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

Why Children Must Remain Unmarried Until Green Card Approval
Children awaiting green cards can destroy their eligibility for a green card in their visa category by getting married.
Who Is Eligible for a K-1 Fiance Visa?
A foreign-born person who intends to marry a U.S. citizen may be eligible to come to the U.S. for the wedding, using a K-1 or visa, if he or she also meets the criteria described here.
Who Can File an I-360 Green Card Petition?
The I-360 application is available to select groups of immigrants as a means of gaining permanent resident status in the U.S. Here is an overview of the various eligible groups.
What to Expect at Your Asylum Interview
The purpose of the asylum interview is for a U.S. immigration official to hear your story in person, assess your credibility (whether you’re telling the truth), and decide whether your story qualifies you for the protection of the United States according to U.S. immigration and refugee law.
What If Your Visa Expires While Waiting for Another One?
If your temporary U.S. visa expires; or soon will; you next steps depend on where you are in the application process for your new visa.
What Does a Green Card Get You?
A "green card" is just an identification card given to people who've been granted permanent resident status in the United States.
Voluntary Departure: Why "Volunteer" to Be Deported?
If you're facing removal from the U.S. (deportation) and have no means of defense, you may request voluntary departure to avoid some future immigration consequences.
U.S. Citizenship for Children of Naturalized Citizens
A child can, under certain circumstances, derive U.S. citizenship automatically through the naturalization of a parent.
Travelling Outside the U.S. as a Conditional Resident
If you have conditional U.S. residence (a "temporary green card") you are generally free to travel wherever you like, but be wary of extended stays.
Three-Year Rule for Naturalization Eligibility After Marriage to a U.S. Citizen
Spouses of U.S. citizens can, under certain circumstances, apply to naturalize after three years rather than the usual five.