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When and Why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

Sep 2, 2019Immigration

We asked over a dozen immigration lawyers from around the country, when and why you should hire an immigration lawyer.


Here is what they told us:

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Mario Musil
Central Florida Immigration Lawyer
https://www.musillawfirm.com/

Your immigration process can be one of the most important and consequential processes in your life time.  It is certainly not something you want to leave up to chance. Even the smallest of mistakes can cause terrible outcomes.


When should you hire an Immigration Lawyer?

The best time to hire an immigration lawyer is at the very beginning, even before you decide you want to go forward with a visa or an immigration petition. Many attorneys offer a free consultation or one for a nominal fee. It is a great idea to determine what your options are and whether you qualify for a visa. If you do qualify for one, is it the best option for you?

Why should you hire an Immigration Lawyer?

Your immigration process can be one of the most important and consequential processes in your life time.  It is certainly not something you want to leave up to chance. Even the smallest of mistakes can cause terrible outcomes. I often receive phone calls from people who applied on their own, and during the process the spouse has left the country for an emergency and has triggered a 3 or 10 year ban – meaning they cannot re-enter the United States for a decade. Or people who file the wrong application, or assume a child is included on the parent’s petition and waste thousands of dollars in fees, and more importantly waste months ,if not years, of not being able to live with their loved ones.  I also hear about how a client’s cousin or best friend’s grandmother’s boyfriend received his green card in such and such way without the help of a lawyer. Many times the story sounds the same as if I had told you that I was driving on the highway at 120 MPH for 2 days straight and never received a ticket. The fact of the matter is, that sometimes people do things wrong and just get lucky. It doesn’t mean that just because one person had their case approved in a certain way,  that you will as well. Having a well respected and qualified immigration lawyer ensures that you are not depending on luck to have your case approved – instead you are doing it with the purpose of getting an approval on your petition.


How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

If you have friends or family members that have used an immigration lawyer and they were satisfied, start your research there. If not, look for immigration lawyers online. Be sure to check the lawyer’s license and their online reviews and reputation. Websites like avvo.com and martindale.com rate attorneys and aggregate reviews from clients, judges and other lawyers. Make sure your lawyer is a member of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA). This helps ensure that your attorney is involved in immigration matters and is up-to-date with all of the daily changes in the law. AILA lawyers also have access to liaisons and resources that are not available to non-member lawyers and the general public.  Once you narrowed down your search, meet with the lawyer and see if you “click” and are comfortable with the person – after all – this is the person whom you will have to trust with your future.


Do you have an interesting immigration situation that you were able to successfully resolve? 

Every immigration case is different and there is always something interesting that takes place. However, one of my recent cases turned from a straightforward applications to a horrible headache that took over two years to resolve – and the client and the law firm did everything correctly by the book. Essentially, a client obtained his Fiance Visa, entered the USA, got married and applied for his green card. His green card application was denied, because the Embassy that Approved his Fiance Visa did not take away his prior green card that had already expired some 10 years prior. The Embassy was aware of this, but failed to accept and execute the correct form – I 407. It used to be that the form could be presented at the USCIS interview in the USA, but they have changed their policy to not accept them any longer. The Embassy refused to accept the form from inside the USA and not agency was willing to accept in the USA. The case involved numerous consultations with different agencies, the embassy, numerous info-pass appointments, letters and e-mails. The client’s work permit expired and they were in a dire situation with only one income and a grown special needs child. After about two years of continuous advocating and persistence, we were able to get the Special Cases Unit of USCIS to intervene and to accept the I 407 in the USA. The denied case was re-opened and approved and the client received his 10 year green card. The situation was very hard for the clients and it shows that even through no fault of their own, things can get difficult and applicants will have to rely on the skill and perseverance of their lawyer.  

When to hire an Immigration Lawyer?

If you would like to sponsor (i.e. bring) a Family Member to The United States, you may want to hire an Immigration Lawyer. If you are an employer who wishes to sponsor (i.e. hire) a particular person for a job that requires specific knowledge or experience you may consider hiring an Immigration Lawyer. You may also want to consider getting assistance from an Immigration Lawyer when renewing your current Green Card or if you decide to apply to Naturalize (i.e. become a United States Citizen).

Why Should you hire an Immigration Lawyer?

