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

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.
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.
Can a Permanent Resident Lose Their Green Card After Divorce?
Learn about the circumstances under which divorce can lead to revocation of permanent residence, and even removal from the U.S.
Steps to Get a K-1 Fiancé Visa
An overview of the basic process of getting a K-1 visa for a foreign fiance.
Non-Resident vs. Resident Alien Status for U.S. Tax Purposes
The terms "resident alien" and "non-resident alien" are actually from the federal tax laws. Resident aliens owe tax on all their income, while non-resident alien owe tax only on income generated from U.S. sources.
Immigration Based on Marriage to a U.S. Citizen vs. a Green Card Holder
Immigrants can obtain permanent resident status through marriage to either a U.S. citizen or green card holder, but the rules are a little different in each case.
Obtaining Permanent Residency (Green Card) Through Marriage
Here's an overview of the process to get permanent residence through marriage to a U.S. citizen or green card holder.
How to Find an Excellent Immigration Lawyer
Red flags indicating that your lawyer is not going to serve your interests well.
Can You Get a U.S. Green Card? Eligibility Quiz
An introduction to whether you might be eligible for a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residence) based on family, employment, or other categories.
Can I Hire an Immigration Lawyer Who Is Not in My State Bar?
Your attorney needs to be licensed by a state bar association, but not necessarily the local state bar association.