Maria del Carmen Ramos

Partner, Immigration Practice Co-Administrator

Clients across multiple industries frequently turn to Maria for her knowledge and experience in counseling on immigration issues. What makes Maria such a sought-after immigration lawyer? Twice named Tampa’s top immigration lawyer, Maria understands that immigration law is a way for employers to move human capital, including workers’ knowledge, talent, skills, experience, and training, around the world.

Most employers rightly view U.S. immigration law as a labyrinth-an elaborate, confusing set of rules that are all but impossible to navigate. But with nearly two decades of experience navigating the immigration statutes, regulations, and policy guidance, Maria is able to help employers efficiently and cost-effectively move employees where they need them, when they need them.

To do so, Maria takes a holistic approach to counseling clients. By taking time to understand her clients’ needs and objectives at the outset, Maria is able to properly counsel her clients on the immigration options available to them, whether it be a business visa (E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, H-3, L, O, P, R, and TN), investment visa (E-2, EB-5, etc.), or permanent residence. By carefully building her clients’ immigration cases early on, Maria sees fewer requests for evidence, which ultimately mean faster and less expensive processing for her clients.

Aside from helping employers move workers around the world, Maria also helps employers comply with their I-9 obligations. Among other things, Maria routinely conducts compliance audits for clients to determine if they are properly verifying their employees’ eligibility to work in the United States (I-9 compliance). By conducting these audits, Maria can help employers avoid thousands of dollars in fines and penalties.

While she prides herself on her substantive expertise of tackling some of the most difficult immigration cases, Maria believes clients come to her for a much simpler reason: her availability and willingness to bring value to her clients.

When she is in the office, you will get Maria on the line because she works on her own files. When she is not available, she responds to calls and emails promptly.

Maria also takes the time to educate her clients, (often the human resource employees are given the thankless task of managing the clients’ immigration needs), on the immigration process. She also co-authors the Immigration Bulletin, an immigration blog read by Fortune 100 companies and small businesses alike, which keeps clients and potential clients abreast of the latest immigration developments. In fact, Maria has twice won JD Supra’s Reader’s Choice Award for her blogging. Sure, sometimes Maria’s willingness to educate her clients means less work or fewer fees for her, but she believes if you do right by your clients, they will keep coming back.

Speaking of doing right, Maria believes it is important to give back to the community. She was one of the original chairs of the firm’s Leadership Shumaker program during her tenure, raising more than $60,000 for Tampa Bay area charities. Maria has also been the chair of the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Immigration Section, a fellow of The Florida Bar Leadership Academy, and on the Board of Directors for the Central Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

In her free time, she loves spending time with her two young daughters and her husband. Before becoming a mom, Maria, a native of Puerto Rico, enjoyed traveling to Western Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Since becoming a mom, her international travel has been limited to visiting the countries of Epcot.

Recent Media

  • Maria was contacted on a Saturday morning by a major league baseball team that had just signed a coveted international free agent. The team needed the player in the United States immediately. Time was of the essence. On short notice, Maria helped the team obtain a visa for the player so he could come to the United States.
  • Maria had a dentist whose petition for an immigrant visa was denied because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) incorrectly concluded he wasn’t working full-time. Maria successfully appealed the denial to the Administrative Appeals Office. The client is now on his way to getting his green card. Maria handles a large volume of H-1B visas for a dental management group and routinely helps the dentists on H-1B visas obtain green cards.
  • Maria had a client whose Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) application was audited by the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL challenged one of the job requirements: a successful application had to have traveled to Israel. Because the job was with a non-profit religious organization, Maria was able to successfully argue that trips to Israel were normal for the occupation, leading to the PERM application being certified.She has also successfully defended against PERM audits on a variety of other issues.
  • Maria obtained an O-1A visa for a professional bowler. Maria was able to convince USCIS that the bowler’s extraordinary ability was necessary to his position as a bowling research specialist for a leading manufacturer of bowling supplies. Maria has also been successful in obtaining O-1A visas (extraordinary ability) for a wide range of foreign nationals, including a professional singer, a business executive, a church music director, and others.
  • Maria has helped various entrepreneurs obtain business visas (L-1) and investments visas (E-2 and E-B5), so they can fulfill their goal of setting up and running a U.S. office or business.
  • Maria has helped large national and international manufacturers, hospitals, dental and physician management companies; and software and health care technology companies obtain immigrant and non-immigrant visas for foreign workers.
  • Maria helped an Iranian national who was detained at the airport because of the travel ban. The Iranian national, who had been issued a green card, was forced to return to his home country. After working for several weeks with her congressional representatives, Maria was waiting at the airport when her client re-entered the country.

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