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Legal Resources

ISSS cannot provide legal advice and cannot advise you beyond F and J visa matters. There are certain issues that are beyond the scope of ISSS. In these cases, we can lend you general support and advice, but we suggest that you seek professional assistance through an immigration attorney. Please keep in mind that the information we provide on this page and list of immigration law offices are solely as a service to our students and scholars. We are not endorsing or making specific recommendations.

Finding Assistance

Things to consider when hiring a lawyer:  Make sure you are comfortable with the lawyer before retaining his or her services. Do your research, review references, practice history and disciplinary history of any attorney before selecting an attorney to perform legal services. We suggest that you find someone that specializes in the area of law you are requesting assistance with. If you have a question related to permanent residency, for example, make sure that the immigration attorney routinely files permanent residency applications. Make sure to ask whether they will provide an initial consultation before taking on your case, including the costs and payment process.

The Nashville Bar Association Referral and Information Service can assist you with searching for a qualified attorney in the area.

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Legal Problems

If you are summoned to appear in court or are arrested by police, it is recommended that you inform our office, as the situation may affect your immigration status. The most common situation that students and scholars encounter involves driving violations. Depending on the type and severity of the situation, your visa could be automatically revoked, but this does not necessarily cancel your legal status in the U.S.

If you are arrested, it is important that you seek an attorney to resolve your case. A criminal attorney may be consulted on legal rights and procedures, but you may also need to consult with an immigration attorney regarding any implications for your visa status. You may also need to notify your home country’s embassy or consulate. After the case is closed, make sure to keep all records associated with the case.

Other situation of which you may need to seek help of an attorney could be:

  • Removal Proceedings
  • Divorce
  • Permanent Residency not sponsored by Vanderbilt (based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, for example.)

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Immigration Attorneys

ISSS and Vanderbilt University do not endorse or recommend any of the lawyers listed on this page. We are offering their information as a service to anyone seeking immigration lawyer. Every semester, ISSS hosts a few immigration attorneys to speak to our international students and scholars on topics such as “Options after Optional Practical Training” and “Self-Petitioned Pathways to Permanent Residency.” We strongly encourage our students and scholars to attend these workshops if they are interested in staying in the U.S. beyond their current immigration status. It is also a good opportunity to meet with an immigration attorney that is well versed in the specific topic of discussion.

David Ware & Associates
Attorney: David Ware
Saev Hernandez Immigration Practice
Attorneys: Milen Saev & Rose Hernandez
Haas Immigration Law Firm, PLC
Attorneys: Charla S. Haas
Siskind Susser PC
Attorney: Adam Cohen
Law Office of Mario Ramos, PLLC
Attorney: Mario Ramos
Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP
Attorney: Michele G. Madera
Rose Immigration Law Firm
Attorney: Linda Rose
Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. Law Firm
Attorneys: Melissa Nolan
Law Offices of Sean Lewis, PLLC/Music City Visa
Attorney: Sean Lewis,
Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather, L.L.P.
Attorney: Dan Oldenburg,


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Other Legal Resources

Vanderbilt Legal Clinic

Nashville Bar Association

Davidson County Public Defender

Tennessee Justice Center

Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS)

Legal Aid Society

Tennessee: Free Legal Answers

Tennessee Fair Housing Council

Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Tennessee (DLAC)

American Immigration Lawyers Association

American Bar Association

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Notaries & Apostille

A notary public is a person authorized to perform certain legal formalities, esp. to draw up or certify contracts, deeds, and other documents for use in other jurisdictions.

For a list of notaries on the Vanderbilt campus, click here.

An apostille is a certification provided under the Hague Convention of 1961 for authenticating documents for use in foreign countries.

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International students and scholars can be vulnerable targets for criminals impersonating government officials online, via email or by telephone.   An email sender or caller will claim that they are contacting you from U.S. government agency (IRS, ICE, FBI, police, etc.) regarding important, time sensitive matter that requires your immediate attention. These people may try to obtain your personal information and/or threaten you in paying them money. Protect yourself from falling victim to a criminal/scammer.

If you suspect that you have been contacted by an immigration scam, or if you have been a victim of a scam, you should report it immediately to ISSS. Scams should be reported to Federal Trade Commission and they can also be reported to state of Tennessee. Information on common scams and how to report scams can be found on the USCIS website.

SCAM Resources

Protect Yourself from Scams

USCIS: Avoid Scams

IRS tax tip sheet

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