Interview with Diane Chappell-Daly in Bucknell Magazine Fall 2014

November 20, 2014: Interview  with Diane Chappell-Daly in the Bucknell Magazine, Fall 2014 on immigration law.  This article addresses the issue of undocumented immigrants and a path to citizenship. It also addresses the issue of child immigrants. To read this article click on Diane Chappell-Daly on Immigration Law

Please be aware current that immigration law proposals (Nov. 2014) involve deferred action for undocumented immigrants (sometimes called illegal immigrants).  Deferred Action is not a path to US citizenship.  It is a temporary status that defers deportation and allows those who qualify to apply for permission to work,  social security number, and a driver’s license.

Married to US Citizen?

If you are married to a US citizen, the citizen can file a relative petition for you, as long as you have a valid marriage.  The problem is that if you entered the US without papers, in most cases you will not be able to stay in the US to apply for green card based on this marriage.  You will have to leave the US to file an application for a green card in your home country.  If you were in the US for 6 months or longer without immigration status, you will be barred from coming back to the US for three years.  If you were in the US for 12 months or longer without status, you will be barred from coming back to the US for 10 years. You may be eligible to ask that this bar be waived (forgiven), but in the past, you had to apply for the waiver from outside the US. This could mean a long separation from your husband or wife while waiting for a decision on the waiver.

In 2013, the Immigration Service changed the law to allow a husband or a wife of a US citizen to apply for a provisional waiver of the 3 and 10 year bars from inside the US.  If the waiver is approved, you may only have to be outside the US for the times it takes to be interviewed for your green card in your home country.  To see if you may be eligible click on Provisional Waiver.

What Do you Need to Know About Visas?

It is important to understand the difference between an immigrant visa ( green card) and a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa.  These two kinds of visas conflict with each other because they require a different kind of intent.  To learn more about this topic click on Visa.

Immigration Award for Community Service

I wanted to share this article published in the Post Standard on Saturday, June 28, 2014.  The American Immigration Lawyers Association presented an award to me at their annual conference in Boston for my work  in helping to start an immigration clinic in Syracuse, NY. I am very honored to receive this award and appreciate the help in spreading the word about the immigration clinic in Syracuse.



Diane Chappell-Daly Selected to Receive Maggio Pro Bono Award

May 13, 2014: I am happy to share the exciting news that I have been selected to receive this year’s Michael Maggio Memorial Pro Bono Award! This award is presented annually by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to one attorney, law firm, or non-profit entity nationally in recognition of their outstanding efforts in providing pro bono representation to deserving aliens in the immigration field.

I was nominated for this award based on my work with the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP)  in helping to start  an Immigration Clinic in Onondaga County.  Thank you  to the VLP Program, the Upstate AILA Chapter, and our local immigration attorneys in central NY for helping to make this clinic a success. The Immigration Clinic provides free consultations with an immigration lawyer to those who have immigration questions.

It has been a pleasure to work with the VLP to start the Immigration Clinic. I hope that it will serve as a much needed immigration legal resource to those in our community who are struggling with immigration issues. The next clinic will take place on May 31, 2014 from 10AM – 1PM in the Catholic Charities C.Y.O. Building ( at 529 N. Salina Street, Syracuse NY 13208). If you would like to make an appointment to attend the clinic or if you have further questions about this program, please call the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project at 315-579-2576.

I-9 Information for Employers

April 30, 2014: The Dept. of Homeland Security has begun issuing electronic arrival/departure cards to travelers entering the US.  This means that non-immigrants entering the US will no longer receive paper I-94 cards. The foreign national may access and print out the electronic I-94, but it will look different than the former I-94 card. This is important to employers because employers are required to document that each new employee is authorized to work in the US by maintaining a completed I-9 for each employee.  An I-94 form is one of the documents that an employee may produce to verify employment authorization.  Since the printed electronic I-94 looks different than the paper I-94, employers might be confused about what document to accept for proof of employment authorization.   The paper I-94 card will have an original stamp and writing on it.  The printout of the electronic I-94 will have no original writing or stamps.  Both paper versions and printouts of the electronic I-94 are acceptable. For more information on completing I-9 forms watch  this  short video provided by USCIS :

Tips for Choosing an Immigration Lawyer

April 22, 2014: Questions to Ask before Choosing an Immigration Lawyer

1.  How long has the lawyer been practicing in the area of immigration law.  It is a common practice for lawyers to state that they have been licensed to practice law for a specific number of years, without including the information that the amount of time they have been practicing in the area of immigration law is less than this amount of time.

2. Look for evidence of professional standing.  Has the lawyer published articles, spoken at professional associations, received recognition from others in the profession?

3. Does the lawyer use retainer agreements that clearly spell out the services that will be provided and the fees that will be charged?

4. Does the lawyer provide educational programs, or educational materials on immigration law topics?

5. Does the lawyer employ staff that are polite and helpful on the phone?

6. Does the lawyer have experience in the particular area of immigration for which you need help?  For example, some immigration lawyers exclude employment immigration, or representation in immigration court, from their practice.

For more tips click on choosing an immigration lawyer

I am an undocumented immigrant. What can I do now to prepare for possible changes in the law?

April 18, 2014: If you are in the US without immigration papers, or if your immigration papers have expired, you may be an undocumented (sometimes called “illegal”) immigrant. You may not be able to file any immigration papers now, but it is possible that the law may change in the future to provide a path to legalization for those who are undocumented. To learn more about what kinds of papers you should start saving, click on path to legalization.

What is Two-Year (Conditional) Residence?

April 9, 2014:  What is a Two-Year Green Card? There is an important difference between conditional residence and permanent residence.  When you receive a green card based on marriage to a US citizen, in most cases, you receive conditional residence.  This means that you and your US citizen spouse will need to file papers to remove this condition from your card within two years of the date that your green card was approved.  This is different from permanent residence, or a green card not based on marriage to a US citizen, or based on a marriage to a US citizen that took place more than two years before filing a green card application. Read more  at Two-year green card.

Permanent Residence (Green Cards) May Not be Permanent

April 3, 2014: Once you have your green card, you have permission to live and work in the US indefinitely.  You may however lose your green card status under certain circumstances.  For example, many kinds of convictions can make deportable.  This means you would be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings in immigration court.  You would have to defend your self against being deported.  In some cases, there may no defense to these charges. This issue can also come up every time you cross the border to return to the US.  You may be found to be be inadmissible based on a conviction.  This means that you may not be able to re-enter the US

Another way that you can lose your green card status is by leaving the US without having enough proof of your intention to return to the US to live. This issue comes up when you return to the US from a trip abroad.  This includes trips to Canada. The longer you stay out of the country, the more customs inspectors will question you about the purpose of your trip and your ties abroad versus ties to the US.

For more information on how to maintain your status as a green card holder click on green card.