• Shah Peerally Law Group Pc American immigration lawyers association Providing Immigration Solutions
    for Employers & Individuals
    Shah Peerally 24*7 Radio show on Attorney on air
  • Shah Peerally Law Group Pc American immigration lawyers association Providing Immigration Solutions
    for Employers & Individuals
    Shah Peerally 24*7 Radio show on Attorney on air
  • Shah Peerally Law Group Pc American immigration lawyers association Providing Immigration Solutions
    for Employers & Individuals
    Shah Peerally 24*7 Radio show on Attorney on air
  • Shah Peerally Law Group Pc American immigration lawyers association Providing Immigration Solutions
    for Employers & Individuals
    Shah Peerally 24*7 Radio show on Attorney on air
  • Shah Peerally Law Group Pc American immigration lawyers association Providing Immigration Solutions
    for Employers & Individuals
    Shah Peerally 24*7 Radio show on Attorney on air

7 Reasons you should not rely on a non-lawyer immigration law forums for your immigration advice.

By: Shah Peerally Esq.

Lately there has been an increase of non-lawyers immigration law forums (referred in this article as ‘forums’) discussing about immigration and other legal matters. Many serve educational purposes, however, many of them are owned, maintained and moderated by -lawyers and ultimately might be wrongly advising readers and members. The Department of Homeland Security is making a huge effort to crack down on “notarios”, and other so called immigration consultants and unfortunately on the web, such ‘forums’ enable the non-lawyers to prosper and even hurt numerous people. In this article, I have tried to compile few reasons why someone should avoid relying and even putting private information on such forums. 

1. Non Lawyer Immigration law Forums are not lawyers and as such are not allowed to give legal advice.

A lawyer in the United States is bound by ABA rules of professional responsibility and their respective State ethical regulations. As such a lawyer is licensed to practice law and is allowed to give such advices. A forum, although, giving information for educational purposes can actually mislead readers and ultimately not be punished because such forums are not accountable for their actions.

2. Wrong information given causing more harm than good.
I can write volumes on the number of clients calling our office talking about reading certain things on forums and worried that their cases be denied. Often time they will be so worried that they will be making mistakes which will cost them their approvals. One example was a client who was charged of a domestic violence. The truth is that the case was dismissed but unfortunately when he posted the case on the forum, someone wrote that “…you will be deported…period”. After reading this forum, he was so scared that he ended up with high blood pressure. His spouse was worried because she knew that it was just an unfortunate situation when she called the police and there was no real case on the client. The client was called for an adjustment of status interview and he contacted our office. We re-assured the client and accompanied him at the interview. His case was approved on the same day and the first thing he told me was that: “….nobody said I could get my greencard on the forum?” He told me that he wished he has spoken to us before getting so worried and ending up in the hospital for high blood pressure. My answer was simple – stop relying on forums for advices.

3. Wrong application of immigration law.
Immigration law is very complex. In fact, many have categorized immigration law as complicated as tax laws. Missing one fact can actually result into a deportation or worse if you are outside in a permanent bar. One time in 2007, a client came to our office, for a marriage case and she got all her information on a forum owned by non-lawyer immigration consultant. The consultant prepared her paperwork for an Form I-130 petition and it was approved. Because she entered illegally, the immigration consultant asked her just to go to the Mexico US embassy to pick her immigrant visa.
The client was ready to fly when she came to our office. We sat down and explained to her about the 10 years bar. We also found out that she can benefit from the INA 24(i) requesting her just to pay a penalty and file for an adjustment of status in the United States. We advised her not to leave. After 3 months, we obtained her permanent residence in the United States without her leaving. Had she left, she would have been barred to enter the United States for at least 10 years. Another example how the “non-lawyer” forums could have destroyed the life of a couple.

4. Anti-Immigration groups hacking into immigrant forums.
While most Americans are either pro-immigration or neutral, there are many people who hate immigrants and are determined to mislead them to create havoc. I remember during the time of Tri Valley University situation, where hundreds of students from India were threatened with deportation, someone went on the forums advising them to give their information to authorities “…if they had nothing to fear…” The problem with this advice is that volunteering information without the presence of an attorney can actually harm someone more than help him. As such you do not know who is really answering you on a forum.

