Reading only some of the available online resources might lead you to the conclusion that immigrating to the United States is a really difficult process. It can be, but once you know how much easier consulting an immigration attorney can make things, you’ll realize that the only way you’re going to to do this successfully, is by doing it the right way… The USA is a nation of immigrants. Immigration law was written to streamline the process of immigration, but understanding and being able to apply these laws is key, and if you’re not an expert (like most of us), consulting an immigration lawyer is just essential. What’s also essential is knowing what to keep an eye out for to avoid any problems.
Tip 1: Avoid Using Lawyers Who Approach You At The Immigration Office
Many “high-volume, low value” immigration attorneys can be found lurking the hallways of immigration offices across the country, attempting to solicit business from the poor unsuspecting public. Avoid them like your paycheck depends on it! Because, trust me – it will! Any immigration attorney worthy of your business is going to be too busy practicing immigration law and working for their current clients to spend time looking for new clients in this way.
Tip 2: You Get What You Pay For
Finding the cheapest immigration attorney is by far the biggest mistake people make. Not only is the amount an attorney charges an indication of the quality of their services and the level of their training, but it is often also an indication of an attorney working on many different cases at the same time, too many, and even in the case of a well trained expert, with years of experience in this field, they’re still unable to dedicate enough time to each and every client.
Tip 3: Avoid Using An Immigration “Consultant” or “Notario”
Only a practicing immigration lawyer should be trusted to handle your immigration. There are many non-lawyers who sometimes don’t recognize how complex this area of law really is, thinking that they are qualified enough to assist foreigners needing help with their immigration process… They’re not qualified enough, and what some of these people are really offering is a complete scam. Yes, that’s right, they literally take your money and run. Or even worse, sometimes they will actually fill out your forms in some incorrect and damaging way without you even being aware of the error. And then being unable to fix the unknown problem if your application gets rejected down the line because of it.
Tip 4: Do Your Research
You should be able to find and find out a lot about your lawyer online. Once you’ve Google searched for immigration attorneys in your area, check to see if they’re listed as a member of the ABA (American Bar Association), and also that they are a member of the or AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) a professional organization that all good immigration attorneys join). If they have some good reviews on Martindale this is also a great sign.
Tip 5: Shop Around
It is essential to meet with several attorneys before deciding on the best fit. I recommend between 3 and 5 to choose from. This will give you some basis for comparison between services and fees before choosing. This is SO important! In some cases, getting another opinion can reveal that the first attorney didn’t even understand your case, the law, was trying rob you, or maybe they were trying to do something unethical, or maybe something that could possibly even get you kicked out the country. I’m not joking…
Now go do your research…and once you have a list of worthy candidates, all you then have to do is make a few phone calls and book some consultations.
And remember, any good immigration attorney, even though they’ll be pretty busy, will still have a secretary available to talk with you, or at least to take your name and call you right back, answering any questions you initially have.
Your lawyer’s secretary will be your biggest help, so make sure you treat them with your utmost respect. In the future, contacting them, even if simply via email, will be much more effective than contacting your attorney directly for advice, or to ask what the next step might be. Or for anything that comes up really. So make sure you stay on this person’s good side. This is who you’re going to have to go through to get to your attorney, and they can make this process as easy or as difficult as your relationship with them calls for…