Vista Legal Services

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We are a Law Office

At Vista Legal Services we handle every kind of immigration service, including:

  • Family Immigration
  • Citizenship
  • Deportation
  • Waivers
  • U-Visas
  • Visitor Visas
  • Criminal Defense

Serving Los Angeles and Orange Counties and the Inland Empire.


By Attorney Gerald Gornik

Under the law, when a person is in the U.S. illegally for more than a year, then leaves, he is prohibited from returning for ten years unless the government grants a waiver. The waiver is generally the only way to cure the unlawful presence and avoid the ten–year penalty. Of those people who live in the U.S. and must go through consular processing in their country of birth, most will need to have a waiver granted to be successful in getting a green card.

Winning the waiver is critical because a person who has lived in the U.S. for more than a year illegally and then leaves to go to the consular interview cannot return to the U.S. for ten years unless the waiver is granted. And if that person returns without authorization, he or she is ineligible to get a green card—for life.

The waiver must convince the government that the (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) spouse or parent of the immigrant would suffer extreme hardship if the immigrant had to stay out of the U.S for ten years. The task of convincing the Immigration Service that the spouse or parent would suffer extreme hardship is more difficult than it seems. That is because the law requires the hardship to be “extreme”: over and above that which would normally be experienced by a separated family.

The waiver is prepared by me personally, the lawyer, with the help of my legal team. The waiver is more than just a simple form and takes many hours to prepare, if done correctly. The way the hardship is presented through declarations, documents and exhibits make each waiver an individual and substantial piece of work. Our task is to use our skill, imagination, and hard work to make sure the Immigration Service is able to feel and understand the real pain our clients would experience if they were separated from their loved ones.

Many of our clients come to us for the first time after they have submitted a poorly drafted waiver that has already been denied. We welcome anyone to come talk to us about the options and ways to resubmit a new waiver to maximize the chance for success. Vista Legal Services has a great track record because of the care and intelligence we bring to the process of creating a waiver.