5. Tracking your personal information
People sometimes don’t realize that the internet is a ‘world-wide’ web and can be accessed by many hackers, and even government agencies. Lately, we have seen that the DHS has been using social network websites and other forums to gather information on people. Forums are worst because they have a pool of people who actually have something in common and are good places to be abused. If you are speaking to a lawyer this information becomes confidential.

6. Irrelevant and Useless answers.
Since many of such immigration law forums are usually maintained by non-lawyers, the chances of getting irrelevant and useless answers are so high that many spend their time searching for an answer which is not relevant to their situation. Each case is different, success or failure in one case does not mean your case will succeed or fail. Therefore, you should not stress about forums’ answers.

7. “Jack of all trades and Master of none.”
Just like you need a doctor when you are sick or an engineer to built certain things, you actually need a lawyer to answer your legal questions. Despite good intentions, many ignore that the people who are writing on such forums are not lawyers, they are just relating their experiences and trying to conclude from such experiences. A very dangerous practice which can actually create more problems and offer no solution.

The article is not trying to be pretentious and making all forums ‘outlaws’. There are many good forums out there such as www.Avvo.com and www.SPLawforum.com where answers of licensed attorneys appear. Such can be reliable medium although provided for educational purposes only. The truth is that many non-lawyer forums are just as bad as non-lawyer consultants trying to prey on innocent readers to make a fortune. Some actually do. Therefore be careful, if you want real legal advice, please contact a good lawyer to help.

If you want real legal services by real lawyers call us today on 510 742 5887 or email info@peerallylaw.com

Information provided is for educational purposes only. You should not or refrain to act solely on the information provided. You should contact an attorney before you decide to move forward on your case.







Featured Videos

* San Francisco - Oakland - San Jose Immigration Lawyers - Bay Area Immigration Attorneys - Providing Green Card,
Family Visa, and Citizenship Services throughout the United States *

Latest Pages

1. “I Do” is not enough for USCIS

By- Rabell Afridi

Most people only require a wedding band as evidence of their marriage. In fact, your average married couple doesn’t have to prove to others that they’re married. Attending their grand wedding is evidence enough that they are in fact married; in immigration, the complete opposite is true. For those individuals who are interested in filing a marriage petition for their spouse, there are many levels of evidence necessary to prove that the marriage is in fact real. The reason for all this required evidence is the fact that many people do choose to get married for the immigration benefits. America is a land of opportunity and some people feel as if the only way to access it is through illegal means. So naturally it’s important for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office to see that marriage petitions are indeed obtained through valid marriages. How do you prove a marriage? What kinds of evidence is USCIS looking for to describe a bona fide marriage? The evidence essentially is very much a timeline of the relationship. The strongest marriage petitions show the development of the couple, from the beginning to present time. USCIS want to see that you’re a strong unit that has a genuine relationship. There are essentially 5 levels of evidence for a marriage to be valid for USCIS. Levels 1-4 are the most essential, level 5 is more like extra credit.

Level 1- Evidence of courtship: This is evidence that basically shows that the couple has been communicating to one another through different means during the period of their relationship. There are many modes of communication so providing any and all of them will greatly strengthen your case. USCIS wants to see that, like a typical couple, that courtship is present.

Level 2- Evidence of the wedding: This evidence basically displays that an actual wedding event took place. USCIS wants to see that the couple celebrated their marriage and had guests present to witness the celebration. This is natural for most couples who usually have a reception take place after the wedding ceremony to share their happiness with their closest and dearest family and friends.

Level 3- Evidence of Residence: USCIS wants to see that the married couple actually lives together because that is typical for the majority of married couples. After all marriage is about building a home and life together so sharing a place of residence is essential. Even after the petition is approved, an impromptu visit from USCIS to the home is very possible to make sure that the couple is in fact residing together.

Level 4- Evidence of Financial Distribution: There should also be evidence that the couple is sharing their finances. Essentially, it’s important to display that there is equal financial contribution to different bills for both individuals in the marriage. This is the norm for a couple who’s married; their expenses become shared expenses and for USCIS this is strong evidence that they are in fact a married couple.

