Blog : Immigration Practice

Seven Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Named to 2023 ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ List

Seven Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Named to 2023 ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ List

The Best Lawyers in America recognized seven Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys in its 2023 edition. Partners B. Mark Fong, Olivia Serene Lee, Suhi Koizumi, Senior Counsel Dale Minami, and Senior Associate La Verne A. Ramsay made the Best Lawyers list. Associates Lisa P. Mak and Seema Bhatt were selected for Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch.

Lawyers on the Best Lawyers list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers based on professional expertise and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing. The Ones To Watch awards are recognitions given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

Olivia, Suhi, and La Verne were selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It is Olivia’s sixth, Suhi’s fourth, and La Verne’s second listing on The Best Lawyers in America rankings.

Dale and Mark were selected for the Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs list for the tenth year in a row. Seema made the Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch list for the third straight year. In addition to being recognized again in the Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs category, Seema was also listed in the Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs category.

Lisa P. Mak made the Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch list for the second time in the Litigation – Labor and Employment category. Lisa’s ranking represents the firm’s second listing in the employment law category.

These individual awards qualify Minami Tamaki LLP for consideration by the U.S. News/Best Lawyers Best Law Firms list, which is announced in November. The firm has been recognized eight times on the Best Law Firms rankings, which are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. 

Best Lawyers has published its list for more than three decades, striving to earn the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as a reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 75 countries.

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2022 Super Lawyers

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2022 Super Lawyers

We’re proud to announce that nine Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2022. Both Senior Counsels have been named Northern California Super Lawyers for the last 19 consecutive years.

PERSONAL INJURY
Dale Minami (Top 10, 2013-2018; Top 100, 2007-2022; Super Lawyers, 19 years)
B. Mark Fong (Super Lawyers, 13 years)
Seema Bhatt (Rising Stars)

IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAW
Olivia Serene Lee (Super Lawyers, 2 years)
Suhi Koizumi (Super Lawyers, 4 years)
Dian Sohn (Rising Stars)

CONSUMER AND EMPLOYEE RIGHTS
Sean Tamura-Sato (Super Lawyers. 2 years)
Lisa P. Mak (Rising Stars)

CORPORATE/NONPROFIT
Donald K. Tamaki (Super Lawyers, 19 years)

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in California are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive Super Lawyer honors and no more than 2.5 percent are selected to receive the Rising Star recognition.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

PHOTO – Top Row (L-R): Sean Tamura-Sato*, B. Mark Fong*, Olivia Serene Lee*, Suhi Koizumi*; Middle Row (L-R): Lisa P. Mak**, Dale Minami*Top 100, Donald K.Tamaki*, La Verne A. Ramsay; Bottom Row: (L-R): Angela C. Mapa, Dian Sohn**, Seema Bhatt**, David Palmer. Not pictured: Ember Oparowski.*Chosen to 2022 Super Lawyers **Chosen to 2022 Rising Stars

Minami Tamaki Partner Olivia S. Lee Honored with 2022 AILA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award

Minami Tamaki Partner Olivia S. Lee Honored with 2022 AILA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has selected Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Olivia Serene Lee with its 2022 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. AILA’s Annual Awards are the highest recognition of achievement and contributions in the national immigration law community.

AILA is a national association of more than 16,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. The AILA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award is bestowed upon an individual, law firm, law school, nonprofit, or organization in the immigration field that has promoted diversity, equity, and inclusion excellence in the immigration legal profession.

Olivia and other AILA award recipients will be recognized at AILA’s 2022 Annual Conference during the Annual Membership Meeting, which will be held June 16, 2021, at 5:15 p.m. in the Jacob J. Javits Convention Center, New York City.

Olivia is an elected member of the AILA Board of Governors, helping the organization promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Olivia has been part of AILA since 2009, when she joined the Advisory Council of the AILA Northern California chapter. From June 2016 to July 2017, she served as the Chair of AILA Northern California. During that time, the chapter won the Platinum Award, the highest recognition for AILA chapters.

Before her election to the AILA Board of Governors, Olivia served as Chair of the AILA National Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She also currently serves on the American Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. Olivia is frequently invited to serve as faculty on local and national AILA CLE panels on topics such as O-1s, H-1Bs, entrepreneur visa options, and business immigration litigation in federal court.

H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process Completed

H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process Completed

USCIS has completed the H-1B lottery selection process and has completed notifying those selected in the first round of selection. 

If any registration(s) for your company have been selected, you will have received an email from myUSCIS stating that USCIS has taken action on your case.  To review which case(s) were selected, you may log in to your myUSCIS account. 

  • “Selected” means that the case was selected.
  • “Submitted” means that the case will be kept “in reserve” in case any additional numbers become available.  USCIS will not provide final confirmation of non-selection until after September 30. In prior years, USCIS has not provided final confirmation of non-selection until February of the following year.

We have notified any selected beneficiaries in a separate email.  We will move forward with preparing an H-1B petition for those selected beneficiaries.  If we need further information from you, we will be in touch. 

If there are additional rounds of the lottery, we will be in touch once we have any updates.  

Immigration Law Update: H-1B FY2023 Registration

Immigration Law Update: H-1B FY2023 Registration

Over the weekend, USCIS began the process of notifying employers of registrations that were selected in this year’s H-1B lottery. To date, USCIS has not yet confirmed that it is done notifying all selected registrants. There may be additional notifications until March 31, unless USCIS makes an announcement before then, stating that it has completed notifying selected registrants.

Until then, we may have incomplete information about who was selected in this round of this year’s lottery. We are working to notify the lottery results to all selected candidates timely. We thank you for your patience as we wait for USCIS to complete notifying selected registrants.