Immigration Law is very complex. An Immigration Lawyer can speak with you and discuss your options. Once you decide how to proceed the Immigration Lawyer can help you through the application process. Part of the application process involves filling out various government forms. When looking at a form, it may be difficult to understand what a question is asking. This is where an Immigration Lawyer can help. Hiring an Immigration Lawyer can help minimize errors that could negatively affect your application.


How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

There are many things to consider when deciding to hire an Immigration Lawyer. The first and most important is to make sure that the person you are planning to hire is a licensed Immigration Lawyer. You need to make sure that the person you plan to work with has a license to practice law. In addition, you should do research about the person you plan to hire. Research Lawyers in your area who will be able to assist you. It is advisable to hire a lawyer who is in the area in which you live, if possible, so that you can meet the lawyer in person. It is important that you feel comfortable with the lawyer you plan to hire. It may be a good idea to go for a consultation to meet the lawyer before you decide to hire him or her.

Zafira Hudani
Atlanta, GA Immigration Lawyer
https://hudaniimmigrationlaw.com

The first and most important is to make sure that the person you are planning to hire is a licensed Immigration Lawyer.

Brent Poirier
Portsmouth, NH Immigration Lawyer
www.familyvisas.us

View your immigration case as one of the most important decisions affecting your future…

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer? 

It is advisable to view your immigration case as one of the most important decisions affecting your future. Sometimes it looks easy – anyone can fill out a form asking for your name and address and Social Security number. About 80% of filling out the form is straightforward; but the form is not the whole picture – strategy is important, knowing the immigration system is important; and the 20% often contains pitfalls. Lawyers dedicate themselves to studying the laws, and rely on their own experience as well as the experiences shared by their colleagues. There was a time 20-30 years ago when there were simple, straightforward immigration cases. No more – the system is complex and often severe.

How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

Ask people for recommendations; if you know an attorney who practices in another field, ask him or her for recommendations for an immigration lawyer; read reviews of the immigration attorney by former clients; ask how much of the attorney’s practice is immigration law of the type you have. Look up the attorney on his or her state bar and see if there’s a record of discipline. A lot depends on what type of case you have – are you asking for professional help in filing an application, or are you asking for professional help in immigration court, defending you from deportation / removal? Does your case involve a former crime? If so you may want an immigration lawyer who has a background in defending or prosecuting criminal cases – this is a particularly complex area of immigration law. For some cases you want a lawyer who can appear with you in court or at the immigration interview; but if the person seeking the visa is not in the USA, you may feel comfortable using an attorney in another part of the country who knows the field but you will never enter that attorney’s office because the whole case is done electronically, and the attorney won’t be going to the interview (e.g. if your are petitioning for a visa for a relative who lives in another country and will be interviewed only in the other country).

 

Do you have an interesting immigration story that you were able to successfully resolve? 
Thirty years ago a man came to me, asking for help with his case. He was applying for amnesty under a program President Reagan had set up, and he had to prove that he was in the USA illegally and had done agricultural work for two years. He had crossed the desert into the USA without documents eight years before, and was living in a culvert under the interstate highway. I asked where he was born, and he told me the name of a city in Mexico; I asked where his father was born – he was from the same city. I asked where his mother was born – California. How long had she lived in the USA? All of her life. I asked a bit more and then informed him that he did not need to prove he had been working in the fields, he did not need to hide from the Border Patrol, and he did not need to live in that drainage pipe – he had been an American citizen since the day he was born. His mom had transmitted US citizenship to him at birth.

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

You should hire an immigration lawyer BEFORE you have a problem. All too often I encounter individuals who filed some kind of case without legal assistance and are now dealing with the fallout of that choice. Perhaps they didn’t send in a required piece of evidence, or they misunderstood a question and are facing an accusation of fraud or misrepresentation. Worst of all, there are several kinds of errors that just cannot be fixed, even with the aid of an experienced immigration lawyer. If you are considering doing ANY immigration filings or have any immigration matter on your plate, now is the time to hire a lawyer.

Regarding why should you hire an immigration lawyer, the most important reasons is straightforward — these attorneys have specialized knowledge in a very complex area of law. They can help and guide you through the process. An additional reason is so that you may have peace of mind. Your attorney is a trusted friend; he or she has your best interests at heart. This becomes especially vital during interactions with the government. Finally, hiring a lawyer can relieve some stress. Even if you have some knowledge of the law, you will not have as much as a licensed attorney who practices immigration law everyday. It’s comforting to know that someone else is handling all the small details to prepare your case.


