How can I apply for Asylum in the U.S?

What is an Asylum?

Did you come to the U.S for protection or for fear that you may suffer persecution? This issue happen more than people think! Typical issues include race, religion, nationality membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. If you have suffered from any of these, you may be eligible to apply for Asylum for permission to stay in the U.S!

What does it allow? Need more information, click here. 

  1. Permission to work in the U.S
  2. Allowing permission for family in the U.S
  3. Filing for Permanent resident card

(Find detailed information, clicking here. )


How can I apply for Asylum in the United States?

According to USCIS, there are two way to do it, either through the affirmative process or the defensive process.


Affirmative Asylum

In order to do this, you must already be in the U.S, regardless of how you arrived into the U.S or resident status.


You must apply for asylum within one year of the date of their last arrival in the United States, unless you can show:

  • Changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing
  • You filed within a reasonable amount of time given those circumstances.


What form do I need?

I-589, “Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.” Click here for form. 

What does this mean? 

Formally known as “Withholding of deportation,” this form is typically to withhold removal.

Who can apply?

  • If you are physically in the U.S
  • Not a U.S citizen

What is the process for an Affirmative Asylum?

USCIS says…

  1. Arrive in U.S
  2. Apply for the I-589 application
  3. Background Checks, Security checks, and finger printing
  4. Receive Interview notice
  5. Interview
  6. Wait for Asylum officer to approve/deny case
  7. Receive decision

Still confused? Read more here.

Be aware that if your case is not approved, you will be issued a Form I-862 to conduct a review and hearing by a judge (Executive Office for Immigration Review), instead of USCIS.

Defensive Asylum

“A defensive application for asylum occurs when you request asylum as a defense against removal from the U.S. For asylum processing to be defensive, you must be in removal proceedings in immigration court with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).” -USCIS

Also, is processed in two ways…

  1. Individuals were considered ineligible for the affirmative asylum process
  2. Individuals were placed in removal after being caught at entry of port or trying to enter the U.S without legal documentation.

Judge with then decide whether they are eligible for defensive asylum..


We strongly recommend you seek professional help to go through the process of applying for Asylum. Immigration attorney Sean Lewis has a vast experience in Asylum cases and will fight for you!


Image from:


How do I get a Fiancé Visa?


So you want a Fiancé Visa?

Found love in a different place? We get it, it happens! Now, what should you do? Well, here’s what you need to know…

What is a Fiancé Visa?

A fiancé visa allows you to file a I-129F, allowing you, an U.S citizen, permission to bring over your foreign fiancé in order to get married.

Who is eligible?

  1. U.S citizens. Only citizens may be able to apply for their Fiancé visa (if you need information on how to become a U.S Citizen, click here)
  2. After admission into the U.S, couple must intend to marry within 90 days of arrival.
  3. All previous marriages from both side must be legally terminated and both individuals must be free to marry.
  4. Within two years of filing application, both U.S citizen and fiancé have met at least once.

What’s the cost?

Cost varies depending on different cases, consult with Sean Lewis before sending in your application.


According to, fees include…

    • Filing an Alien Fiancé(e) Petition, Form I-129F
    • Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, Form DS-160 (required for each K visa applicant)
    • Medical examination (required for each K visa applicant; costs vary from post to post)
    • Other costs may include translation and photocopying charges, fees for getting the documents required for the visa application (such as passport, police certificates, birth certificates, etc.), and travel expenses to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an interview. Costs vary from country to country and case to case.
    • Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status

What’s the application process? Need more information? Click here. 

Basic steps include:

  1. Filing a I-129F to petition fiance
  2. Applying for Visa Application
  3. Inspection at a Port of Entry
  4. Marriage
  5. Status Change – Permanent Residency

How do I learn about getting a Social Security card?

Click here.

What’s the timeline?

Although everyone wants to know an exact timeline, there isn’t. The process varies case to case. Not to mention, how correct the paperwork and forms are filled out. Process can take longer if a form is missing or filled out incorrectly, therefore, in order to ensure a quicker process, consult with Sean Lewis.