Webinar: How to Prepare for the H-1B Lottery Registration

Webinar: How to Prepare for the H-1B Lottery Registration

UPDATE: The H-1B lottery registration window will be opening next Tuesday, March 1, 2022 and will close on March 18, 2022. 

Today, we provided a complimentary webinar with a comprehensive overview of the H-1B registration system and guidance on what employers are expected to do as well as the workflow and anticipated timeline.

We would like to provide a recording of our webinar along with copies of the slides that were presented today: 

We would also like to remind you of the information previously provided in our bulletin: https://app.box.com/s/ono6eoaomdgd4v0vn9oyhd7qq4w2u3z8.  This bulletin includes information about cut-off dates for initiating a case and rush fees. 


Please join us to learn more about the H-1B registration system and what you can do to prepare.

We will provide a comprehensive overview of the H-1B registration system and guidance on what employers are expected to do as well as the workflow and anticipated timeline.

For this year’s H-1B lottery registrations, the electronic registration period for participation in the lottery is March 1 through March 18, 2022. USCIS will notify employers of selection by March 31, 2022, and the H-1B petition filing window for selected registrants begins on April 1, 2022.

The webinar will be recorded, and the presentation materials will be made available for clients.
When: Feb. 25, 2022 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Please register in advance for this webinar: [link deleted]

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

H-1B Lottery Registration: Time to Get Started!

H-1B Lottery Registration: Time to Get Started!

It is time to start getting ready for the annual H-1B lottery registration period, which is expected to open sometime in March 2022.  (USCIS has not yet announced exact dates.) 

As a reminder, individuals who have never previously been in H-1B status will need to go through the lottery registration process.  This may include, for example, employees or candidates who are:

  • Working with you pursuant to F-1 OPT/STEM OPT.
  • Working with you pursuant to a dependent EAD based on their spouse’s nonimmigrant status
  • Located outside the U.S.

We have prepared a bulletin providing a detailed overview of the process timeline, deadlines, and important things to know.  Please note that this bulletin will be updated as we receive more information from USCIS regarding exact dates.  (The link to the bulletin will remain the same as it gets updated.) 

Please review our bulletin closely as it contains important information.  Action items for you to be aware of at this time are: 

  1. Please start collecting and providing the names and email addresses of potential candidates now.  We ask that you provide this information by February 1, 2022.  Due to anticipated volume, advance planning is critical.  
  2. Please note that cases initiated on or after February 23, 2022 will be subject to additional surcharges.  Further details are listed in the bulletin linked above.   

If you have candidates who were not selected this year, or if you have provided the names of potential candidates to us throughout the past year, our office will follow up by mid-January. 

We anticipate reaching out to the bulk of H-1B lottery candidates throughout the months of January and February.  In the meantime, please feel free to provide any interested candidates with our flowchart overviewing the process.  The flowchart will be updated once we receive more information from USCIS regarding exact dates.

Thank you, and happy holidays! 

Olivia Serene Lee Authors Article in New Book, ‘Immigration Options for Academics and Researchers’

Olivia Serene Lee Authors Article in New Book, ‘Immigration Options for Academics and Researchers’

Partner Olivia Serene Lee authored the article “Gathering Evidence for Researchers in Private Industry” in the new book Immigration Options for Academics and Researchers, 3rd Ed released in October 2021 by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Olivia is an elected Director on AILA’s national Board of Governors.

Immigration Options for Academics and Researchers, 3rd Ed. breaks down the legal environment of this unique branch of immigration with practice pointers and articles, analyzing it from many different angles, including border and consular issues.

With articles written by AILA attorneys and members of NAFSA, this new third edition includes advice on avoiding and challenging RFEs; tips for handling researchers in the private sector, at public universities and colleges, and in unionized positions; client intakes including developing alternative strategies, avoiding potential pitfalls, and planning efficiently; clear, detailed information on increasingly complicated F and J visas; and reviews of AAO cases involving a variety of academic-related petitions.

Learn more and purchase the book here.

New Regional COVID-19 Travel Ban for Several African Countries

New Regional COVID-19 Travel Ban for Several African Countries

On November 26, 2021, President Biden announced a new COVID-19 public health travel ban from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe in response to the Omicron Variant.

Effective November 29, 2021, at 12:01 am EST, foreign nationals who have been physically present in any of the above-mentioned countries within 14 days of travel to the U.S. will be barred from entry with the exception of the following:

  • U.S. citizens and nationals;
  • U.S. lawful permanent residents;
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents;
  • A foreign national parent or legal guardian of an unmarried U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident under the age of 21;
  • A foreign national sibling of a U.S. citizen of lawful permanent resident, provided they are both unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • A foreign national child, foster child or ward of a U.S. citizen of lawful permanent resident, or a prospective adoptee with IR-4 or IH-4 visa;
  • A foreign national who has been invited by the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the COVID-19 virus;
  • A foreign air or sea crewmember;
  • Certain A, C, E-1 (TECRO or TECO employees), G and NATO nonimmigrants within the scope of section 11 of the UN Headquarters Agreement;
  • A foreign national whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
  • A foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest; and,
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses and children.

Exempt individuals must comply with the existing vaccination and testing requirement.

The CDC website provides updated information regarding testing and vaccine requirements.  The U.S. will accept vaccines that are FDA approved or authorized as well as those that are on the WHO’s emergency use list.

MT Perspective:

The Department of State has not issued guidance how to apply for the “National Interest Exception” to obtain a waiver for the travel ban.

As of November 29, 2021, it is unclear whether the criteria and standards for the previous regional travel bans will apply. It is also unclear whether the Department of State will issue a visa even if the foreign national is subject to the ban and has not been granted a waiver.

MT is closely monitoring the COVID-19 travel ban and restrictions and will continue to provide updates.