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

Marrying a Citizen of the Philippines? How to Get a Green Card for Your New Spouse
If you are marrying someone from the Philippines, and plan to sponsor your new husband or wife for a U.S. green card, learn more about the requirements and procedures.
What Is Marriage Fraud Under U.S. Immigration Law?
If you are considering a fake, or sham, marriage as a means of getting U.S. lawful permanent residence (a green card), you probably already know that what you are planning is illegal.
Red Flags That Make USCIS Suspect Marriage Fraud
Every couple in which a U.S. citizen marries and sponsors a noncitizen for an immigrant visa or green card based on marriage can expect one thing: Their application will be carefully scrutinized.
Consequences of Unlawful Presence in the U.S.—Three– and Ten-Year Time Bars
Congress created a penalty that prevents people from returning to the U.S. for three years or ten years, depending on how long they stayed unlawfully in the country. These are often referred to as the “time bars,” or the “three– and ten-year bars.”
Filling Out Form I-130 for Son or Daughter (Married or Over 21) of U.S. Citizen
If you are a U.S. citizen, you may be able to petition for (sponsor) your foreign-born children who are married or age 21 or older (referred to as “sons or daughters”).
Legal Requirements for a Marriage-Based Visa or Green Card
Married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident? Here's how to apply for U.S. lawful permanent residence, otherwise known as a marriage-based immigrant visa or green card.
Grounds of Deportability: When Legal U.S. Residents Can Be Removed
Whether on a nonimmigrant visa or green card, committing certain acts or crimes can make a person deportable from the U.S.
Crimes That Will Prevent You From Receiving U.S. Citizenship
If you are a green card holder applying for U.S. citizenship through the process known as naturalization, one important question will be whether you have ever been prosecuted for a crime or committed some other unlawful act.
How Do I Reschedule a Naturalization (Citizenship) Interview?
What to do in an emergency, when you must ask USCIS to reschedule.
Difference Between U.S. Green Card and U.S. Citizenship
While both green card holders and citizens can stay in the U.S. indefinitely, there are some major reasons to get U.S. citizenship.