What comes after permanent residence?

On a “regular basis” there are requirements that allow for naturalization…

What are those requirements?

According to USCIS…

  1. Continuous residence: Live in the United States as a permanent resident for a specific amount of time.
  2. Physical presence: Show that you have been physically present in the United States for specific time periods.
  3. Time in state or USCIS district: Show that you have lived in your state or USCIS district for a specific amount of time.
  4. Good moral character: Show that you have behaved in a legal and acceptable manner.
  5. English and civics: Know basic English and information about U.S. history and government.
  6. Attachment to the Constitution: Understand and accept the principles of the U.S. Constitution.


Want to read more about this? Check out this PDF, page 101.


In need of an Artist Visa?

Are you an aspiring musician wishing to play in the United States?

Sean Lewis, a musician himself, knows the importance in music and would love to help fulfill your dream here.

Sean Lewis started his life as a musician at the age of 17 and has played in bands, most famous: London – D’Priest 



So you want a artist visa? Let’s begin with..






What is an artist visa?

Individuals with “Extraordinary Ability or Achievement” that are nonimmigrant. It’s okay if you aren’t Beyonce and don’t have 22 awards or 63 nominations from Grammy awards. Thankfully, you can still apply for an artist visa with any international or national achievements you may have.  

Who is eligible? See more here.

  1. O-1A: individuals who have extraordinary talent in athletics, business, or education (excluding arts).
  2. O-1B: Including arts like motion pictures or in the television industry, individuals with extraordinary talent or achievements.
  3. O-2: Individuals helping O-1A/B. Must prove that they are essential in individuals event or performance.
  4. O-3: Spouses of O-1A/B and O-2.

What’s the cost?

Cost may vary. Make sure to first consult with Sean Lewis to as many fees can apply with processing.

What is the application process?

For O-1’s:

  1. Petition to file form I-129, “Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker”
  2. Provide evidence including:
    1. Consultation
    2. Contract between the beneficiary and petitioner
    3. Itineraries (Must begin 1 year before said event)
    4. Any involving agents

What’s the timeline?

Process can vary from 10 days to 6 months depending on the approval of application. If limited in time, individual can expedite and pay fee to fast track the application. 

How long can I stay? Can I extend it if need be?

Typically can be up to 3 years. Yes, but must go through similar documentation as before with a statement explaining the extension.

If you interested in learning more, contact us at 615-226-4236 for more information!

Want to read more about artist visas? Click here.

Immigration Enforcement Has Students Fearful and Depressed

Schools are not safe from the fallout generated by the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement, a UCLA survey finds.

By Suzanne Gamboa / 


 WASHINGTON — Teachers and educators across the country say President Donald Trump’s strict stance on immigration has created palpable fear in the classroom, with students missing classes, letting grades slip and exhibiting emotional and behavioral problems amid fear of losing family to deportation.

The findings were contained in a report released Wednesday by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, which surveyed more than 730 schools in 24 districts in 12 states about the impact of the administration’s immigration enforcement measures on teaching and learning.

Researchers found that 64 percent of the 5,400 teachers, administrators and other school personnel who responded said they had observed students who were concerned about immigration issues that may affect them, their families or people they know.

“We have one student who had attempted to slit her wrists because her family has been separated and she wants to be with her mother,” one Maryland teacher told researchers, who promised anonymity to respondents. “She literally didn’t want to live without her mother.”

Another teacher told of checking up on a student who was not eating or talking. The girl’s friends said she had come home from the prom “to find her mom deported and never had the chance to say goodbye or anything,” according to the report.

Experts elaborated on the findings of the research in a news conference on Wednesday.

 The report notes that 88 percent — almost nine in ten — U.S. children with at least one immigrant parent are American citizens. For children under 5, the share goes up to 94 percent, according to research by the Migration Policy Institute.

Patricia Gándara, co-director of Civil Rights Project, said researchers started the survey after increasingly hearing from school personnel about problems in schools stemming from the administration’s talk and action on immigration.