How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

Although there are many different ways to select an immigration lawyer, the best way, in my opinion is to consult the most important people in your life to see who they might know. Perhaps one or more of them needed an immigration lawyer themselves. Find out which attorney they used and ask questions about why that attorney was so good. Even if they didn’t need an immigration attorney, perhaps they know of someone you could speak with. Starting with your inner circle of friends, family, and other close acquaintances makes sense because you already trust their viewpoints. Another efficient way to select the right immigration lawyer for you is to review attorney rating websites such as Google or AVVO. What you’re looking for are specific comments about why the particular attorney is good or not so good. Generic comments are largely unhelpful, so try to focus on the comments who give specific examples about how the attorney operates. From there, you can call the attorney to discuss setting a consultation. Of course, no matter the option, you have to make sure the attorney practices the particular area of immigration law that is relevant to your case. An attorney can be brilliant with 100 five-star reviews. However, if that attorney does not practice in the specific are of immigration law that you need, he or she is not the best attorney for you.

Do you have an interesting immigration story that you were able to successfully resolve?

 

In 2017 and 2018, while I was a law student, I assisted on a case that was successfully litigated at the United States Supreme Court. I provided helpful research for the briefs and, upon remand and with attorney supervision, was successful in getting the client’s removal proceedings dismissed and his green card restored.

Andrew Rankin
Memphis, TN Immigration Attorney
https://www.ajrimmigration.com

You should hire an immigration lawyer BEFORE you have a problem. All too often I encounter individuals who filed some kind of case without legal assistance and are now dealing with the fallout of that choice.

Joel Padilla
Fairfax, VA Immigration Attorney 
https://www.padillaimmigration.com

Unfortunately, the most “crazy” immigration story I have is one I see regularly in my practice, which is unraveling the filings made by an unauthorized practitioner, or “notario”, on behalf of a potential client. 

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

There are two main areas of law that a particular outcome could result in being separated from family and loved ones: criminal law and immigration law. The internet is filled with endless amounts of information and individuals may feel tempted to “WebMd” or self-diagnose their immigration issue in order to save on legal fees. However, it is best to at least consult with an immigration lawyer about a particular situation in light of the potential consequences of an unfavorable outcome. Navigating, understanding, and possessing the skill to address the nuances of your immigration issue are key to obtaining a successful outcome. The practice of immigration law is widely considered as one of the most complex areas of law, which is constantly and rapidly changing. While some immigration matters may appear straightforward and simple to self apply, most require the experience in issue spotting and the knowledge to anticipate potential issues.

How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?
 
Many factors can weigh in choosing your immigration lawyer, such as reputation, experience, and specialization in immigration matters. One of the most important factors to consider is the confidence and trust in your immigration lawyer. A client should always feel confident that his or her lawyer is competent, diligent, and committed to the successful outcome of their case. Equally important, a client must feel complete trust in communicating with their respective lawyer. Certain immigration matters involve incredibly sensitive and personal details that must be received by the lawyer with sympathy and compassion for the client. Also, clients need to work closely with their attorneys to assure that all information is communicated and all documents made available in order to best position a case.
 
Do you have an interesting or a crazy immigration story that you were able to successfully resolve? 
 
Unfortunately, the most “crazy” immigration story I have is one I see regularly in my practice, which is unraveling the filings made by an unauthorized practitioner, or “notario”, on behalf of a potential client.  These individuals arrive in frustration after their immigration matter has not progressed and have been scammed out of significant amounts of money.   As immigration lawyers, we face the added challenge of attempting to cure the defects of any prior filings made on behalf of the client.  Curing these defects add time and expenses to what could otherwise be a straight forward case.  Such cases highlight the need for clients to consult directly and exclusively with licensed practitioners in order to avoid falling victim to these schemes.

 

 

 

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

It’s never too early to consult with an immigration lawyer because “you don’t know what you don’t know.” In other words, if you are not even aware of your blind spots then the immigration process you are seeking to benefit from can end up backfiring and be the cause of separation with your loved ones. For example, the recently published Public Charge rule will make it challenging to overcome the presumption that an elderly parent you wish you sponsor from abroad, will not come to the US and need to apply for public benefits once they get their Green Card. As immigration lawyers we cannot guarantee outcomes but we can use our experience to maximize the chances of success.


How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

I would hire an immigration lawyer that I felt a connection with. Trust is everything in this business and no one should feel that their lawyer is not accessible.

