If you are preparing to meet with an immigration lawyer, there are ways you can optimize your consultation. The more information you have to present, the more effectively your lawyer can help you. To prepare in advance for a meeting with a prospective lawyer, consider the following:
Get paperwork related to your case.
Documentation you should bring to your consultation include visas, visa applications, birth certificate, marriage certificate, passports, and letters you’ve received from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Be sure to bring any documentation you were provided upon entering the United States.
Write down events and dates of relevance.
To give your lawyer a backstory about who you are, write down events and dates that are important to your immigration situation. This can be details such as why you left your country, if you have a sponsor in the U.S., whether you are seeking asylum, incidents of violence back home, and names of other victims or perpetrators. Witnesses who can attest to your story and what is happening in your home country can be influential to the outcome of your case.
Bring copies of criminal records.
If you have a criminal record, do not try to hide this from your lawyer. The U.S. immigration authorities may have already taken your fingerprints, or they will at some point, so any past offenses are going to be discovered eventually, and you may risk losing your case if you lie. Your lawyer is not there to judge you, and cannot help you entirely if they aren’t fully in the know about your history.
Complete forms from your lawyer.
After consulting with you, a lawyer may decide to take on your case and then give you paperwork that you need to fill out. Your lawyer can help you fill in the required information, and you must submit it in a timely manner to avoid missing deadlines.