The hardest-hit schools are already struggling with achievement gaps and often are the poorest, according to the survey. Although they weren’t targeted, 82 percent of the respondents are associated with Title 1 schools — those with high numbers or shares of poor children.

“The schools that are the most vulnerable in this country are also the ones being hit hard with the unintended consequences of this immigration enforcement,” Gándara said, “and until we do something about that, those schools are going to continue to suffer.”

Schools in the South were most affected. More than one of seven educators in the South and one in eight nationally, reported that students’ learning was significantly affected because of their concern over classmates’ being deported.

“This is affecting everybody,” Gándara said. “Other kids in the classroom, in the school, these are their friends, and their classmates are walking into the classroom and seeing empty chairs.”

Justin Minkel, who was Arkansas Teacher of the Year in 2007 and teaches first-graders, said all of his students are immigrants, with some documented and some not. About 99 percent of students in his school are poor, he said.

“There are a lot of heartbreaking cases,” he said.

One of his students this year is 6 and his mother can’t get health care because she is not here legally. Her kidneys are failing. She struggles daily with whether to go back to Mexico to get care and risk being able to return to her child.

Students feel the effect of the president’s rhetoric on immigrants at a “visceral” level, he said. One young student he found crying soon after Trump’s election told him she and her mom would have to put their things in a bag that night in case they were forced to leave.

“I always kind of think our job is to help kids live the lives they dream. It goes so far beyond teaching, reading and writing and math. It’s making them feel safe,” Minkel said. “There is a real feeling of not being safe.”

He said the school superintendent has been supportive and has told the district personnel that where the children come from doesn’t matter, because “once they walk through the door they are our children.”

Lupita Ley Hightower, superintendent at Tolleson Elementary School District in Tolleson, Arizona, said teachers often call her about how to console or counsel students “in crisis” over immigration because she was once undocumented herself.

She said her school has a number of programs to help ease fears, including working with parents to provide information about their rights, connecting students seen as anxious or depressed with an individual “caring adult,” training teachers and encouraging children to “time travel” to see themselves in reaching their future dreams. She said they refer to their children as kids at hope, rather than kids at risk.

Her school district is more experienced in dealing with the effects of immigration crackdowns having experienced former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and SB1070, a law the state passed that widened local officials’ immigration enforcement powers.

“We really try to create the safest atmosphere in school for parents and the community,” Hightower said.


 In this Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, photo released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, foreign nationals are arrested during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Los Angeles. (Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP) Charles Reed / AP

Dan Domenech, executive director of AASA, the School Superintendents Association, said the immigration enforcement fallout is being raised at association meetings.

Children come to school in tears, worried that their parents will be taken away and that immigration officers are going to come into the school and arrest them, Domenech said. Children are also dealing with backlash from other students who taunt them, he said, such as chanting “build the wall,” which was often heard at Trump’s campaign rallies and speeches.

“The atmosphere in school is certainly affected and charged,” Domenech said. “Students are very much being impacted by this. They live in fear.”

That adds to the litany of issues educators are dealing with, including school shootings and anxiety over loss of health care. Although Congress eventually funded the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, potential cuts to Medicare funding have put about $4 billion in funding for special education in jeopardy, Domenech said.

Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, said at Wednesday’s news conference that a second grade teacher from Colorado sought her advice on explaining the behavior of one of her students to his classmates.

“She said one of my students comes to school every day – this is a kindergarten student – with what he calls ‘all my special things in case they come to get me.’ She said ‘How do I explain to the other kindergartners what he is afraid of?'”

She added later, “For the first time in history, the children of our country are afraid of our president … it’s why they are turning to us, it’s why they are turning to their teachers, to someone they can trust,” she said.

Gándara said the survey found teachers, counselors and administrators are also feeling stress and anxiety because of what their students are facing and the atmosphere they’re trying to educate in.

Many respondents said they had students with family members who had been deported and the deportations were known to the entire class and community, which reinforced fears about students’ own safety or of their friends.