Do you have an interesting immigration story that you were able to successfully resolve?

About 6 years ago a client walked into my office with her immigration file which was filled with denied petitions and applications filed that didn’t make much sense. The woman was in her late 30s and told me that she needed a Green Card so she could continue to get kidney dialysis every other day and so she could eventually be eligible for a kidney transplant. I never had the feeling that the case I was working on would be a matter of life and death.

She told me she came to the US from Guyana at the age of 16 and has been undocumented since. I dug deep into her case and found that there was possibly a way to get her the Green Card. She told me she was frustrated with attorneys giving her false hope and it was hard to trust but that she was willing to try. It took about three years but eventually we did get her a Green Card.

This case and the client meant so much to me.

 

Sharon Khunkhun 
New York, NY Immigration Attorney 
https://www.immigrationlawnewyork.com/

I would hire an immigration lawyer that I felt a connection with. Trust is everything in this business and no one should feel that their lawyer is not accessible.

Beth Boyer
Greenwich, CT Immigration Attorney 
https://www.bgtlawfirm.com/

Read reviews for the attorney online, and call to speak with the attorney. Then, make an appointment for a consultation. If during your meeting the attorney is attentive, and you believe she or he understands your issue, and if all your questions are answered clearly, then you can feel comfortable that you will be well-represented by the person.

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

Ideally, everyone who is seeking an immigration benefit, such as a green card, should see an attorney for an evaluation of eligibility for the benefit sought. For example, someone who marries a U.S. citizen may think they can adjust status to get a green card by simply filing a few forms. But if the immigrant spouse came here without a visa, then they are not eligible to adjust status (though they may have other options). And there is a LOT more involved than filing some forms.

An initial consultation is generally not costly, and often, an attorney will apply the fee paid for a consultation towards representation. During a consultation, the attorney will explain what immigration options a person has (or doesn’t have) based on his or her situation. You can ask what the timeframes and costs are for each option, and understand the process, forms, government fees and documentation you will be required to submit. Then you can decide whether to hire the attorney to represent you in your case.

There is a huge amount of information on the internet, but relying on that is dangerous—the information is often not prepared by lawyers, many times the web sites are not updated when regulations and policies change (which they do frequently), and sometimes the information contained in them is just plain wrong. Also, relying on someone else’s experiences is risky as everyone has a unique situation and you will not be aware of all the differences in your case from one that someone writes about on the web. Working with a lawyer helps ensure that you are getting up-to-date and accurate legal information, that time limits are observed and the attorney doesn’t merely prepare the forms and take a fee. Your lawyer should be available to you for questions throughout the entire process of your case, should explain every step clearly, and should be responsive to you.

How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?
 

Your lawyer should be a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Among other benefits, AILA members have access to liaisons in each state and on a national level to help deal with issues from contacting a field office director at your local U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) office, to a Senator or Congressional representative, to your state Department of Motor Vehicles.

Read reviews for the attorney online, and call to speak with the attorney. Then, make an appointment for a consultation. If during your meeting the attorney is attentive, and you believe she or he understands your issue, and if all your questions are answered clearly, then you can feel comfortable that you will be well-represented by the person. Ask the lawyer if she or he has handled situations like yours, and what the outcomes have been. If you are not comfortable with the person, move on to get a new consultation elsewhere. You don’t have to choose the first lawyer you meet. It may cost a bit to have multiple consultations, but that is better than signing a contract for representation with a lawyer who isn’t right for your case.

 
Do you have an interesting, or a crazy, immigration story that you were able to successfully resolve? 
 

I recently represented a client who sought my representation for an immigrant visa for his spouse who was living overseas. They needed to go through a process at the U.S. consulate in the foreign spouse’s country. In evaluating their documentation, I realized the couple was married several weeks before the foreign spouse’s divorce was approved. In that country, a couple who is divorcing must register the divorce, and they are given a certification of the registration. However, that was not adequate, they needed to have the final approval from their government, or a court decree, that stated the divorce was final.

An attorney will examine all civil documents to make sure that the birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decrees, etc., are all the exact type that will be accepted by the U.S. government. In this case, I explained the situation to the couple–they were not legally married–they had married before a final divorce decree had been received. At the point I was reviewing their material, they did have the final divorce decree, so I advised them to get married again! The “second” marriage was valid, as it was performed after the granting of the prior marriage’s final divorce decree. It was difficult logistically, as the U.S. spouse needed to fly overseas to do this, get a marriage license there, register the marriage in that country and have all the documentation translated to English. But once this was complete, they were able to file the appropriate paperwork and the documentation indicated both parties were legally eligible to marry, and their case was approved by the U.S. government–success!

