Leigh N. Ganchan

Shareholder Houston

Ms. Ganchan provides business immigration advice to employers and professionals in a variety of industries. Ms. Ganchan is certified in Immigration and Nationality law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Ms. Ganchan is listed as a "notable practitioner" in Chambers USA rankings and has a "healthy reputation in the market" advising professionals and employers on various immigration matters, including I-9 and E-Verify compliance.

From 1996 to 1999, Ms. Ganchan gained insight into the enforcement side of immigration law during her tenure as an Assistant District Counsel for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. She also performed immigration work at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Ms. Ganchan was one of the founding officers of the State Bar of Texas Immigration Law Section and served as the Chair for the section. Ms. Ganchan was Editor-in-Chief of the 2007 edition of AILA's Handbook on Immigration for Entertainers, Artists, Athletes and served as Associate Editor for the Second Edition. Ms. Ganchan currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Mexico City Chapter of AILA which addresses legal issues relating to the Latin America jurisdiction.


Ms. Ganchan represents clients in such diverse industries as energy, technology, health care manufacturing, finance and construction, with matters including:

  • Representing companies and organizations in all immigration and employment visa matters before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Labor (DOL), the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and in federal court;
  • Analyzing employers’ employment eligibility verification compliance and planning needs under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) including director of multi-state audits to evaluate needs of employers with large national presence;
  • Preparing individuals for interviews at U.S. consulates, including strategy development for overcoming grounds of inadmissibility and accompanying clients abroad as needed; and
  • Assisting with a wide range of complex U.S. citizenship issues, including obtaining U.S. passports on an expedited basis, preparing acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth abroad petitions and advocacy in loss of citizenship cases.

Ms. Ganchan's International Medical Graduate practice supports foreign nationals seeking admission to the United States to practice medicine, both general and specialty. Foreign physicians and their employers receive legal guidance covering areas such as waivers of the 212(e) two year foreign residence requirement for J-1 physicians, Conrad 30 procedures and timing, H-1B status (including change of employer) and lawful permanent residence paths for physicians.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association - Second Vice Chair - Latin America and Caribbean Chapters
  • HR Houston (Board of Directors, General Counsel 2012-2013)
  • Greater Houston Partnership (Committee Member; World Trade Supervisory Board)
  • Texas State Bar (Co-Founder and Chair, Immigration Section, 2012-2013)
  • American Bar Association Corporate Social Responsibility Committee


  • 2018 AILA Annual Conference on Immigration Law - ''The Minefield of E-1/E-2 Multi-Jurisdictional Practice'' - San Francisco - June 15, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - ''An Ounce of Prevention . . . May Not Be Enough: Thriving in an Era of Increased I-9 Audits and Investigations'' - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • AILA Texas Chapter Spring 2018 Conference - ''Consular Practice Roundtable: The Do’s and Don’ts of Consular Practice in both the Family and Employment Context'' - San Antonio - April 20, 2018
  • 2018 AILA Midwinter Conference - ''Diversifying Your Practice in a Restrictionist Period'' - Cancun - February 02, 2018
  • AILA Latin American and Caribbean Chapter - ''E Visas: Not Always Smooth Sailing'' - Casa de Campo - November 02, 2017
  • 2017 Gulf Coast Symposium on Human Resource Issues - ''Immigration Issues for EVERY Employer'' - Houston - May 11, 2017
  • Latin America and Caribbean Chapter of AILA - Wine and CLE: Fermenting a Consular Practice - ''Knowing the Post: Being Prepared when Filing an E'' - Santiago, Chile - November 16, 2016
  • 2016 AILA Waivers CLE Conference - ''The Nonimmigrant Waiver Under INA §212(D)(3)'' - Chicago - August 26, 2016
  • AILA Latin American and Caribbean Chapter Fall Conference - ''Solving the Difficult Nonimmigrant Visa Cases'' - Rio de Janeiro - November 5 - November 6, 2015
  • State Bar of Texas CLE Advanced Immigration Law Course - ''Beat the H-1B Cap'' - Houston - February 2014
  • General Counsel Institute: National Association of Women Lawyers - ''Taking a Stand Against Human Trafficking: What Your Supply Chain Compliance Program Must Include and Why'' - New York - November 2013
  • Gulf Coast Symposium on Human Resource Issues - ''Take The I-9 Challenge'' - Houston - May 16, 2013
  • Houston Bar Association - ''What to Expect From Immigration Reform and the Impact on the Worker and Workplace'' - Houston - April 08, 2013
  • South Texas College of Law - ''Corporations & Human Trafficking: The Global Supply Chain Dilemma & Solutions'' - Houston - March 07, 2013
  • 2012 Gulf Coast Symposium on HR Issues - ''Up in the Air: The Hidden Immigration Compliance Risks of International Assignments'' - Houston - May 2012
  • 2011 Gulf Coast Symposium on HR Issues - ''Business Immigration for Beginners'' - Houston - May 11 - May 12, 2011