Educators also said one or both parents of some students have been deported or lost a job because of their immigration status, making things even worse for some students.

“I want to tell them things will be all right, to make them feel better, but I know I cannot truthfully say this,” one teacher said in the survey. “Things may not be all right.”

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Eighty percent of respondents said they had seen behavioral or emotional problems in students as a result of stepped-up immigration enforcement. The problems were usually described as crying, being unable to speak, being distracted or feeling depressed.
  • A clear majority (57.4 percent) of respondents said they are seeing increased absenteeism, which can affect school funding. Respondents reported students hiding for days while news of raids circulated. By skipping school, some children miss the only meal they may get that day.
  • More than 60 percent of respondents reported some decline in academic performance in students, although they also reported notable resilience in spite of the circumstances. Teachers reported seeing grades plummet among students who had been high achievers or had been working toward college.
  • Students are going to work to help support families or take on a missing parent’s duties. For example, one fourth-grade teacher in the Northeast told researchers that her student “told me that her mom is teaching her how to make food and feed her baby sister in case the mom is taken away.”
  • More than 85 percent of teachers and administrators reported increased of their own anxiety and stress over what their students’ are going through. They also reported a sense of helplessness. One elementary school administrator told the researchers he found himself “lying awake at night over whether I should offer to take temporary custody of a child or children in the event that their parents are deported unexpectedly, and that is emotionally exhausting in an entirely new way. 


“Racism & Hate Inspires Shy Student Immigrant to Find Voice Through Poetry” -TENNESSEAN

By: Jessica Bliss

“The day Monserrat Escobar Arteaga walked through the Boston airport, she changed.

Shy and soft-spoken, Arteaga always considered herself an introvert. She was sheltered. Used to going unnoticed.

Yet on the day the teen traveled to Germany for a once-in-a-lifetime student exchange trip, she was seen in a way she never hoped to be.

As she stood in line to board the plane, a man nearby sized up her Mexican passport.

“You don’t belong here,” he said venomously. “Go to the gate for Mexico.”

That’s when something in her shifted. Anger. Fear. Frustration. It all surfaced at once.

“I decided I was sick and tired of being quiet all the time,” Arteaga said.

Now, 17-year-old Arteaga speaks up — through poetry.

This fall, she was named a finalist for 2018’s Nashville Youth Poet Laureate, which gives a voice to young writers in the community.

She writes about topics that make people uncomfortable. Immigration. Racism. What it’s like to be Hispanic.

 She shares the story not only of the day she left the United States to travel abroad and the turmoil she experienced trying to return to it — but also of the fear that has visited her ever since.

Seeking something better

Arteaga was just 4 years old the day her mother braided the little girl’s hair and crossed the border to the United States.

The family was from Hildalgo, a providence in the countryside north of Mexico City. Her parents met when they were both waiters at a restaurant, but life was hard.

Mexico City was a place of high rent and low wages. A place where a kilo of eggs, similar to our dozen, may cost 30 pesos to buy on an 80-peso-a-day wage.

It was also a place where a mother feared for her daughter. Where a girl could easily be swept off the street into drug or sex trafficking trade.

The Arteagas sought something better for their family.

They found it in Nashville.

Freedom of speech, freedom to travel

A child with a vivid imagination, Arteaga embraced creativity. Quietly.

For a school test in fifth grade, she was asked to write a simple story about unicorns. She went all out, creating a complex plot with the magical creatures saving an island.

In high school at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet, that spirit strengthened.

Sophomore year, she had a teacher who would read and write about poetry. She encouraged Arteaga to write a piece, and she gave her a notebook to put her thoughts.

It was a safe space for her expression, especially in a world where she felt judged for what she looked like and where she was from. Too American to return to Mexico, too Mexican to be accepted in America.

“I felt oppressed,” she says, “but that notebook gave me a bit more liberty to express myself.

“America has such strong freedom of speech. I could be more open.”

She longed for the openness of other spaces too, for the adventure of the stories she read and she wrote.