The couple told me that without my help they would never have known this would be an issue. Their case would have been denied, and they would have remained separated for a much longer time, would have had to file everything all over again, and would have had to pay the government fees all over again. They not only avoided all that, they also have two wedding anniversaries, and they plan to always celebrate them both!

 

 

 

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

Immigration law is a very complex and fast-changing area of law. One should hire an immigration attorney to submit almost any and all applications. Immigration form questions that may seem benign, to an unskilled eye, if answered incorrectly may open up an applicant to inadmissibility and/or removal issues.

Sometimes, through submitting the wrong form, the wrong information, or submitting when one shouldn’t have, the applicant may find themselves in removal proceedings. It is also important to note, that DHS/ICE/CBP/USCIS all maintain records on any and all applicants. So even if one is approved for a certain benefit today, an inadvertent mistake in filling out a form may still cause problems far into the future.

Bottom line is that it is very important to consider hiring an immigration attorney to help you navigate the complexity of applying for almost all immigration benefits.

 

How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

One needs to look at the years of practice, their reviews, and the experience they have with the particular process you are needing help with.

Fae Sowders
Phoenix, AZ Immigration Attorney 
https://www.sowderslaw.com/

Immigration law is a very complex and fast-changing area of law. One should hire an immigration attorney to submit almost any and all applications. 

Mike Hammond
Cincinnati, OH Immigration Attorney 
http://www.hammondlawgroup.com/

Referrals is the best way to select a service provider. Selecting an immigration lawyer is no different than how we select our dentist or eye doctor or landscaper.

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

For an individual, I think in either of two circumstances, first, if the process you are trying to complete is not understood by you or secondly, even if you understand the process but, place a higher value on your time than the amount you are going to pay to the immigration lawyer.

I often use the example of changing the oil in your car, you may be able to change the oil but, you may prefer to pay your local mechanic or drive thru oil change facility rather than take the time to do it yourself. For corporations, I think the answer is always; whether it be in house or outside counsel, a corporation should never allow a matter to be done in a DIY fashion.

How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

Referrals is the best way to select a service provider. Selecting an immigration lawyer is no different than how we select our dentist or eye doctor or landscaper.

 

 

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

Before you affirmatively seek relief or defensively need immigration help.


How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

You should pick an attorney with whom you feel personally comfortable, who is able to answer your immigration questions, but who is not afraid to say she is not sure of the answer, looks it up or ask another source until she comes up with the answer.


Do you have an interesting immigration story that you were able to successfully resolve?

In a naturalization interview, the officer asked about a drug possession case from our county that I had not been able to find so he issued a request for evidence. I found the case under a different combination of the client’s name but it was so old that the court file had been destroyed. The conviction in the old court computer system had shown the case to be a conviction for drug possession, which is a problem. However, the computer system had recently been replaced and now showed the conviction to be for possession of drug paraphernalia (“pdp”), a big difference. I researched the issue and found out that pdp is not a problem for admission or deportability in North Carolina and the client became a citizen forthwith.

Bailey Farrin
Durham, NC Immigration Attorney 
http://www.marcushillattorney.com/

You should pick an attorney with whom you feel personally comfortable and who is able to answer your immigration questions.

Calvin Kourosh Azadi
Miami, FL Immigration Attorney 
https://azadilaw.com/

Applying for an Immigration benefit (visa, residency, or citizenship) is not as simple as just filing forms. There are many rules and regulations that non-lawyers are unfamiliar with which can have consequences on the outcome of your application.

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

Applying for an Immigration benefit (visa, residency, or citizenship) is not as simple as just filing forms. There are many rules and regulations that non-lawyers are unfamiliar with which can have consequences on the outcome of your application. An immigration lawyer will ensure that you qualify for the benefit you’re applying for and prepare a package that properly supports your case. Immigration lawyers have support staff that will help prepare your case and ensure that all your calls and emails are answered throughout your immigration process. Studies have proven that hiring an immigration lawyer results in a much higher approval rating and significantly decreases the chance of being deported. It would be a shame to risk your visa, residency, or citizenship application and get caught in complications that could potentially cost you denial or increased legal costs to remedy the case.


