Ilona Bray


Ilona Bray, J.D. is an award-winning author and legal editor at Nolo, specializing in real estate, immigration law and nonprofit fundraising. 

Educational background. Ilona received her law degree and a Master's degree in East Asian (Chinese) Studies from the University of Washington. She is a member of the Washington State Bar. Her undergraduate degree is from Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in philosophy. She actually viewed law school as an extension of her philosophy studies, with its focus on ethics, fundamental rights, and how people can get along in society—of particular concern to her as the daughter of a WWII refugee. 

Working background. Ilona has practiced law in corporate and nonprofit settings as well as in solo practice, where she represented immigrant clients seeking asylum, family-based visas, and more. She has also volunteered extensively, including a six-month fellowship at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle and a six-month internship at Amnesty International in London. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers' Association (AILA), the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE), and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). 

Working at Nolo. Ilona started at Nolo in 2000 as a legal editor. Since then, she has not only continued to edit other writers' books and online articles, but also has taken an active role in planning and authoring new Nolo books. Many of these have become consistent Nolo bestsellers and award-winners, among them Effective Fundraising for NonprofitsNolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, and Selling Your House.  Ilona particularly enjoys interviewing people and weaving their stories into her books. She also won the 2012 "Best Blog" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE). 

Spare time. (What spare time?) Ilona enjoys swimming, gardening (though she's still looking for a vegetable the squirrels won't eat every last morsel of), cooking gluten- and sugar-free meals, and writing children's books.

Articles By Ilona Bray

U.S. Permanent Resident vs. U.S. Citizen: What's the Difference?
If you've been a green card holder long enough, you can become a U.S. citizen. What are the benefits?
How to Complete Form I-589 for U.S. Asylum
A step-by-step guide to answering the questions on USCIS Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal.
How to Apply for a U.S. Work Permit (EAD)
A step-by-step explanation of how to file Form I-765 for a work permit.
When Significant Misdemeanors Bar DACA Eligibility
People convicted of either a felony or what USCIS calls a “significant misdemeanor” are not eligible to file for DACA. Learn more about that standard here.
Why Is My Immigration Case Taking So Long?
Learn about the main issues that can hold up your U.S. immigration case.
What Happens During Consular Processing?
A description of the final steps in the process of applying for a green card from outside the United States.
How to Get a Foreign Family Member Into the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident
If you're a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (green card holder), you can petition to get your family into the United States. Here's how it works.
"Sponsors" and "Household Members" on USCIS Form I-864A
Sponsors may include household members to help meet the financial requirements to sponsor an immigrant for a green card. Here’s how it works.
How To Find an Excellent Immigration Lawyer Near Me
Red flags indicating that your lawyer is not going to serve your interests well.
Petition for Alien Fiancé(e): I-129F
Get tips on how to fill out the initial I-129F petition for an immigrating fiance.