W. John Yahya Vandenberg

W. John Yahya Vandenberg

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

W. John Yahya Vandenberg, co-founder of Hogan & Vandenberg LLC, has extensive experience in immigration litigation and business immigration.

Mr. Vandenberg has extensive immigration litigation experience, including federal appellate litigation, asylum litigation, and deportation defense. He has briefed and argued before the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and U.S. Immigration Courts in Philadelphia, PA, York, PA, Newark, NJ, New York, NY, and Falls Church, VA. He drafted legal briefs arguing the precedential U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit cases Fiadjoe v. Ashcroft, 411 F.3d 135 (3d Cir. 2005), and Shah v. Gonzales, 446 F.3d 429 (3d Cir. 2006), cases which successfully argued that Immigration Judges must treat asylum-seekers fairly and with respect. He argued Thu v. Attorney General USA, 510 F.3d 405 (3d Cir. 2007). In Thu, the Court granted the Burmese asylum seeker's Petition for Review because the Immigration Judge failed to consider evidence in the record which demonstrated his political activities. In 2009, he won a Petition for Review for a young Peruvian student. Torres v. Attorney General of the United States, 348 Fed. Appx. 796, (3d Cir. 2009). There, the Third Circuit ordered the Board of Immigration Appeals to Reopen Ms. Torres old removal case, handed down when she was a teenager. In 2010, Ms. Torres was finally granted U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident status. Mr. Vandenberg has successfully fought deportation on behalf of many clients, obtaining bonds for detained clients and ultimately obtaining relief from removal (deportation) based on family ties, employment, and asylum.

Mr. Vandenberg has obtained PERM labor certification approvals and employment-based U.S. Lawful Permanent Residence ("the green card") for foreign nationals ranging from small business employees to managers of well-known multi-national corporations. Prior to co-founding Hogan & Vandenberg LLC, Mr. Vandenberg accrued business immigration experience at a well-known local immigration firm, leading the office's PERM labor certification group to early and continuing success in PERM Labor Certification.

Mr. Vandenberg also has extensive experience with applications to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service, "INS") and the U.S. Department of State. He has successfully guided applications for naturalization, adjustment of status, and change of status through USCIS for business and family immigration clients. This includes representing clients in USCIS interviews at Philadelphia, PA, Cherry Hill, NJ, Newark, NJ, and Baltimore, MD, ensuring that their rights are protected and USCIS officers treat them respectfully and fairly. He has also worked with U.S. consulates and embassies to assist clients overseas for L-1, E-2, and B-1/B-2 visas, and is the author of "Consular Processing for Employers Seeking Foreign Employees," published in the 2005 Employment Law Update (Aspen Publishers).

Mr. Vandenberg is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Philadelphia chapter. In 2010, Mr. Vandenberg was a featured speaker at the Philadelphia American Immigration Lawyer Association Annual Conference. His presentation dealt with difficult Family-based immigration cases, such as Violence Against Women Act ("VAWA") relief for men, Islamic marriages and divorces, and marriage while in removal proceedings. He will also be a featured speaker on "Removal Proceedings in a Detained Setting" for the 2011 Annual Conference. Mr. Vandenberg is a member of the USCIS Liaison Committee, which meets with USCIS leadership at least yearly and conveys new policies and other insights to Chapter members. In 2010, Mr. Vandenberg completed the American Immigration Counsel/American Immigration Lawyers Association Litigation Institute.

Mr. Vandenberg is active in local immigrant communities. He is the author of immigration law columns in Funtimes Magazine, which serves the African and Caribbean communities in the Delaware Valley, and also for Jornal dos Imigrantes, which serves the Brazilian community from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts. He gives presentations about immigration and immigrant rights at local mosques, churches, and community centers. In 2007, he was named a Top Lawyer in Main Line Today magazine.  In 2012, he received the  Matthew Baxter Mentorship Award in recognition of his outstanding mentorship to the Philadelphia Chapter of AILA.

Mr. Vandenberg graduated from the Villanova University School of Law in Villanova, PA, in 2002 and was admitted to practice in Pennsylvania the same year. While at Villanova, he served as the President of the International Law Society from 2000-2001, and was a co-founder of the Islamic Law Forum. In 2002, Mr. Vandenberg and Mr. Hogan won the Villanova Law School Client Counseling Competition and represented Villanova at the regional level. In 2000, Mr. Vandenberg received a Global Democracy Project/Project Bosnia Study Grant and spent the summer at the American Bar Association's Central and Eastern European Law Initiative ("ABA/CEELI") office in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina. He was also the 2001-2002 recipient of the Brenda Joan Ruggiero Scholarship.

While at Villanova, Mr. Vandenberg studied human rights and asylum law as a Research Assistant for Professor Michele Pistone, author of the "Best Practices in Representing Asylum Seekers: A Video Resource for Pro Bono Attorneys." In his final year of law school, Mr. Vandenberg and another student successfully obtained asylum for a Rwandan client as a participant in the Villanova Clinic for Asylum, Refugees, and Emigrants (CARES). In 2001 he represented Villanova at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee's Refugee Clinic Symposium in Budapest, Hungary. Upon graduation from Villanova he was honored to receive the Faculty Recognition Award for his contributions to the law school.

Mr. Vandenberg earned his Bachelors Degree in Middle Eastern Studies (with Departmental Honors) from the University of Texas at Austin. While at the University of Texas he studied the Arabic Language and the history and culture of the Middle East.

Mr. Vandenberg is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and Immigration Courts nationwide. He is a member in good standing of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the National Association of Muslim Lawyers, and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He is conversational in Bosnian and Arabic.

Bar Admissions

  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania


  • Villanova University School of Law, Villanova, Pennsylvania - 2002
    • Honors: President, International Law Society from 2000-2001
    • Honors: Co-Founder, The Islamic Law Forum
    • Honors: Won, Villanova Law School Client Counseling Competition
    • Honors: Represented Villanova at the Regional Level
    • Honors: Received, Global Democracy Project/Project Bosnia Study Grant
    • Honors: Recipient, Brenda Joan Ruggiero Scholarship, 2001-2002
    • Honors: Faculty Recognition Award, for his Contributions to the Law School
  • University of Texas, Austin, Texas
    • Bachelors Degree in Middle Eastern Studies
    • Honors: With Departmental Honors
    • Major: Arabic Language
    • Major: History and Culture of the Middle East

Published Works

  • "Consular Processing for Employers Seeking Foreign Employees", 2005 Employment Law Update (Aspen Publishers)

Honors and Awards

  • Selected to 2012 Pennsylvania Rising Stars
  • Recipient, Matthew Baxter Mentorship Award in recognition of outstanding mentorship to the Philadelphia Chapter of AILA, 2012
  • Best Immigration Attorney on the Main Line, Main Line Today Magazine, 2007, Main Line Attorneys, Main Line Today Magazine, 2007

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Executive Committee of Philadelphia AILA, Vice-Secretary, 2012 - 2013
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies (Spring 2012), Adjunct Lecturer in Law
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association, Member
  • National Association of Muslim Lawyers, Member
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association, Member
  • Board of Trustees of Nationalities Service Center (NSC)