Published Works


Our Insights

The Wage and Hour and Immigration Consequences of a Government Shutdown: What Federal Contractors Need to Know

December 21, 2018

USCIS Indicates Changes to Advance Parole Policy

November 26, 2018

More H-1B Third-Party Placement Changes: DOL Proposes Significant Changes to H-1B LCA Form

June 14, 2018

TPS Reregistration Period Is Now Open for Honduras

June 11, 2018

TPS Reregistration Period Is Now Open for Nepali TPS Beneficiaries

May 24, 2018

USCIS Unveils New Round of Enhancements to E-Verify

May 08, 2018

DHS Expected to Announce Cancellation of TPS for Nepal

April 26, 2018

USCIS New Policy Shuts Down STEM OPT Training at Third Party Sites

April 25, 2018

USCIS Pilot Program to Favor Advance Planning Over Border Adjudications for Canadian L-1s

April 12, 2018

FY 2019 H-1B Visa Cap: USCIS Reaches Annual Cap in 5 Days

April 10, 2018

Preparing for an Increase in I-9 Worksite Enforcement

November 16, 2017

Port-of-Entry Inspections and NAFTA Professional (TN) Visas: Differential Diagnosis for Advance Practice Nurses

April 17, 2017

AAO National Interest Waiver Decision May Open Doors for a Broader Group of Professionals and Entrepreneurs Seeking Green Cards

January 10, 2017

New U.S. Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) Required for Certain Chinese Nationals Beginning November 29, 2016

November 03, 2016

A Reminder on Voting Rules for Non-U.S. Citizens

November 01, 2016

DHS Issues Final Rule: USCIS Filing Fees to Increase Effective December 23, 2016

October 25, 2016

USCIS Rolls Out the Blanket L Revised Form I-129S Effective Date

October 20, 2016

The H-1B Lottery: How Does a Petition Get That Winning Number Anyway?

October 06, 2016

DACA Program Raises Questions for Employers in the I-9 Process

March 11, 2013

Buyer Beware

July 09, 2012

Fiscal Year 2012 H-1B Cap Exhausted

December 19, 2011

Discrimination Enforcement on the Rise

December 19, 2011

Social Security No-Match Letters Halted

December 19, 2011

January 2012 Visa Bulletin: Continued Forward Movement in EB-2 India and China Priority Dates

December 19, 2011

H-1B Cap Reached

December 16, 2011

Update on H-1B Cap Count for Fiscal Year 2012

November 30, 2011


Media Quotes

December 21, 2018 - SHRM Online - "After Congress Fails to Pass Funding Bill, Government Agencies Shut Down"
December 17, 2018 - SHRM Online - "Government Shutdown Would Affect Many Businesses"
July 25, 2018 - Law360 - "USCIS Policy Changes Put STEM Students On Shaky Footing"