Ilona Bray

J.D. · University of Washington School of Law

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 Nonprofits, Nolo'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

Immigration Law Updates in 2024
Here's what's happening in the year 2024 with respect to U.S. immigration law.
FAQs About Paying Immigration Filing Fees
No, you can't get a refund—and other answers to common questions about immigration filing fees.
Filling Out USCIS Form N-400 Application for Naturalization
How to fill out the N-400 citizenship form with which a green card holder applies to naturalize.
Filling Out Form I-131 for Advance Parole When Applying to Adjust Status in the U.S.
Can you travel without jeopardizing your application for adjustment of status? The answer is in most cases no, unless you first file an application for advance parole.
What the Medical Exam for a U.S. Green Card Involves
What to expect in terms of examination, vaccinations, and more at the doctor's exam for U.S. lawful permanent residence.
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.
Filling Out USCIS Form I-360 Self Petition as a Widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen
Line-by-line instructions for filling out Form I-360, the petition form used for advising U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that you were married to a U.S. citizen who died, and you are self-petitioning for a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residence).
Top Reasons Your Green Card Application Might Be Denied
Learn about some of the most common things that might jeopardize your ability to get a green card.
F-1 Students and Work Violations
Foreign students have limited rights to work in the U.S. -- but go beyond these limits, and you might lose your F-1 status and face further consequences.
How to Apply for J-1 Status From Within the United States
J-1 status allows a foreign-born person who is staying legally in the U.S. to remain longer, in order to take part an established exchange visitor program.