end, an immigration consultant may cost you more money than having an attorney represent you.

Some common scams:

Making false promises and implying that he or she has special influence with the USCIS. Nobody can guarantee you a work permit or any other immigration benefit.
Posing as an immigration consultant or lawyer when he or she is not qualified to do so.
Persuading an immigrant to lie on an application or to a USCIS agent.
Keeping a consumer’s original documents and charging money to return them.
Filing a frivolous application. For example, filing an application for political asylum on behalf of a person who clearly does not qualify for asylum.
Charging an immigrant the total price for all services up front, then demanding more and more money to continue doing work for the immigrant.

Checklist for Working with an Attorney or Immigration Consultant

Immigration consultants must have a $50,000 bond and provide you evidence of the bond. Keep the number for your records.
Is the person offering legal services an attorney licensed by the State Bar of California? The person must give you his or her State Bar number. Check the State Bar number. Check the State Bar website. Determine if the lawyer has ever been disciplined.
Get a written contract signed and dated by the immigration consultant or attorney, but do not sign the contract unless you understand it.
Consult a person you trust before signing anything or paying any money. Be suspicious of anyone who wants you to act immediately.
Make sure the contract lists the services you were promised and how much you must pay.
You can cancel a contract with an immigration consultant or attorney at any time.
Keep a copy of the contract, any receipts, and forms being filed on your behalf. Take detailed notes and keep your records.
Give only copies of original documents to the immigration consultant or attorney. Keep your originals in a safe place.


Chinese Personal Injury Attorneys

Attorney - Client Privilege

Criminal Defense Attorneys


Living Trust Mills - Consumer Warning

Companies advertising "living trusts" sometimes misrepresent the advantages of living trusts. But the most serious problem is the misuse of the financial information sales people obtain to prepare a living trust. Unfortunately, this information is used to sell unneeded annuities and various investments, most often to senior citizens.

Sales agents for these operations often misrepresent the disadvantages of seniors' current investments and the advantages of the investments the agents are selling. They may even make seniors believe their bank accounts are less safe than the annuities or other investments they want seniors to buy. To give themselves a cloak of legitimacy, these sales agents pretend to be experts on living trusts. In their solicitations, these sales agents often pose as expert financial or estate planners. They pass themselves off as a "trust advisor," "senior estate planner" or "paralegal," and schedule an initial appointment with seniors in their homes. Under the guise of helping set up or update a living trust, the sales agents find out about seniors' financial assets and investments. They sometimes work in assisted living centers, churches and other places where seniors gather, hooking elderly victims through free seminars and other sales presentations.

Sometimes, through fraud and deceit, the sales agents damage seniors' estate plans, and the security of their investments and life savings.

Usually, the sales agents schedule a home visit to explain the living trust and use a second visit to deliver a completed trust and have documents signed and notarized, and title of assets transferred to the trust. Typically, during the second visit, the agents go over the assets to be placed in the trust. The agents may have seniors sign documents that transfer the senior's CD, mutual fund accounts, or other investments to an annuity, or promissory note or other investment. They use that review of seniors' investments to scare them into believing their investments are unsafe, and that by moving their money, they can earn higher interest with less risk. Frequently, there are substantial penalties for early withdrawal of some investment accounts.

Planning an estate and choosing investments involve important legal, financial and personal decisions. If estate planning documents are not properly prepared or executed they can be invalid and cause lasting damage.

Following are tips to help consumers avoid becoming victims of living trust mills and their scams:

Living trust mills' sales agents are rarely licensed attorneys and are not experts in estate planning.
Watch out for companies that sell trusts and annuities or, other similar investments.
Sales agents may fail to disclose possible adverse tax consequences or early withdrawal penalties that may be incurred when transferring stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit or other investments to annuities.
An annuity is not 100% safe, and only a portion is guaranteed by the state. Insurance companies can and do fail, and their assets may not be enough to pay the full value of their customers' investments.
Promissory notes are not insured by the FDIC or any other government agency and may be very risky.
Before consumers buy an annuity or any other investment, they should review it with people they know and trust, such as their CPA or attorney, and trusted family members.

An attorney qualified in estate planning can help consumers decide if they need a living trust or other estate planning documents, or help them review an existing trust or will.



The information presented on this site was prepared for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for consulting with a licensed attorney in your state. The law is constantly changing. In addition, the information presented may not be up - to - date or 100% complete. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in California and seek to represent clients only in California. Sending us an email or other communication does not create an attorney - client relationship. Only signing a retainer agreement will establish an attorney - client relationship. This is an advertisement.