Level 5- Evidence of Offspring: This is definitely not a requirement for USCIS. A couple that hasn’t been together for very long will most likely not have children together. However if the couple does have offspring together it’s important to show that the offspring are in fact the product of the two. This would be quite strong evidence that the marriage is in fact a bona fide marriage since they already have a family together.

These five levels of marriage are just some of the basic types of evidence to prove a strong relationship and consequently a valid marriage. There is always more you can add to further strengthen the case. However, it’s important to recall that if the spouse that’s being sponsored lives in the United States, then there will be an interview held. In this interview, the types of questions that USCIS will ask will be extremely personal ones that only a married couple would know. Individuals can therefore also choose to include evidence that also displays this same intimacy because it will provide greater support for the case. What a couple chooses to provide is ultimately up to them but these levels of evidence are a general guide that provides a strong case and therefore a higher success rate for the marriage petition to be approved. If you are interested in retaining the services of an immigration law firm that has dealt with many marriage petition cases successfully, please give us a call at Shah Peerally Law Group at 510-742-5887 or send us an email at info@peerallylaw.com.

2. About Shah Peerally, Esq.

Shah Peerally is a Newark California based attorney practicing immigration law. Shah has seen tremendous growth in his career beginning with humble beginnings to becoming one of the most sought after attorney’s in Bay area. More than his professional qualifications, what distinguishes him from other lawyers in this field is his genuine compassion for people and his ability to cut across barriers and make them feel that there is hope for them.

Shah has constantly fought for the rights of immigrants and has tried to help them in various ways possible, whether it is through free legal clinics in churches, mosques or temples or talking to people through his law show on radio. Moreover his background as an immigrant himself makes him identify with the likes of others in similar position as he had been.

Shah thinks he is best defined as ‘street smart’ and has learnt more on the job than from any course. His genuine concern shows in the way he interacts with people and this has earned him not only respect but love from the immigrant community. In an attempt to educate people and make them aware of their rights and give them a sense of identification, Shah has invested in the Shah films which makes socially conscious films that talk of the problems of immigrants and also provides them solutions to a certain extent.
His dedication and passion for his work have been recognized on various podiums and Avvo, the national attorney rating service has rated him as 10/10 which is their highest rating level reserved for the best attorneys.

Shah Peerally, was born on in Mauritius, and attended the Royal College of Curepipe in Mauritius. Having worked with different corporations in Mauritius, Shah then moved to the United States where he and obtained his Juris Doctorate degree from New College School of Law, in San Francisco, California. He subsequently gained admission to the California State Bar too. Over the next few years, he began building his base in the legal fraternity by working in avenues such as litigation and business law for well known law firm of McNichols Randick O’Dea & Tooliatos LLP, in Pleasanton, California.

At a later stage, Shah joined the Law Offices of Virender Goswami as a supervising attorney in business and employment immigration. He was also appointed as attorney of counsel for the Immigration law offices of Minter and Ahmad in Fremont, California. Throughout the journey, Shah nursed the ambition of having his own law firm and in 2005; he founded the Law Offices of Shah Peerally. Today he is the founder and managing attorney of Shah Peerally Law Group PC, a professional corporation and under his capability the firm has seen the highest pinnacles of success.

Shah holds memberships in the State Bar of California, American Bar Association (ABA) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), and International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA). Shah is also admitted in the Northern Federal District Court, Eastern Federal District Court of California and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Apart from his legal work, the Shah Peerally name has been associated with a lot of pro bono work that he has done. In fact whenever there has been a crisis for the immigrant community, the Shah Peerally name has been the foremost in terms of handling the crisis in an efficient and fast manner, so that the chances of the immigrants being effected is minimum.

Shah’s activities have been geared towards helping people in spreading of awareness regarding Immigration laws and their capabilities and use as far as immigrants are concerned. For this role of his in society, he has often been a part of the expert legal analysts for many TV networks such as NDTV, Times Now and Sitarree TV. In collaboration with this there has been coverage about his work in newspapers such as San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, US Fiji Times, Mauritius Le Quotidien, Movers & Shakers and other prominent international media both print and online.