How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

The best way to choose an immigration lawyer is to use all resources available to you and to do your “homework” which is a 3 step process. Step 1, ask for referrals from friends, family members, and coworkers who personally know or have worked with a qualified immigration attorney. Step 2, go online and read Avvo reviews on the attorney you are considering. The Avvo Rating reflects the type of information people have identified as important when looking to hire an attorney and is based on a model developed with input from hundreds of attorneys, thousands of consumers, and many other legal professionals who deeply understand the work attorneys do. Step 3, schedule an appointment to speak or meet with an attorney and make sure you feel comfortable with them. Don’t hesitate to get a 2nd opinion or quote before signing a contract to retain an attorney.


Do you have an interesting  immigration story that you were able to successfully resolve?
 
A potential client was referred to me after several other attorneys told her that she didn’t qualify for an E-2 Visa because she had only invested $56,000 in her textile company. Investor visas normally require an investment of $100,000 or more but other factors are considered when evaluating an E-2 visa application. Her I-94 was set to expire within a week and she was adamant about doing a change of status instead of a consular process. Myself and my staff evaluated her case and determined that she had at least a fair chance of being approved for the investor visa. She contracted us and we worked diligently throughout the weekend in order to submit her case on time. Her case was approved and her company is now an official vendor for 1 of the biggest cruise lines in the world. We were able to help her because we were thorough in our research and highlighted factors that other attorneys overlooked as they were too focused on the investment amount. The difference between a good immigration attorney and a great one is their attention to detail as well as their ability to think creatively in support of their client’s case.

 

 

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

It is usually best to hire an immigration at the very beginning of your immigration case or when the immigration related concern first arises. Just as you would consult a doctor the very moment you have a medical concern. It is best not to self-diagnose or turn to Google for answers. Like doctors, lawyers invest significant time and money to learn their trade, and use their experience to answer your questions and resolve your immigration concerns. Timing is often a significant factor and it is critical to address certain immigration issues as soon as possible, or lose an opportunity. An experienced immigration lawyer will prepare your case with the primary aim of getting it approved. The lawyer will also recognize and analyze any potential legal issues or complications and address them. Recognizing potential concerns is critical to ensure the best result for you. Hiring an immigration lawyer takes the burden and stress off you and shoulders the responsibility of the outcome. The immigration lawyer is an investment in the client’s life.

How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

The first step is to get references of experienced immigration lawyers from your others. Even if you find an experienced lawyer on the internet, PAY for the initial consultations and MEET two or three immigration lawyers and compare their Credentials (is lawyer licensed and in good standing? has lawyer ever been subject to disciplinary action?), Experience, and Legal Fees. It is best not to choose the cheapest lawyer, or even the lawyer that charges the most. Pick the lawyer you feel most comfortable with, who addressed your concerns during the initial consultation. Just like choosing a doctor to treat your medical concern, choose the lawyer who has the best “bedside manner”. Like doctors, immigration lawyers deal with someone’s life. The right immigration lawyer is an investment in the client’s life.

Do you have an interesting immigration story that you were able to successfully resolve?

My client applied for permanent residence through his spouse in 1994. Partly because they did not retain an immigration lawyer to handle the process, the application was denied. In 2003, my client filed for permanent resident through a family member. This application was also denied because it related to the prior application. My client retained an attorney to appeal his case but since the appeal was not properly tracked, the case fell into the government’s immigration cases black hole. In June 2015, my client retained me to investigate his case. In September 2015, I emailed the head of USCIS, Newark, New Jersey, to track the file and I persuaded her to reopen the case. In November 2015, I filed new evidence on my client’s behalf. We attended the USCIS interview on May 18, 2016. At the end of the interview, the Immigration Officer informed us that he had approved my client’s permanent residence application and that my client would receive his Green Card by mail. I congratulated my client and he called his family to share his incredible news. Everyone was overjoyed. My client was so very grateful he was emotional. I returned to my office. 45 minutes later, I received a telephone call from the Immigration Officer to let me know that additional checks were required. To say the least, my client was disappointed for months. After one year of being patient, my client gave up believing that he would ever become a permanent US resident and asked me about moving to Canada. I too began to wonder if his case would ever be approved. Well, in November 2017, exactly 18 months after his interview, and 23 years later, my client received his Green Card. Whew! To say the least, my client is now able to live and breathe freely.

My client made the best investment in his life by retaining me to handle this monumental aspect of his life.

