There are more exceptions to the rules of immigration than there are rules. Immigration can be a complicated process and sometimes a person only gets one chance to immigrate. An immigration attorney can help a person work through the complicated process and can work with the United States Government Officials with whom the attorney likely has a working relationship. Immigration attorneys are well-versed in the law and in creating the most favorable presentation of your case to immigration officials.
Generally speaking, if your intention is to visit the United States for business, travel, or even to study, it is not required to consult an immigration lawyer unless you un into problems. Along with this guide, there are many websites and United States government resources on the internet which will guide you through the forms you need to complete as well as the documents you need to provide.
If you intend to immigrate to the United States, then it would be wise to consult an immigration attorney before submitting all of your paperwork. Guides like this one will help familiarize you with the immigration process and will alert you to some of the possibilities for getting an immigrant visa number. Immigration attorneys typically charge by the hour, so the more you know before you call an attorney, the less time the attorney will have to spend on you and the less money you will have to give the attorney.
For employment based visas and green cards, usually the employer will hire and pay for an attorney to help get the employee to the United States and to work as soon as possible for the benefit of the company. Some employers may be unfamiliar with the process of bringing foreign nationals to work in the United States and may not want to spend money on the process. If that is the case, it would be wise for a foreign national employee to invest in an attorney because the process can be complicated and the cost of the attorney should be considered a wise investment in the future of the employee who doesn't want to miss the opportunity to work in the United States.
Anyone who has a criminal past, even minor crimes should contact an immigration attorney before submitting applications or documents. Fraud and lying on applications are two ways to hurt your chances of immigrating and can possibly result in a finding of indefinite inadmissibility. An immigration attorney should advise you on how best to answer questions regarding past criminal or suspicious activity.
Similarly, people with inadmissibility factors should consult an attorney before submitting documents, and before giving up their efforts to visit or live in the United States. An experience immigration attorney should give you a realistic opinion about your individual chances of getting a visa as well as an expectation of a timeframe for the process.
People seeking political asylum or refugee status should also seek the advice of an immigration attorney as it is a complicated legal process requiring appearances before an Immigration Judge. If an individual is seeking protection, the immigration status is likely a matter of life and death and is best left to professionals. Attorney fees should not prohibit an immigrant from getting legal help. There are many volunteer attorneys, including law school clinics, who provide free legal representation to refugees and asylees seeking protection.
U.S. citizens wishing to marry a foreign national should be able to manage the application process for bringing a fiancé(e) and for adjusting status after marriage. As with all visa applicants, if a citizen is confused by the process or has questions or concerns, s/he should consult an attorney before submitting applications or documents, and before the personal interview. Permanent residents may benefit even more than U.S. citizens in applying for a spouse to have permanent residence as they do not have all the rights a U.S. citizen has and the process may be more complicated.
Anyone considering immigrating to the United States should seriously consider speaking to an attorney before submitting applications, petitions, and documents. An immigration attorney should be able to help organize documents and make sure everything is in order to avoid unnecessary delay in the processing of the application. Also, an immigration attorney can offer guidance and legal representation in complicated cases which end up in court.
The best way to find a good lawyer is through referrals. If someone else had a good experience with an immigration attorney, that is a good place to start. Immigration law is a specialty and you should contact someone who practices immigration law specifically. Immigration law changes often and you will need someone who practices it daily and stays up to date on all changes. You can also get a Free Case Review from a local Immigration Lawyer by clicking here.
There are local non-profit organizations in every state, and in many countries, which can help direct you to a competent immigration attorney. The USCIS website offers a list of non-profit organizations which have been approved by them. While it is not required that you use an organization on that list, it is safe to assume those organizations are legal and fairly competent. If you are in a foreign country without access to an attorney, you can contact an attorney in the United States through e-mail or by phone.
Be careful to not waste your time and money on a bad lawyer. Any lawyer who guarantees results or approaches you and solicits your business should be avoided. Also, any lawyer who encourages you to lie or hide facts on your applications and forms should be avoided. Reputable immigration attorneys know the serious consequences for lying on immigration documents and they have a legal responsibility to encourage applicants to always be honest. If you have a bad feeling about a lawyer, trust your instincts and contact someone else.