Sivaraman Immigration Law's founder, Heather Sivaraman, brings an exceptional level of initiative, creativity and dedication to the practice of Immigration Law. A 2008 graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law, she is an active member of the North Carolina State Bar, the North Carolina Bar Association, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Health Lawyers Association and the International Medical Graduate Taskforce. Her practice focuses exclusively on employment and family based immigration, with particular expertise in assisting clients in the healthcare and education sectors.
Heather began her career in immigration law as an immigration attorney in a prominent NC immigration law firm. She has since successfully advocated on behalf of hundreds of individuals, families, and businesses before state and federal agencies on complex immigration matters. Her practice emphasizes helping highly-educated and skilled workers obtain U.S. legal status and facilitating companies’ compliance with laws regarding the employment of foreign nationals. She has also raised awareness of immigration issues through engagement with local schools and universities, mentorship of law students and new attorneys, and by serving as a guest lecturer on immigration at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina Central University.
Heather has been chosen by peer review to appear in The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers each year from 2011 to 2015, and in The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers in 2012 and 2013.Heather is regularly invited to speak to professional organizations, public and private employers, and immigrant interest groups nationwide. In 2015, Heather was a finalist and the sole immigration practitioner nominated for the Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Under 40 Award. In 2021 Heather was selected as a Thought Leader by Who’s Who Legal and became a member of the AILA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee.
In addition to her exceptional work on behalf of her firm and clients, Heather has also demonstrated an abiding commitment to improving immigration services and policies at state and national levels. She is a former Chair the North Carolina Bar Association Immigration Law Committee and, at the national level, Heather served as the Legislative Advocacy Chair for the Carolinas Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), a professional organization comprising more than 150 immigration lawyers in North and South Carolina. As a result of her legislative advocacy efforts, Heather has established a reputation as a fierce advocate for immigrant rights, one who vividly articulates the many contributions of foreign-born individuals to their U.S. employers and communities, thoughtfully discusses the challenges many immigrants face in acquiring legal status, and crafts thought-provoking responses to immigration-related questions and concerns raised by Congressional members and staff.
Prior to practicing immigration law, Heather served as an International Adoption Program Director at a multinational non-profit organization in Washington D.C., and as an Adoption Case Manager at an adoption agency in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she assisted families adopting children internationally from Kazakhstan and Russia. She continues to have a passion for adoption issues, and regularly provides consultations to families adopting children internationally.
During law school, Heather was awarded a U.S. Department of State Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarship to study Russian Language in St. Petersburg, Russia. In addition to her Juris Doctorate (JD), Heather has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Florida and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Heather lives in Carrboro with her son Arin and cat, Tiger Torpedo.
2021: American Immigration Lawyer’s Association Annual Conference (“Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing”)
December 4-6, 2016: Physician J-1 Waiver Panel - Panelist on the "Nonimmigrant Visa Issues Panel" at the Physician Immigration Law Institute's Advanced Issues for J-1 Physician Employers and Practitioners panel in Washington, D.C. The event was sponsored by the International Medical Graduate Taskforce.
October 27, 2016: National Business Institute - Adoption Law Start to Finish: Overcoming Obstacles to International Adoption - Wilmington, NC
October 24, 2016: National Business Institute - Adoption Law Start to Finish: Overcoming Obstacles to International Adoption - Raleigh, NC
October 5, 2016: Law to the People - Immigration Law for Business
March 11, 2016: North Carolina Association of International Educators: Walk the Line: Unauthorized Practice of Law and International Student Advisors
November 13, 2015: Law to the People – Immigration Law Intensive: Immigration for Businesses
October 15, 2015: North Carolina School Boards Association – Immigration Laws and Work Visas: They’re Everywhere You Want to Teach So Don’t Leave Home Without One
August 13, 2015: Immigration Law Weekly – Physician Immigration for Experts
March 10, 2015: American Immigration Lawyers Association – Letters of Engagement/Fee Agreements – the Attorney’s Best Friend
November 13, 2014: International Medical Graduate Taskforce – J-1 Waiver Transfers/Extenuating Circumstances for Advanced Practitioners
June 18, 2014: American Immigration Lawyers Association – Can We Get A Doctor in the House? Physician Immigration for Advanced/Intermediate Practitioners
November 19, 2013: American Immigration Lawyers Association – Family-Based Consular Processing
November 8, 2013: American Immigration Lawyers Association Carolinas Chapter – Labor Certification for Intermediate Practitioners
January 29, 2013: Assurgent Medical Solutions – Hiring International Medical Graduate Physicians 101 for Recruiters and HR
January 3, 2013: Immigration Law Weekly – Advanced Physician Issues – Green Cards & Legislative Developments
November 1, 2012: Nebraska Hospital Association – Business Immigration
October 2, 2012: Leapdoctor Physician Recruiters – Hiring International Medical Graduate Physicians 101 for Recruiters and HR
August 13, 2012: Association of Staff Physician Recruiters Annual Conference – Los Angeles, CA
August 2, 2012: The Inline Group Physician Recruiters – Hiring International Medical Graduate Physicians 101 for Recruiters and HR