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Maria Mejia-Opaciuch

Maria Mejia-Opaciuch

Senior Counsel

Overview

Maria Mejia-Opaciuch has more than three decades of experience providing comprehensive legal services related to U.S. immigration and nationality law for businesses of all sizes, families, and individuals. Her clients include Fortune 100 companies in the banking, financial services, pharmaceuticals, technology, and specialty chemicals industries. She counsels individuals seeking personal solutions to their immigration needs, holding their hands on personal matters close to their heart. Maria also has guided individuals who wish to abandon their lawful permanent residence or renounce their U.S. citizenship, helping them navigate the requisite applications and interviews as quickly and as discreetly as possible.

Clients and Services

Maria also works with startup entrepreneurs, athletes, entertainers, artists, and musicians seeking to enter the United States temporarily with work visas or seeking to remain in the United States indefinitely with a green card. Furthermore, Maria works closely with foreign students in maintaining their nonimmigrant student status and exploring the varied work visas allowing them to remain in the United States after the completion of their study or training program. Maria also represents family members seeking to obtain U.S. residency on behalf of their parents, children, siblings, or spouses.

Immigration Policies and Compliance Programs

Maria assists corporate clients with their immigration programs and policies. She has extensive experience working with human resources and staffing agencies to bring foreign national employees to the United States and keep them in the country with valid employment authorization on either long- or short-term assignments, using the various nonimmigrant temporary work visas available under U.S. immigration laws. She offers a breadth of knowledge and experience in processing residency applications via the U.S. Department of Labor PERM program and, thereafter, in filing the necessary employment-based petitions with the governing U.S. agencies or via consular processing at the numerous U.S. Consulates overseas.

Maria has designed best practices for regulatory enforcement programs, including Form I-9, E-Verify, no-match, and public access folder record-keeping requirements for H-1B visa holders. Maria has assisted in mock investigations at various company sites to prepare corporate clients for U.S. Homeland Security Investigations or Immigration and Customs Enforcement site visits. She also has trained and educated human resources professionals on I-9 or U.S. Department of Labor compliance and regularly conducts internal I-9 audits to ensure compliance.

Entrepreneurs and Investors

Maria’s services include counseling and preparing EB-5 petitions, and E-1 or E-2 treaty visa petitions for foreign investments as a means to emigrate to the United States; advising and preparing foreigners for a streamlined consular processing experience; and processing nonimmigrant or immigrant waivers for individuals with a prior history of criminal or immigration violations.

Through our immigration practice, the firm can be a one-stop service provider, analyzing the very best options to work, live, or retire in the United States, preparing full and detailed work visa applications, and monitoring the progress through the numerous and varied U.S. government agencies regulating immigration in the United States.

*Admitted only in NY – Practice limited to Immigration Law
 

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Recognition

  • Recipient of the Edward L. Dubroff Memorial Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association for outstanding writing in the field of immigration and nationality law (June 1987)

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Board Member at Large, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), South Florida Chapter (2019-2020)
  • Immigration and Nationality Committee Secretary, New York City Bar Association (1992 -1995)

Speaking Engagements

  • "Practice Pointers and Updates on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Employment-Based Adjustment of Status (AOS) to Membership," South Florida American Immigration Lawyer’s Luncheon, Miami (April 17, 2019).
  • “School’s Out – The J-1, F-1, and M-1 Panel,” 40th Annual South Florida American Immigration Lawyers Association Law Update, Miami (February 28, 2019).
  • “Permanent (Immigrant Visas) Part II: Employment-Based,” PINCUS Professional Education, Immigration 101 South Florida Conference, Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 18, 2018).
  • “Working Visas,” PINCUS Professional Education, Immigration 101 South Florida Conference, Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 18, 2018).
  • “Latest Updates in Employment Law 'Operating Systems' After the First 40 Days,” Carlton Fields In-House Counsel Forum, Orlando, FL (March 2017).
  • "New DHS Rule’s Impact on H-IB Petitions, Grace Periods, and Annual Caps: Practical Insights on Mastering Filing Requirements Ahead of April 1 H-1B Petition Filing Deadline," BLR webinar (February 7, 2017).
  • ACIP, ACEC, AILA, HHRA, LORMAN – private organizations, immigration training sessions and presentations to numerous prospective and present clients (2003-2006).

Credentials

Education
  • Brooklyn Law School (J.D., 1987)
  • Tulane University Law School (1985)
  • New York University (B.A., 1984)
Bar Admissions
  • New York
Languages
  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish

Background

  • Senior Counsel, Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP, New York (2006-2014)
  • Counsel, Fragomen Law Firm, Coral Gables, FL (2003-2006)
  • Counsel, Fragomen Law Firm, New York (1998-2003)
  • Senior Associate, Pavia & Harcourt, New York (1997-1998)
  • Human Resources Attorney, Ciba-Geigy Corp., Tarrytown, NY (1995-1997)
  • Associate Attorney, Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, New York (1990-1995)
  • Associate Attorney, Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke, New York (1989-1990)
  • General Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice Honors Program, New York (1987-1988)

Disclaimer

The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.