Immigration Law with Debbi Klopman



In this week’s episode of Attorney Talk, Ken Thayer interviews Debbi Klopman, who is a New York attorney that practices in the area of immigration law. Debbi handles migrant visas in employment and family-based categories; she also handles matters under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). During the show, Ken and Debbie discuss immigration law, visa requirements, time restrictions, the two-step process, who makes the decisions, and what it’s like working as an immigration lawyer.


  • What is immigration law?
  • Why is there a visa requirement, and what is a visa?
  • Why isn’t a passport considered enough documentation, and why is there a need to have a visa?
  • What happens if someone is in the US and wants to stay permanently?
  • What do you do to guide your clients through the visa process?
  • Is there any litigation involved in immigration law, or is it more transactional?
  • Who makes the final decision on what visas are approved or denied?
  • How do you deal with the language barrier?


Immigration Law

  • Immigrant visas are when people can stay permanently in the United States. This is known as the Green Card.
  • Non-immigrant visas can be anything from an investor visa, students, tourists, H-1B workers (specialty visas that require a college degree).
  • Deferred action is a promise from the government not to deport them for 2 years and they get work permission.
  • The U visa is for victims and covers victims of a crime who are without status in the US, and does everything they can to bring the criminal to justice.
  • ESTA is an online visa application for visa waiver countries, which allows people to apply for visitor visa status.
  • The USCIS is the immigration services for the United States, and is under the Department of Homeland Security.

Visa Requirements

  • A visa is permission to enter the country and has two categories, being immigrant or non-immigrant.
  • If you are outside the US, then you must go to the US Consulate in your country to get the appropriate visa to enter the United States.
  • There is a lot of scrutiny with regards to security and attention paid to whether you mean individual visa criteria.

Visa Time Restrictions

  • Non-immigrant visas have a defined period of time. The H-1B visa maximum is 3 years that is extendable to 6.
  • The visas for film and the arts are restricted to the projects and the time it takes to complete the project.

Two Step Process

Step 1: Occurs in the USA at the USCIS. Applications go here first to ensure the intending non-immigrant meets the criteria to obtain the visa.

Step 2: Occurs at the US Consulate and involves an in-person interview.

  • If someone is already inside the US, there is a way to change status.

 Who Makes the Decisions?

  • Examiners at the USCIS make the decision to approve or a request for evidence.
  • If you pay an additional $1,225, you can get a response within two weeks. This will be an approval or request for evidence. In these cases, the communication is better, as it can be done via email or phone.
  • The system is not transparent, and it is not known who makes the decision on each visa.

Working as an Immigration Lawyer

  • This is a federal practice, so not exclusive to New York.
  • Debbi has international clients and meets with people on the phone, via Skype, and in-person.
  • The fee is charged on how many hours it will take to do the work. A fee agreement is put in place with certain contingencies.


Debbi Klopman


Visas for Investing



What’s involved in being an immigration lawyer? Find out w/ @NYvisalawyer @gaylordpoppllc


What is the visa process for non-immigrants? Find out w/ immigration lawyer @NYvisalawyer @gaylordpoppllc

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