Services & Industries
J.D., Lewis & Clark Law School, 2010
B.A., University of Oregon, 1992
Bar & Court Admissions
Oregon State Bar
Melina represents regional and international companies in matters related to employment-based immigration. Melina has successfully handled immigration matters for multinational corporations and regional technology firms, health care providers, and universities on non-immigrant and immigrant visa options and procedures including Conrad 30 waivers, PERM Applications and Naturalization Applications, and Extraordinary Ability Petitions.
Melina was chair for the Oregon Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association from 2016 to 2018 and Liaison to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles for five years. She served for two years at Portland State University’s Immigration Clinic and currently mentors first year law students at Lewis & Clark. Melina is a frequent speaker on employment-related immigration.
Prior to joining Tonkon Torp, Melina practiced immigration law at a boutique firm in Portland. Before she earned her law degree, Melina worked for more than eight years as an immigration paralegal in the Portland area, she lived in Tokyo for one year, and she had a brief career as an editor in New York City.
Before pursuing law, Melina worked as an editor at a science text book company in New York City. She has lived in Tokyo, Japan and Quito, Ecuador. A fluent Spanish speaker, she enjoys travel abroad with her family. Closer to home, Melina likes to hike and garden, and can often be found cheering on the sidelines of her children’s soccer games.
Community Involvement & Activities
American Immigration Lawyers Association – Oregon Chapter
2022-Present, 2011-2016, Department of Motor Vehicles Liaison
2016-2018, Chair Elect and Chapter Chair
Oregon Immigrant Foundation
2021-Present, Board Member
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Multnomah Bar Association
Portland Human Resources Management Association
Attorneys from Tonkon Torp’s Immigration Practice spoke on panels at the September, 2022 AILA NW Regional Conference.
Chambers USA has recognized 28 Tonkon Torp attorneys in eight practice areas in its Chambers USA 2022 Guide.
On November 17, Tonkon Torp business immigration lawyers Alan Perkins, Turid Owren, Melina LaMorticella, and Melany Savitt hosted their Annual Immigration Update for employers.
Chambers USA has recognized 23 Tonkon Torp attorneys in seven practice areas in its Chambers USA 2021 guide.
On December 10, Tonkon Torp Business Immigration lawyers Alan Perkins, Turid Owren, Melina LaMorticella, and Melany Savitt hosted an encore presentation of their Annual Immigration Update for employers to review changes and challenges in business immigration during 2020, with a post-election look ahead to 2021.
Online registration for the 2024 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV2024) opened Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022 at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and closes Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022 at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5).
By Melina LaMorticella, Turid Owren, Alan Perkins, and Melany Savitt – Registrations for the FY2023 H-1B quota must be submitted electronically to USCIS in March 2022. USCIS will designate a registration period shortly, which should be a minimum two week window. USCIS will charge a $10 fee per registration.
This week the Biden Administration issued a new Presidential Proclamation that will take effect on November 8, 2021, ending the U.S. COVID-19 travel restrictions that applied to most foreign national nonimmigrants traveling from Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
Online registration for the 2023 DV Lottery (DV2023) opened Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and closes Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at 12:00 PM (noon) Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5).
On May 3, 2021, as a result of litigation challenging processing delays, USCIS agreed that it will issue a policy to temporarily suspend biometrics requirements for I-539 applicants requesting an extension of stay or change of status for H-4, L-2, and E classifications.
Publications & Presentations
“What You Need to Know About FY2023 H-1B Cap Registration,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, January 2022
“Annual Immigration Update,” November 2021
“Biden Administration Lifts COVID-19 Travel Bans, Adds Vaccine Requirement,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, October 2021
“2023 DV Lottery Registration Open Oct. 6 to Nov. 9,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, October 2021
“USCIS Suspends Biometrics Collection for I-539 Applications for H-4, L-2, E Nonimmigrants,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, May 2021
“Travel from India to the U.S. Restricted Starting May 4,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, May 2021
“H-1B Lottery Updates for Fiscal Year 2022,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, February 2021
“Biden Administration Executive Orders Impact International Travel,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, January 2021
“DOL Publishes Final Rule Impacting Prevailing Wages,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, January 2021
“New Regulation Creates Wage-Based Selection Process for H-1B Lottery,” January 2021
“Business Immigration Update,” September 2020
Panelist, “International Student Town Hall,” University of Oregon, July 2020
“The Impact of COVID-19 on Business Immigration,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, March 2020
“H-1B Cap Season 2020,” American Immigration Lawyers Association, Oregon Chapter, February 2020
“H-1B Cap Season 2020,” February 2020
“Worksite Enforcement Business Immigration Briefing,” September 2019
“Visas – Who Can Come? Who Can Stay?” Annual Labor & Employment Law Update, May 2019
“Business Immigration Review and 2019 Forecast Briefing,” December 2018
“Business Immigration for Startups,” November 2018
“Worksite Enforcement, Compliance Best Practices & Forms I-9,” June 2017
“What Immigration Means to Healthcare Delivery in Oregon,” Oregon State Bar Health Law Section, June 2017
“H-1B Cap Season 2017 and Trump Administration Executive Orders,” February 2017
“Business Immigration 2017,” February 2017
“Employment-Based Immigration,” American Immigration Lawyers Association, Oregon Chapter, May 2016
“Recent Developments in L Visas,” Northwest Regional Immigration Law Conference, American Immigration Lawyers Association, March 2016
“Getting Ready for H-1B Cap Season,” January 2016
“INA 204(l) – Navigating the Law for Surviving Relatives and Others Measures of Extraordinary Relief,” Northwest Regional Immigration Law Conference, American Immigration Lawyers Association, March 2015
“The Role of the Human Resource Department in Facilitating International Assignments,” Global Special Interest Group of PHRMA, February 2015