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's Better for Low-Income Couples: K-1 Fiancé Visa or Marriage-Based Immigrant Visa?
If you are a U.S. citizen whose fiancé lives overseas, and the two of you would like to have that person immigrate to the United States, you have an important choice to make between visa types.
How Health Issues Can Make You Inadmissible to the U.S.
Anyone applying to visit or reside in U.S., whether on a temporary visa or a permanent green card, must prove that he or she does not present a health risk to the general public.
Applying to Adjust Status After Entry on K-1 Visa: Forms and Procedures
A rundown of all the practical steps involved in applying for a green card as the married fiance of a U.S. citizen.
Dealing With J-1 Two-Year Home-Stay Rule: Exceptions and Waivers
Came to the U.S. on a J-1 visa then found a basis on which to apply for permanent residence? You might be facing a hurdle: a requirement that you first spend two years outside the United States. See whether an exception or waiver will help avoid this.
How to Enter the Diversity Visa Lottery
The so-called green card lottery benefits people from countries that in recent years have sent the fewest numbers of immigrants to the United States. You can enter if you are a native of one of those countries and meet certain other requirements.
How to Hold an Online Auction for Your Nonprofit
If a live auction isn't in the cards for your organization anytime soon, how about an online one?
Who Qualifies for Deferred Action as an Immigrant Student or Graduate (DACA)
Eligibility criteria for the DACA program (though no new applications are being accepted at this time).
Do Diversity Visa Lottery Winners Need Affidavit of Support With Green Card Application?
The public charge ground of inadmissibility does apply to winners of the diversity visa lottery, but they need not have an I-864 filled out on their behalf.
H-2B Visa for Temporary Nonagricultural Workers: Who Qualifies?
The H-2B visa was created to allow people to come to the U.S. temporarily as nonagricultural workers, to fill positions for which U.S. workers are in short supply.
What's the Lowest Possible Dollar Amount to Get an Investment-Based Green Card (EB-5)?
If you hope to get a U.S. green card based on investment (category EB-5), you will need to invest a minimum dollar amount into a U.S. business. Find out details here.