In school, they offered students five languages. All her friends said she should take Spanish because she would pass easily. But Arteaga, already fluent in her family’s native language, wanted to push herself.

That’s how she ended up learning German and embarking overseas.

A DACA student abroad

For mom Gabriela Arteaga Zamora, the trip was a leap of faith.

Her daughter is a DACA student, part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

“I didn’t really choose to come to the United States,” Arteaga said. “It was more of a necessity.”

Such status has always left Zamora with feelings of unease. And recently, with the news that President Donald Trump’s administration plans to scrap the DACA program in early 2018 unless Congress intervenes, the future is even more uncertain.

But Zamora came to the United States to give her children opportunity, and the chance for her daughter to study abroad was one she could not pass up.

So they set about securing the necessary documents.

To travel out of the country, Arteaga had to have an advance parole, which is a permit that said even as a non-citizen she could be admitted back to the United States — under a TSA officer’s discretion.

It showed the dates and countries to which she planned to travel.

And it accompanied her Mexican passport.

‘You’re not supposed to be here’

The first stop en route to Germany was Iceland, via Boston.

Slightly nervous but overwhelmingly excited, Arteaga approached the plane, documents in hand.

That’s when the man saw her. He was of retirement age, a person who looked like he has seen his share of the world. More well-rounded, she assumed, than she.

And he was scolding her.

“You’re not supposed to be here,” he said. “Go back.”

She was bewildered, scared.

“But it gave me the courage to finally speak up,” she said.

She didn’t do it that day. Not to that man.

And for a moment upon her return, she thought she may never get the chance.

The power of prayer

It was a trip of a lifetime.

Delicious candies. Incredible thermal pools. Amazing bookstores with special kid-sized doors. Majestic cathedrals that blew her away.

“I know it’s weird,” she said, “but I have always been called undocumented or an illegal alien. Being called a tourist was a nice refresh.”

But when it was time to re-enter the United States, the joy disappeared.

While her American classmates went through one security line, Arteaga was forced into another. She was told to follow a blue line and wait for a security officer.

She had only her passport and travel documents, her cell phone, and a bag of German chocolates.

She wasn’t allowed to make any calls. Another woman cried nearby. Arteaga was nervous.

When a TSA officer finally appeared, Arteaga was led to an office that looked like a janitor’s closet and questioned.

“I basically had to tell my whole life story,” she said.

She wasn’t sure she would ever see her family again.

The officer eventually let her onto the plane flight home.

Arteaga had been gone three weeks.

“God blessed us,” Zamora said in Spanish, her daughter translating for her.

A soul that spills out through a pen’s ink

Zamora feels helpless sometimes.

She hasn’t mastered the English language, but she wants to give her children a future.

She sells advertising for a Spanish-language newspaper. She has started a small business with her husband.

She has two other children, a younger boy and girl, both American citizens.

Life is better for all of them here.

She says knows she is in a country that is “not hers,” but she wants her oldest child to be able to call it her own.

That is hard for Arteaga sometimes. She can feel segregated, even at school. When she’s out shopping, she feels like people stare at the color of her skin.

“It’s gotten to the point where I think: ‘Oh my gosh, I am truly an alien because I am not from here or from there.’

“It’s really frightening.”

But no longer is she silent. In her poetry, she writes about her disquiet, her fears. She shares hope for acceptance and understanding.

“Through the pen,” she said, “my soul just spills out through the ink.

“Poetry doesn’t really have a race or discrimination.

“When people think poetry they think Shakespeare, but the poetry I write isn’t meant to be read. it’s meant to be heard.

“I just want people to hear.”

Not quietly. Loud.

Reach Jessica Bliss at 615-259-8253 and or on Twitter @jlbliss.” 


“White House to Push Merit-Based Immigration in New Campaign” – PBS

WASHINGTON — The White House is embarking on a major campaign to turn public opinion against the nation’s largely family-based immigration system ahead of an all-out push next year to move toward a more merit-based structure.

