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Martha J. Schoonover focuses her practice on business immigration matters and assists employers in obtaining temporary, nonimmigrant visas for business persons, managers and executives, treaty investors and traders, professionals (including researchers and scientists, engineers, computer professionals, and business professionals), exchange visitors, students, and crew members working on the Outer Continental Shelf. In addition, Martha assists in obtaining labor certifications and permanent resident status for professionals, researchers, multinational managers and executives and other priority workers and in obtaining and relinquishing U.S. citizenship.

Martha represents companies facing U.S. government investigations or audits for immigration violations and prepares immigration and visa compliance programs for clients. She counsels employers on the employer sanctions and anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and represents employers being audited by the U.S. Government. In addition, she assists foreign companies in obtaining vessel exemptions from the U.S. manning requirements of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and in obtaining determinations from the Coast Guard that persons are not a part of the regular complement of the crew. Her practice involves appearances before and filing petitions/applications with the U.S. Department of State and its overseas posts, The U.S. Department of Labor, and the Department of Homeland Security, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Coast Guard. Martha has been a frequent lecturer and author for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) American Bar Association and ALI-ABA. She headed AILA's Labor Certification Task Force from 1993 to 1995 and has served on its State Department and INS/CIS General Counsel Liaison Committees.


  • Business Immigration law
  • Non-immigrant visas
  • Immigrant visas
  • Compliance and worksite enforcement
  • Naturalization
  • B-1 OCS crew visas



  • Assisted with over 25,000 visas and Visa Fraud Investigations and I-9, H-1B IER Investigations.

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Immigration Law, 2011-2024               
    • Named, "Lawyer of the Year," Immigration Law, Washington, D.C., 2017 and 2021
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2009-2023
  • Listed, Chambers Global, Immigration: Business (USA), 2012-2023
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, 2009-2023
    • Listed, "Leading Lawyers," Labor and Employment – Immigration, 2017-2023
    • Listed, "Other Key lawyer," Labor and Employment - Immigration, 2022
  • Listed, Lawdragon 100, Leading Immigration Lawyers, 2023
  • Listed, Lawdragon 500, Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers, 2020-2024
  • Listed, Washingtonian magazine
    • "Top Lawyers Hall of Fame," 2022
    • "Washington's Top Lawyers," 2009-2017, 2020
  • Listed, Lawdragon and Human Resources Executive® magazine, "The Nation’s Most Powerful Immigration Attorneys – Top 20," 2018-2019
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5.0

°AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association State Department Liaison Committee, 2004-2006
  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association INS General Counsel Liaison Committee, 2001-2003
  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association Taskforce on Governance, 2001-2003
  • Vice Chair, American Immigration Lawyers Association INS Adjudications Policy/Benefits Liaison Committee, 2000-2001
  • Vice Chair, Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Northern Virginia Technology Council International Committee, 2002-2003
  • Past Chair, American Bar Association, General Practice Section, Immigration Law and Administrative and Government Law Committees
  • Past Chair, District of Columbia Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section, 1988 to 1989
  • ABA's Coordinating Committee for Immigration Law, 1992-1996
  • Secretary, Board of Trustees of the Foundation of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, 1997-2001; Member, 1997-2006


  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1980
    • Attended Harvard Law School 1975-1976
  • B.A., History and French, summa cum laude, University of Richmond, 1975
    • Phi Beta Kappa
  • District of Columbia
Admitted in the District of Columbia. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice limited to federal immigration practice.