Robert Gaffney

Top rated Immigration attorney in San Francisco, California

Law Offices of Robert P. Gaffney
Robert Gaffney
Law Offices of Robert P. Gaffney

Practice Areas: Immigration

Licensed in California since: 1980

Education: University of California College of the Law, San Francisco

Languages Spoken: English, Chinese-Mandarin

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2009 - 2013, 2019 - 2023

Law Offices of Robert P. Gaffney

601 Montgomery Street
Suite 1114
San Francisco, CA 94111 Phone: 415-503-9653 Email: Robert Gaffney Visit website


The founder and head of his eponymous law firm, Robert P. Gaffney focuses his practice exclusively on immigration law. Based in San Francisco, he assists both business and individual clients throughout California and globally in matters involving employment-based immigration, including temporary work visas. Mr. Gaffney's practice also encompasses investment immigration involving EB-5 visas, and he works with clients who want to have their spouses, adopted children and other family members be allowed to live in the United States.

Designed to stimulate the U.S. economy, the EB-5 visa program has specific guidelines concerning the amount and types of investments that are required to qualify as well as the number of new jobs that will be created. Mr. Gaffney has written a treatise on this subject, entitled “Country-Specific Issues and Challenges in Representing EB-5 Petitioners from the People’s Republic of China", and he continues to advise clients around the world who wish to participate. In his work visa practice, he represents companies and individuals in the procurement of specialty occupation visas as well as those that are granted to athletes, entertainers and people with "extraordinary ability" in certain fields such as business, science and the arts.

Mr. Gaffney's successful track record throughout his career has earned him the high regard of his colleagues, including an AV Preeminent* peer review rating through Martindale-Hubbell and a "Superb" peer review rating through Avvo, and he is regularly asked to deliver presentations at professional conferences on topics related to his practice area. Admitted to practice in California, Mr. Gaffney is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

* AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

First Admitted: 1980, California

Professional Webpage:

Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Member of Immigration Law Panel of Bar Association of San Francisco Lawyer Referral Service
  • Member of the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City Committee
  • Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association., 1892
  • Rated “AV,” Martindale-Hubbell
  • Super Lawyers of Northern California
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Member of the Immigration and Nationality Law panel of the Lawyer Referral Service of the San Francisco Bar Association
Educational Background:
  • University of California, received his B.A. degree in Chinese Studies with highest honors, 1973, 1973
  • National Defense Foreign Language Fellow, Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, Horace Rackham School of Graduate Studies (1974-75 Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies/Stanford Center - Taipei, Taiwan) 
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • California State Bar Association Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law, 1988
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  •  USCIS adjudicators have approved thousands of I-526 petitions involving various versions of these solutions but over the recent past we have seen an increased focus by adjudicators on issues related to currency exchange and remittance transactions. Despite absence in the language of the regulations or the precedent decisions of requirement that in addition to proving the investment of capital “obtained” or “acquired” through lawful means, USCIS adjudicators are also requiring a petitioner to establish the lawful means of the transfer or exchange of the foreign capital. Due to absence of a template for requesting evidence on informal value transfers individual adjudicators are left to establish their own criteria for such requests, leading to different evidence requests, and sometimes different adjudication results, often for the same remitters.  Petitioners should expect that they will need to document the means of remittance of funds and also called upon to show the legitimacy of the transfer and the lawful source of funds used to complete the transfer. , Featured Speaker, Source of Funds and Foreign Currency Exchange Issues in Direct EB-5, EB5 Affiliate Network - Live Webinar , Immigrant Investor Community, 2021
  • Co-author, Overview of Current Challenges in Representing EB-5 Investors/Entrepreneurs, 29th Annual AILA California Chapters Conference Handbook, 2017
  • On July 14, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization.  This panel discussion explored the legal and historical context of the order and its broad impact on the manner of treatment of Hong Kong persons under U.S. immigration laws.   , Panel Participant, Virtual EB-5 and Uglobal Immigration Expo (Hong Kong and Vietnam), EB-5 Process: The Impact of Trump's Executive Order on Hong Kong Nationals for EB-5, Immigrant Investor Community, 2020
  • This article provides practical advice for I-526 filing attorneys based upon the experience of counsel who have successfully overcome legal challenges raised by IPO adjudicators in RFEs issued in response to the recent surge of I-526s filed by minor petitioners. It also addresses ancillary issues relevant to minor EB-5 petitioners, including the ability of minor petitioners to engage in the management of the EB-5 enterprise as required by the regulations, and what limits, if any, USCIS regulations or policy may place on the minimum age of a petitioner.  , Author, Issues and Approaches to the Preparation of I-526 Petitions for Minor Petitioners, Immigration Options for Investors & Entrepreneurs, 4th Edition, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2019
  • Advanced Source of Funds and Path of Funds Issues, Panelist/Discussion Leader: December 8, 2017., American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2017 AILA EB-5 Investors Summit, Las Vegas, NV, AILA, 2017
  • San Jose, CA Event with Indian H-1Bs - April 28, 2018  , Moderator, Conference on “H-1B to EB-5”, San Jose, CA, 2018
  • EB-5 Program Update, 2017 Hurun China Immigrant Investment White Paper Shanghai/Beijing, Hurun Research Institute, 2017
  • Combining AILA’s experience in offering world-class continuing legal education and unparalleled networking events for immigration law professionals and IIUSA’s unmatched expertise on the EB-5 investor visa program, this two-day conference promises to be the most important EB-5 event of the year!, Speaker, October 2018 AILA & IIUSA EB-5 Industry Forum, AILA, IIUSA, 2018
  • Advanced Panel Speaker, Impacts of Visa Retrogression: Project Structuring, Investor Demand and Exit Strategies, EB5 Investors Magazine’s Third Annual Southern California EB-5 Conference, 2014
  • Panel Speaker, China Issues, AILA EB-5 Investors & Regional Centers Conference, 2014
  • Speaker, Immigration Options for Entrepreneurs and Investors, The Immigration Section of the Barristers Club of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Northern California Chapter of AILA, 2014
  • Speaker/Panelist, Advanced Issues in Representing Individual Investors, AILA EB-5 Investors Summit: Representing EB-5 Investors & Regional Centers, 2015
  • Television Appearance, US - Vietnam: Enhanced Opportunities for Trade, Investment and Global Mobility after TTP, Vietnam VTV1, 2016
  • Television Appearance, Issues Related to Due Diligence and the EB-5 Program, VTC8 View 24, 2016
  • Discussion Leader, EB-5 Summit for Attorneys and Developers in San Francisco, 2016
  • Panel Participant, China-Focused Issues, AILA EB-5 Investors Summit: Representing EB-5 Investors & Regional Centers in a Time of Upheaval, 2016
  • Discussion Leader, EB-5 Summit in San Francisco, 2015
  • Panel Participant, Current Issues with EB-5 Investor Visas, 29th Annual AILA California Chapter CLE Conference, 2016
  • Co-author, Can a Minor Child File an EB-5 Petition?, EB5 Investors Magazine, 2016
  • EB-5 Foreign Investors Seminar, Presenter, and International Immigration Services, 2010
  • AILA Fall 2009 CLE Conference, Presenter, "Lawful Source of Funds and Other Considerations for EB-5 Investors from China, Korea, Russia, Iran, and India", AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association), 2009
  • Immigration Options for Investors & Entrepreneurs, Author, "Country Specific Issues and Challenges in Representing EB-5 Petitioners from the People's Republic of China", American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2010
  • Author, Practical Approaches to Lawful Source of Funds Issues, The EB-5 Book, published by, 2012
  • Webinar Presenter, Ethical Issues in EB-5 Practice, California State Bar, International Law Section, 2013
  • Presenter, Special Issues Inherent in Direct EB-5 Filings, EB-5 Conference, AILA, 2013

Office location for Robert Gaffney

601 Montgomery Street
Suite 1114
San Francisco, CA 94111


10 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2009 - 2013, 2019 - 2023

Certificates and credentials

California Board of Legal Specialization
Immigration and Nationality Law
California Board of Legal Specialization logo

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