For his passionate and dedicated work, towards conducting immigration related workshops Shah has been commended by House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Barbara Lee too. Shah has been a prominent activist for various immigrant communities and has always fought for their rights in whatever capacities that he could. Also he has been a regular participant in lectures and free legal clinics across the nation.

In what is an extremely rewarding acknowledgement for his work, Shah has been selected as a rising star of Northern California by Superlawyers.com. Added to this, 2013 has seen Shah been bestowed with the honor of being selected as one of the ‘Young Outstanding Lawyers of Northern California’. This is a reflection of not only of his own caliber but that of his entire firm. In fact the attorneys of the Shah Peerally law group have been featured as legal experts on major international TV networks such as NDTV and Times Now for guiding immigrants during major immigration crisis over the years.

The most interesting part about Shah Peerally’s career has been his diversification into different platforms that raise the issues of immigration. Now with his own film production house, he makes films that will be an eye opener to the masses on issues that have been particularly troublesome for the immigrants. These films are an extension of his voice and concern as a lawyer determined to get justice for the immigrants to the US and to fight for their cause while also propagating for better immigration reforms. And in that Mr.Peerally’s work is extremely futuristic and aimed at a basic promotion of the interests of all sorts of voices across the globe.


3. 7 Things to consider before filing your Citizenship/Naturalization (N400) application.

By Shah Peerally

The Naturalization or US Citizenship application is the culmination and the ultimate goal of most immigrants coming to the United States. It is in itself an easy application. It is in fact, only one form the N-400 application. However, while the application is easy the process might be daunting for many people depending how the permanent residence was obtained and many other factors. This article does not cover the timing when you are eligible for the application. It covers some of the issues that might arise during and prior to the Citizenship interview. As such we recommend you consider the following few tips.

  1. The Truth Shall set you Free: First and foremost, never lie on the application. Just like in any application, you shall tell the truth because if you lie, it might really cost you. If you have any doubts on things, we recommend you consult an experienced attorney. Our law firm can do a consultation for you by calling 510. 742 5887.
  2. Criminal Background: If you have been convicted of any crimes, we recommend that you hire a lawyer to represent you in the case. As you know certain crimes might not only result a denial but might trigger a removal also known as deportation. A good lawyer familiar with such cases might be able to assess the situation before filing the case.
  3. Moral Character for the past five years: One of the requirements to obtain your citizenship is to show that you presented good moral character during the past five years. While you might not have been convicted of any serious crime, violation of certain laws or behaviors might show that you have not demonstrated good moral character. Again this is contained and dealt with on a case by case basis and an experienced immigration attorney might be able to help.
  4. Amount of days spent abroad: Depending how you obtained your permanent residence (greencard), you need show that you have actually physically spent either 18 months (usually when you are married to a USC) or 30months during the past five years in the country. You also have to prove that you have not broken the continuity to obtain your citizenship (see article). However, there are exceptions to such rule and a good seasoned immigration attorney might be able to help you. For example, we had a client who spent 11 months continuously abroad and yet we were able to obtain her citizenship. Such cases are difficult but they are not impossible. If you are in a similar situation, please contact our office at 510 742 5887.
  5. Past behaviors: If you have unfortunately filed certain fraudulent documents or have made use of some of the scrupulous “immigration consultants” to prepare your applications, we definitely recommend having an attorney present and preparing your case. Lately we have seen many cases where USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), have been digging in the past of the applicants to find that not only they are not eligible for citizenship but also trying to find ways to place applicants into removal proceedings (aka deportation).
  6. Obtaining your Permanent Residence through Employment: There are many ways to obtain your permanent residence and in the Silicon Valley California, a vast number of people obtained their greencards through employment. Few of the issues we are seeing now when they reach the citizenship application level: 1) The USCIS questioning the authenticity of the position and 2) how long they worked for the company after obtaining the greencard. While there is no specific rules on ‘how long’ you are supposed to work for the petitioning company, a short period or no work might be construed as fraud. Therefore, make sure that you speak to an attorney very well versed in employment based immigration before applying. Our law firm has handled hundreds of employment based immigration cases and if you call us at 510 742 5887, we shall be glad to help.
  7. Obtaining your Permanent Residence through Marriage: Although your permanent residence was approved through a bona fide marriage. If your marriage terminated through a divorce, be ready to explain and prove the bona fide (good faith) of the marriage again. It is also recommended to have documents to prove the bona fide of your marriage if you are filing based on a marriage to a US citizen, that is, on a 3 years period. We highly recommend to have the assistance of a good lawyer to help.


