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  • Writer's pictureGary O. Haase


As a U.S. citizen married to a Japanese citizen, I am given all kinds of opportunities to look at things from a different perspective.

My wife and I got married more than 10 years ago in California.  Over the years I have attempted to draw from my experience in an international marriage in order to assist others.

Around the time of our wedding, my wife had earned a graduate degree in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa, and she was in the process of completing her optional practical training (OPT).  A U.S. immigration lawyer helped my wife apply for and obtain a green card (permanent resident card).  He introduced us to a strange new world of documents such as Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document), Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support), Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence), and Form AR-11 (Alien’s Change of Address Card).  We became familiar with the roles of an “applicant,” a “petitioner,” a “sponsor,” and a “beneficiary.”  We discovered the significance of originals and copies of various certificates, reference letters, policies, statements, bills, and records.  We satisfied the requirements for fingerprints and photographs, and we learned how important it is to arrive early to scheduled appointments.  We lived through a video-taped interview with an officer from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  And we remember the joy and relief that come with notices of successful petitions and applications.

Even though we eventually ended up leaving the U.S. to live in Japan, we still appreciate how our immigration lawyer treated us and guided us through the U.S. immigration process.  This positive experience with an immigration lawyer is one of the reasons I decided to practice U.S. immigration law in Osaka.  I know how it feels to be concerned about timing issues with U.S. government agencies because my wife and I sat in the client chairs at our immigration lawyer’s office and voiced these same concerns.  We experienced for ourselves how a lawyer can contribute to the petition and application experience.

The U.S. State Department, Visa Office (VO), has described an immigration lawyer’s job as follows: In the sometimes complex world of visas, a good attorney can prepare a case properly, weed out “bad” cases, and alert applicants to the risks of falsifying information presented to the Consular Officer.  The attorney can help the Consular Officer by organizing the case in a logical manner; by clarifying issues of concern; by avoiding duplication of effort (reducing interview time); and by providing the applicant with the necessary understanding of the intricacies of the visa process thereby easing the pressure on consular sections to provide information to the applicant.  Minutes, AILA/VO Liaison Meeting (May 10, 1990), reported in 67 Interpreter Releases, 950, 967, 969-70 (Aug. 27, 1990).

The U.S. Consulate in Osaka is located near GOH Foreign Law Office.  The Consulate processes nonimmigrant visas for temporary travel to the United States.  Examples of nonimmigrant or temporary visas include: F-1 (Academic Student) E-1 (Treaty Trader) E-2 (Treaty Investor) L-1 (Intracompany Transferee) J-1 (Exchange Visitor) H-1B (Specialty Worker) B-1 (Business Visitor) B-2 (Tourist) P (Performing Artist) O-1 (Extraordinary Alien) M-1 (Vocational Student) Q (Cultural Exchange Visitor)


Gary O. Haase is an attorney admitted in California and Japan (licensed foreign attorney).  This article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.  You should contact a qualified legal professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue.  The opinions expressed are those of the individual author and do not reflect the views or opinions of any government agency.


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