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

What If the Other Driver Doesn't Have Car Insurance?
You have options after an accident with an uninsured driver, but they're limited.
Who Qualifies for a Work Permit in the United States?
Learn the categories of foreign-born people who can receive permission to accept employment in the United States.
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.
How to Help a Detainee in an Immigration Hold
If someone you know has been detained after an immigration hold, here are the first things to do.
Can an Undocumented Immigrant Marry a U.S. Citizen?
There's no law preventing an undocumented (illegal) immigrant from marrying a U.S. citizen, but getting a green card (permanent residence) is not quite so simple.
Steps to Get a Green Card
Are you a foreign-born person eligible for a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residence) through a family member or an employer? Here's a preview of the application process.
Options When Adjustment of Status (to Permanent Resident) Is Denied
If USCIS denies your adjustment of status application for a green card, or permanent residency, you might have some options to proceed with your case.
Adjustment of Status (I-485) Fees and Lawyer Costs
If you're applying for a green card (permanent resident status) in the U.S., expect to pay at least two thousand dollars in filing and attorney's fees.
What You Need to File I-485 for Adjustment of Status
If you're adjusting status (to a permanent U.S. resident, or green card holder) you'll need to complete USCIS form I-485 and select the appropriate forms and documents to accompany it.
Traveling Outside of the U.S. as a Green Card Holder
Once you've become a permanent U.S. resident (green card holder) traveling abroad and returning to the U.S. becomes easy. Even so, there are rules you should be aware of, particularly if you might get stuck outside the United States.