Nita Kundanmal
Hackensack, NJ Immigration Attorney 
https://www.nkesq.com/

An experienced immigration lawyer will prepare your case with the primary aim of getting it approved. The lawyer will also recognize and analyze any potential legal issues or complications and address them. Hiring an immigration lawyer takes the burden and stress off you and shoulders the responsibility of the outcome.

Emily Reber-Mariniello
Seattle, WA Immigration Attorney 
https://www.ermimmigrationlaw.com/

It is easy to make a small mistake that, particularly now, can cause you a lot of problems, cost you a lot more money, or worse – separate you from the job, place, or people you love, potentially permanently. Even when people do things right the process can go sideways.

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

The best time to hire a lawyer is before you file for your immigration paperwork, make major life changes in anticipation of immigration, or find yourself already in trouble. Nearly daily, I have new clients come into our office after struggling for hours with the paperwork, who are losing sleep over whether they are going to be safe in this process, leave saying, “I really wish I had just come to you before we wasted all this time and stress.”

I never wish to alarm people, but even if your case is not complicated it is easy to make a small mistake that, particularly now, can cause you a lot of problems, cost you a lot more money, or worse – separate you from the job, place, or people you love, potentially permanently. Even when people do things right the process can go sideways. And with policy and enforcement changing, seemingly daily, it is not possible for most people to keep up with what the reality on the ground is – even those with legal or business experience have problems navigating the immigration system.

However, experienced immigration attorneys know how to get you through it, successfully, while protecting your interests. Good attorneys also support you not only in the technical process, but also through the obstacles of living a regular life while immigrating. This is your entire life and future, and a small-up front investment can save you a lot of money and heartache in the long run. The peace of mind and ease of process is worth every penny. For those with more complicated matters, it is empirically proven that having a lawyer will exponentially increase the chances of your case being approved.

There are many reasons why you should get an immigration attorney, the question really should be, why not?

How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

Each person will have something they need in an immigration attorney. For some, that may be fast efficient service without frills, for others, it may be a lot of reassurance and emotional support. These are very important factors in your decision because you will likely be working with this person for a long time, sometimes several years. So, you want to like this person and be able to trust them. 

But equally important is that your representative is skilled, creative, and competent. Experience is key, but this must be balanced with a drive and passion to help others. You may also want to know whether this attorney has a good reputation in their community of lawyers and your community of immigrants. Attorney review platforms, word of mouth, and just meeting with the potential attorney can help you sort that out. You can shop around and meet with more than one attorney. Most attorneys either waive the consultation fee if you are “attorney shopping” or will credit your consultation fee back to you if you hire them for the work as a courtesy, but a consultation fee or credit shouldn’t be why you chose your attorney. If your potential hire has no “presence” then you may be wary of their record; be aware of scams like “notarios” which are not lawyers in the United States, or unscrupulous attorneys who might have something to hide in their history. You should also avoid “help” from “visa services” in foreign countries as they are well-known to inaccurately report your information, causing serious problems for your processes later.

As the sayings go, “time is money,” and “you get what you pay for,” so you may consider these old wise words when doing your research; even a consultation can be well worth the small fee.


Do you have an interesting  immigration story that you were able to successfully resolve?

 
Every case is unique, even the “simple” ones. Almost every case has a twist, from nonimmigrant or worker visas, to green cards or Naturalization. Finding creative solutions and the ability to “adapt and overcome” is crucial. There are countless examples of crazy stories and every case is interesting!

 

 

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer?

Almost any time that you file an application to USCIS unless it is a renewal of LPR cards or simple naturalizations. However, even naturalizations are having issues and records are being scrutinized to place people into proceedings so even then an attorney should be consulted.

How should you choose which immigration lawyer to hire?

The best way is through referral through your family attorney who handles other matters for you. The second best way is referral if you have friends or relatives who have been satisfied with the work of an immigration attorney.

Do you have an interesting immigration story that you were able to successfully resolve?

I have had an El Salvador woman who was on the plane to El Salvador with an in absentia removal order telling the deportation officers that “my attorney says I am entitled to a credible fear interview, you cannot send me” and the ICE officers telling her that I was not an attorney but a notario who stole her money. They brought her back, I got her case reopened and she is on her way to a green card.

Bonnie Smerdon
Aventura, FL Immigration Attorney 
www.linkedin.com/in/smerdonbonnie/

When and why should you hire an immigration lawyer? 
Almost any time that you file an application to USCIS…