Santiago J. Padilla is a partner in the Labor & Employment Practice Group, where he represents clients in a broad range of business immigration-related matters, including the process for obtaining a temporary visa, permanent residency, and US citizenship, as well as appealing adverse decisions from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the US Department of State, or other governmental agencies.
With more than a quarter-century of legal experience, Santiago focuses his practice on immigration and nationality law matters, including employment-based immigration and nonimmigrant visas for investors, professionals, artists, temporary workers, and individuals seeking permanent residency and US citizenship.
Santiago handles the full gamut of employment-based immigration, such as L-1A and L-1B visas (transferred executives and employees), E-1 and E-2 visas (treaty traders and treaty investors), H-1B visas (professional employees), O-1 visas (artists and persons with extraordinary ability), and P-1 visas (athletes and entertainers). Santiago also advises clients on petitions for US permanent residency, such as EB-1 visas (transferred employees, persons with extraordinary ability, and outstanding professors), EB-2 visas (professional employees with advanced degrees, persons with exceptional abilities, and national interest waivers), EB-3 visas (professional employees, skilled employees, and other workers), EB-4 visas (religious workers, aliens who have served in the armed forces, and other individuals), and EB-5 visas (employment-creation investors), including EB-5 regional centers.
Santiago is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), a national association of immigration attorneys, which has a liaison with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). AILA is the professional bar association for attorneys and law professors who specialize in general immigration law or its many subspecialty practice areas.
In connection with the immigration matters he handles, Santiago also handles commercial transactions and business acquisitions. He advises clients regarding organizing US companies, structuring the business, shareholder agreements, joint ventures, and other issues regarding the operations of US businesses, such as distribution contracts, service agreements, representative agreements, and other matters. Many of Santiago’s clients in this area are foreign nationals who are coming to the United States to establish a subsidiary of their foreign company, acquire a new business, such as a franchise or other established company, or to simply organize a new business, in many cases for purposes of US immigration.
In connection with the foregoing, Santiago also handles commercial and residential real estate acquisitions, having handled more than 200 residential and commercial real estate transactions over the last 10 years ranging in value from $100,000 to $15 million, including hotel acquisitions, condominium projects, shopping mall leases, and commercial retail stores. Santiago is a member of the American Land Title Association (ALTA), which is a national association that represents title insurance providers.
Finally, having started his practice as a labor and employment lawyer, Santiago also handles a variety of employment law matters and disputes, including wage and hour matters, discrimination matters, and whistleblower claims. He also advises on and drafts employment agreements and other employment-related documents for employees, professionals, business owners, and investors. In addition, Santiago also advises companies with respect to US Department of Labor, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audits and investigations, as well as actions by or before other federal and state governmental agencies, including the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.