The administration was laying the groundwork for such a drive even before an Islamic State-inspired extremist who was born in Bangladesh tried to blow himself up in Midtown Manhattan on Monday. It is assembling data to bolster the argument that the current legal immigration system is not only ill-conceived, but dangerous and damaging to U.S. workers.

“We believe that data drives policy, and this data will help drive votes,” said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, for what the administration considers, “common sense America-first immigration controls the president has proposed.”

White House officials outlined their strategy this week exclusively to The Associated Press, and said the data demonstrates that changes are needed immediately. But their effort will play out in a difficult political climate, as even Republicans in Congress are leery of engaging in a major immigration debate ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Critics have questioned the administration’s selective use of sometimes misleading data in the past.
The issue is expected to be prominently featured in the president’s Jan. 30 State of the Union address. The White House also plans other statements by the president, appearances by Cabinet officials and a push to stress the issue in conservative media.

The administration was beginning its campaign Thursday with a blog post stressing key numbers: Department of Homeland Security data that shows nearly 9.3 million of the roughly 13 million total immigrants to the U.S. from 2005 to 2016 were following family members already in the United States. And just one in 15 immigrants admitted in the last decade by green card entered the country because of their skills.

Other planned releases: a report highlighting the number of immigrants in U.S. jails, assessments of the immigration court backlog and delays in processing asylum cases, and a paper on what the administration says is a nexus between immigration and terrorism.

Critics have questioned the administration’s selective use of sometimes misleading data in the past.

The proposed move away from family-based immigration would represent the most radical change to the U.S. immigration system in 30 years. It would end what critics and the White House refer to as “chain migration,” in which immigrants are allowed to bring a chain of family members to the country, and replace it with a points-based system that favors education and job potential — “merit” measures that have increasingly been embraced by some other countries, including Britain.

Gidley said that for those looking to make the case that the U.S. is ill-served by the current system, “transparency is their best friend.”

“The more people know the real numbers, the more they’ll begin to understand that this is bad for American workers and this is bad for American security. And quite frankly, when these numbers come out in totality, we believe it’s going to be virtually impossible for Congress to ignore,” he said.

The public is sharply divided on the types of changes President Donald Trump is advocating.

A Quinnipiac University poll in August found that 48 percent of voters opposed a proposal that Trump has backed to cut the number of future legal immigrants in half and give priority to immigrants with job skills rather than those with family ties in this country. Forty-four percent of those polled — including 68 percent of Republicans — supported the idea.

The White House hopes to see Congress begin to take up the issue early in 2018 — though it has yet to begin discussions with congressional leaders over even the broad strokes of a legislative strategy, officials said.

Trump has laid out general principles for what he would like to see in an immigration bill in exchange for giving legal status to more than 700,000 young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. These include the construction of a border wall, tougher enforcement measures and moving to a more merit-based legal immigration system. In September, Trump gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix to allow the young immigrants known as “Dreamers” to stay in the country, creating an early-2018 crisis point he hopes will force Democrats to swallow some of his hardline demands.

After Monday’s incident in New York and the truck attack there in October, DHS quickly released information on the suspects’ immigration statuses, and Trump amplified his calls for ending the two programs that brought them to the U.S.

For those who have been pushing for an end to chain migration for decades, it’s a welcome push.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, which advocates for lower immigration levels, among other changes, recently began a national radio campaign warning of what it sees as the dangers of chain migration and the diversity visa lottery program. The group has spent close to $1 million over the last month and a half on its campaign.

And NumbersUSA, another group that advocates for lower immigration levels, launched a national six-figure ad campaign Thursday “to educate on Chain Migration categories.”

Guillermo Cantor, research director at the American Immigration Council, counters that the administration is ignoring the benefits of a family-focused immigration system and the values that drove the country to adopt it in the first place.

Research, he said, has shown that allowing immigrants to reunite with their families is one of the best integration tools. And family members bring their own skills, as well as support networks and other benefits, such as help with child care.

“This is a society that’s founded on family values,” Cantor said, arguing that, for many who have become citizens or legal residents, reuniting with siblings and other extended family members is crucial.