This article should in no way be construed as a complete guide on citizenship. The above is provided for educational purposes only, and are only few issues which can arise from the application of your citizenship/naturalization. We hope that it will, at least, assist you in understanding some of the basic problems relating to the matter and give you a quick idea on what to expect.

No attorney-client relationship is created by this article unless a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

Should you have any questions, please visit www.PeerallyLaw.com or call us at 510 742 5887.

4. Naturalization basic facts

Naturalization and Who Qualifies?

Naturalization is a process that changes a person’s immigrant status to that of a US Citizen. For Naturalization you need-

  1. A green card for 57 months (33 months if the green card was obtained through marriage to a US Citizen),
  2. Know the English language well
  3. Be familiar with US Civics and History
  4. Have a good moral character.

Citizenship through Naturalization

An application for naturalization can be done after 4 years and 9 months from the date that you received your green card, or 2 years and 9 months (33 months) if you received your green card through marriage to a US Citizen or VAWA. You have to be physically present in the US for 30 months or 18 months if you received your green card through marriage without breaking continuity of residence in the US, unless you can prove later that continuity was not broken.

Interpretations of the rules for Naturalization

Those above 50 and with a green card for 15-20 years have concessions in the English language test. Disability exemptions are applicable for all tests.

65, year olds, with a green card for 20 years, need only a simplified civics and history test.

Good moral character, being subjective, is often decided by the reviewing officer. Community service, arrests, convictions, drunkenness, etc are taken into consideration.

Benefits and Limitations of Applying for Naturalization

  1. Naturalization can lead to US Citizenship.
  2. A US Citizen has plenty of benefits
  3. You are eligible to vote and apply for government jobs.
  4. Fraud in case of Naturalization can revoke the citizenship.

Attorney’s role in Naturalization

Many people feel uncomfortable facing a USCIS officer alone.  Some, applicants don’t know which document they should present and how to present their case especially if  there are complications like previous arrests, breaks in continuity of stay in the US, etc. For all this an immigration lawyer with experience is highly recommended.

Contact the Shah Peerally Law Group to discuss your Naturalization process. Contact through  email  at info@peerallylaw.com  or call at 510-742-5887.

5. I-601 Waiver Lawyers

What is an I-601 Waiver?

An I-601 Waiver is a mechanism by which an applicant for U.S. visa who has been denied admission on a “ground of inadmissibility” can “waive” the ground of inadmissibility by proving certain conditions that are can ultimately lead to an US visa.

What is a “Ground of Inadmissibility”?

There are different grounds of inadmissibility; under which a visa may be denied. The I-601 applies to some of these conditions. Waivers can be used, in these grounds of inadmissibility-

  • - Illegal presence in the U.S.
  • - Misrepresentation or fraud
  • - Applicant has a criminal history.

Waivers cannot, be used in cases where-

  • - There are charges of drug trafficking
  • - Applicant has made false claims to U.S. citizenship

What is necessary for a Waiver to be Granted?

While applying for an I-601 Waiver make sure-

  • - A qualifying relative in the U.S. who will suffer “extreme hardship” if you cannot join him/her.
  • - That the USCIS officer adjudicating the I-601 views your application in a positive frame of mind.

How can an Attorney’s help you in filing an I-601 Waivers?

The entire I-601 Waiver petition process can be difficult and lengthy one. A qualified immigration attorney can assess whether an I-601 waiver will be suitable for your case. The attorney will suggest what kind of documentation is necessary to support eligibility for a waiver of inadmissibility. And present your case well. The decision to hire an expert attorney in such a case of I-601 Waiver can make or break your case.

For this you can contact the Shah Peerally Law Firm and discuss the I-601 visa waivers with experienced immigration lawyers. Feel free to contact by email at info@peerallylaw.com or call at 510-742-5887.