Vonda Vandaveer

Vonda K. Vandaveer is an immigration lawyer with a practice based in the Washington, DC area. She taught a course called “Introduction to Immigration Law” at Solo Practice University®. Vonda is also teaching two mini-courses: “How To Build An International Law Practice” and “How to Build a Portable Law Practice”. View Course Information

Vonda K. Vandaveer is admitted to practice law in California and Washington, DC. Her practice is based in the Washington, DC area, where she represents clients in their international business transactions, U.S. government contracting efforts, and immigration matters.

While living in Tunisia and Brussels for the last six years, she has worked virtually with her law office in the United States.

Prior to opening her own practice, Ms. Vandaveer worked at law offices in Atlanta, GA and Kuwait, City, Kuwait. In addition to private practice, she has worked at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on rule of law and capacity building in the justice sector and at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina in the consular section.

She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and American Bar Association, has served as Vice-Chair of the ABA’s Humanitarian Law Committee of the Section of International Law, and is published in the ABA’s publications Middle East Commercial Law Developments and International Lawyer.

She also has received professional training in consular processing at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute and has performed consular services at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Prior to earning her law degree and license, Ms. Vandaveer worked for 10 years as a journalist on the east and west coasts of the United States, winning awards for her news coverage.

Ms. Vandaveer earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and her law degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.

Course Information

Vonda is teaching three courses. Click on a tab below to view the syllabus for each course.

Syllabus – Introduction to Immigration Law

Big Picture

  • Practice area overview
  • Visa types (immigrant and nonimmigrant)
  • Immigration organizational structure (roles of the agencies)
  • The law and resources
  • Admissions process
  • Visa vs. I-94
  • Nonimmigrant visa application process
  • B1/B2 visa eligibility criteria
  • Visa vs. Visa Waiver Program
  • 214(b)
  • 221(g)

NIVs Part II: F-1 Student Visa

  • Change of Status
  • Extension of status
  • 30/60/90 Rule
  • Maintenance of status
  • Unlawful presence
  • F1 student visa
  • Duration of Status (D/S)

NIVs Part III: H-1B Work Visa

  • Eligibility criteria
    • BA vs. MA for category
    • ETA
    • Job zones/SVP
    • Quota
  • Application process
    • LCA
    • I-129
  • Resources

NIVs Part IV: Other Visa Types

  • Eligibility criteria for key visa types
    • J, E, L, TN, I, O, P, Q, R

Immigrant Visas Part 1: Overview and Family-Based Visas

  • Immigrant visa types (Family, employment, refugee/asylum)
  • Visa availability/backlog
  • Adjustment of status vs. consular processing
  • Family-based immigration petitions
  • K Fiance/e nonimmigrant visa
  • Resources

Immigrant Visas Part 2: Employment-Based Immigrant visas

  • EB-1
  • EB-2 (compared to H-1B)
  • EB-3 (compared to H-1B)
  • PERM
  • Forms I-140/I-485
  • Resources

Criminal immigration law

  • Grounds/Inadmissibilities
  • Waivers
  • Deportation/removal process
  • Relief from removal
  • Resources


  • Basic eligibility criteria
  • Continuous residence/physical presence
  • Exceptions
  • Good moral character and overcoming problems
  • Application process
  • Resources

Client Relations

  • Ethics (joint representation)
  • Dealing with clients
    • Intake form with questions geared toward immigration status and ineligibilities
    • Fees (flat vs. hourly)
    • Internet based – amenable to unbundled services
  • LPM/Technology in the Immigration Practice
    • Form and case management programs

Syllabus – How To Build An International Law Practice

  • Globalization and the need for almost every US law practice to be an international practice
  • What is an international law practice?
  • Case example of a solo attorney international law practice
  • What practice areas are suitable for international law practice or require an understanding of international/foreign law issues?
  • How to compete with big US law firms; Who needs your services?
  • How to find your clients: Marketing in the US and outside of the US
  • Cultural Issues – Working with foreign clients
  • Unique issues related to running an international law practice.
    • Client communication logistics
    • Administrative/business logistics
    • Travelling Logistics
  • A note on practicing overseas

Syllabus – How to Build a Portable Law Practice

Course Description
This course covers the basic issues to consider when building a law practice based on the need or desire to move frequently, whether from city to city, state to state or country to country. If you have an interest in building a portable law practice that takes you from country to country, you will also want to view our sister course, How to Build an International Law Practice, which discusses many of the same issues, but within the international context.

  • What practice areas are suitable for mobile/virtual law practice.
  • Logistically, how to set up and run a law practice while on the move.
    • Administrative/business logistics
    • Client communication logistics
    • Security
  • Where do you get clients?