Whether or not you choose to hire an immigration attorney is a personal decision. But, if you are wondering if you or someone you know is eligible for an immigration benefit, there is a clear advantage contacting an immigration attorney: in the world of immigration, time matters!
Experienced immigration attorneys offer a deeper understanding of options gained through their familiarity working with the immigration system. As immigration is a highly politicized area of law, it is constantly changing with the political tide. Therefore, working with a lawyer who is passionate and maintains abreast of legal changes can be crucial to protecting and preserving your immigration case.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN A CONSULTATION WITH AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER? Bring documents relevant to your case:
Any notices/documents from immigration authorities – example: USCIS, Immigration Court Copy of Visas
Copy of I-94
Records of Criminal Convictions/Charges
Payment for consultation (if applicable)
Be prepared to provide information:
The immigration attorney’s job is to hear the facts of your case and determine a path forward. In order to help you, they will have to ask many questions about your history and your present. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions of the attorney directly. At the end of the consultation, the attorney keeps notes of the conversation, evaluates all information, and provides options for the client to achieve the identified goal.
Be honest with the attorney:
It is incredibly important for your case to be as honest as possible with the attorney. Your lawyer’s goal is to protect you from negative immigration consequences, and they are bound by ethics rules to confidentially when a client/attorney relationship exists. Despite this ethical obligation to the client, it is important to note that attorneys cannot help their clients perpetrate a fraud or otherwise lie to immigration officials.
Attorney fees and immigration fees:
Immigration cases are taken typically on a flat rate basis, although this depends on the individual lawyer. At the consultation, the attorney may provide you a quote for the anticipated services, as the lawyers at Woehrle Dahlberg Yao, PLLC, can explain.
Be mindful that immigration authorities (USCIS, EOIR, NVC, Consulates, etc.) may have fees of their own. As a result, it is best to ask the attorney at the consultation whether the fees they quote include immigration fees or whether those are to be paid separately. This way you can avoid surprises later since you know the total amount you must budget upfront.