Areas Served:

Los Angeles County:

Acton, Agoura, Agoura Hills, Agua Dulce, Alhambra, Altadena, Arcadia, Arleta, Artesia, Avalon, Azusa, Baldwin Hills, Baldwin Park, Bassett, Bell, Bell Canyon, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Beverly Hills, Bouquet Canyon, Box Canyon, Burbank, Calabasas, Calabasas Hills, Canoga Park, Canyon Country, Carson, Castaic, Century City, Cerritos, Chatsworth, Claremont, Commerce, Compton, Covina, Cudahy, Crystalaire, Culver City, Del Sur, Diamond Bar, Downey, Duarte, East Los Angeles, East Rancho Dominguez, El Monte, El Segundo, Encino, Firestone Park, Flintridge, Gardena, Glassell, Glassell Park, Glendale, Glendora, Granada Hills, Hacienda Heights, Hawaiian Gardens, Hansen Dam, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Hidden Hills, Highland Park, Hollywood, Huntington Park, Industry, Inglewood, Irwindale, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta- Montrose, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, La Puente, La Verne, La Canada, Lake Hughes, Lake Los Angeles, Lake View Terrace, Lakewood, Lancaster, Lawndale, Leimert Park, Lennox, Leona Valley, Lincoln Heights, Littlerock, Lomita, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Lynwood, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Marina Del Rey, Maywood, Mission Hills, Monrovia, Monte Nido, Montebello, Monterey Park, Mount Baldy, Mount Wilson, Newhall, North El Monte, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Norwalk, Pacoima, Palisades, Palmdale, Paramount, Pearblossom, Pico Rivera, Pomona, Quartz Hill, Rancho Dominguez, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rancho Park, Redondo Beach, Reseda, Ritter Ranch, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Rosemead, San Dimas, San Fernando, San Gabriel, San Marino, San Pedro, Santa Clarita, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Monica, Saratoga Hills, Saugus, Sherman Oaks, Sierra Madre, Signal Hill, South El Monte, South Gate, South Pasadena, Stevenson Ranch, Studio City, Sun Valley, Sun Village, Tarzana, Temple City, Toluca Lake, Topanga, Torrance, Tujunga, Universal City, Val Verde, Valencia, Valley Village, Van Nuys, Venice, Vernon, Walnut, Walnut Park, West Covina, West Hills, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, West Toluca Lake, Westchester, Whittier, Wilmington, Windsor Hills, Winnetka, Woodland Hills.

Ventura County:

Camarillo, Channel Islands, Faria Beach, Fillmore, Moorpark, Newbury Park, Oak Park, Oak View, Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Saticoy, Somis, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Ventura (San Buenaventura), Westlake Village.

Orange County:

Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Balboa Island, Brea, Buena Park, Corona Island, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Foothill Ranch, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forrest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Orange, Placentia, Rossmoor, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Santa Ana Heights, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Tustin Foothills, Villa Park, Westminster, Yorba Linda.

San Bernardino County:

Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Big Bear, Big Bear City, Chino, Chino Hills, Colton, Crestline, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Hesperia, Highland, Joshua Tree, Lake Arrowhead, Landers, Loma Linda, Montclair, Morongo Valley, Needles, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, Running Springs, San Bernardino, Twentynine Palms, Upland, Victorville, Yucaipa, Yucca Valley.

Riverside County:

Anza, Banning, Beaumont, Bermuda Dunes, Blythe, Cabazon, Calimesa, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Cherry Valley, Coachella, Corona, Desert Hot Springs, East Blythe, East Hemet, El Cerrito, Glen Avon, Hemet, Highgrove, Home Gardens, Homeland, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Lake Elsinore, Lakeland Village, Lakeview, Mecca, Mira Loma, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Murrieta Hot Springs, Norco, Nuevo, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Pedley, Perris, Quail Valley, Rancho Mirage, Riverside, Rubidoux, San Jacinto, Sun City, Sunnyslope, Temecula, Thousand Palms, Valle Vista, Wildomar, Winchester, Woodcrest.

Santa Barbara County:

Ballard, Buellton, Carpinteria, Gaviota, Goleta, Guadalupe, Hollister Ranch, Hope Ranch, Isla Vista, Lompoc, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Mission Canyon, Mission Hills, Montecito, Orcutt, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Summerland, Toro Canyon


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