Whether or not to hire an immigration attorney is something that every applicant should consider, and the decision may be difficult. Even more difficult is how to choose the right attorney once a decision has been made to hire one.
If your immigration matter is simple and straightforward, it might make sense to do the job on your own. After all, the fees that immigration attorneys charge are expensive, from upwards of $1,000.00 for a simple green card petition to as much as $5,000.00 to adjust the status of a recently married applicant. You must also feel comfortable with completing complicated government forms. A good rule of thumb--if you do not feel comfortable filing your taxes without the advice of an accountant, you probably should not handle your immigration matter without the advice of an immigration attorney.
You should strongly consider hiring an immigration attorney if any of the following situations apply to you.
If you have ever engaged in criminal activity, regardless of whether or not you have been convicted, especially any:
Once you have decided to hire an immigration attorney, you will need to have confidence that you are choosing the right one for your situation. There are many factors to consider. It is important to understand that immigration attorneys are specialists. In general, it is best to avoid attorneys that practice other kinds of law, with immigration law as only a sideline.
If you have a personal lawyer for other matters, he/she should be an excellent source for a referral to an immigration lawyer. Friends or family that have gone through the immigration process with the help of immigration attorneys should also be good sources. The bar association in your state should also be a good resource, especially if your immigration matter is complicated or special. In addition, Dr. Gordon has worked with numerous immigration lawyers over the years and can recommend several in the local area. Several immigration attorneys near you could take good care of you.
Once you have a short list of immigration attorneys that you think might be able to help you, set up initial consultations with each one. Do not be afraid to ask pointed questions about their overall experience, experience with immigration law, the number of cases they have handled that were similar to yours, and their overall success rates. While the above items are important, equally important to your choice, or even more so is the degree to which you and the attorney get along and how effectively you feel that the attorney communicates.
Finally, despite your best efforts, sometimes you may have to consider firing your first attorney and switching to another. Before taking this drastic step, make sure that whatever is going on (a long delay, for example) is actually the attorney’s fault, as oftentimes, the fault may lie with the federal government and the overall process.
Also Read: How Is Tuberculosis Linked to Immigrants