When Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer?

lawyers

Do you need to hire an immigration lawyer for your immigration case? While there is no legal requirement to do so, for many people it makes sense to have an attorney.  Immigration law is extremely complex and confusing. It is easy to make a mistake that can be costly in terms of both time and money. If you are already reasonably familiar with immigration law, you may feel comfortable with filing a simple case on your own. However, there are some situations where it is strongly advised that you use an immigration lawyer.

1. A Prospective Employer Wants to Hire Foreign Workers

Employer-sponsored visas tend to be more complicated than family-based cases and can easily require hundreds or even thousands of pages of supporting documentation. A few large companies that hire many foreign workers have inhouse staff dedicated to preparing immigration cases, but most companies do not have anybody on staff who is very knowledgeable about immigration law. Employers often do not have a clear idea if someone is likely to qualify for a visa, which one is the best choice, the application process or the type of evidence required. Rather than assign such a high stakes task to an employee who has to try to figure this all out, it makes more sense to hire an attorney who has likely handled dozens of similar cases.

2. You’re Overloaded with Paperwork and Applications

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You might be able to handle your visa application on your own, but do you want to? Trying to understand the process, fill out the applications and figure out all of the supporting evidence you need can be very time consuming. It is often quicker and easier to hire an immigration attorney to do it for you.  An immigration attorney can tell you what to expect, fill out all of your forms and tell you exactly what sort of supporting evidence you need to provide.

3. You’re Called to Immigration Court Proceedings

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If there is ever a time to find an immigration attorney, this is it.  The stakes here are extremely high and a ruling against your case can mean deportation.  If your immigration case ends up in court, you should assume that it is too complicated for a lay person to handle. Immigrants who have legal representation are significantly more likely to prevail in court.  While immigration courts have always been daunting, they have become even less immigrant-friendly during the past few years.  

You need someone who can fight for you and who knows the law to be at your side. Consult a lawyer if you’re called into court.

4. There Are Outstanding Delays with Your Application

The immigration process is slow, but sometimes it is exceedingly slow. You can find typical case processing times on the USCIS website. If your case is pending beyond the normal range, you should seek legal help.  An attorney can investigate and find out what the issue is.  Unfortunately, USCIS does sometimes make mistakes by sending files to the wrong office or even losing applications, but it can be very difficult finding out what happened on your own.  An Immigration lawyer will also be familiar with current USCIS issues and may be able to give you insight about what is causing your delay.

5. Immigration Law Is Stressing You Out

stress out person

Immigration forms can be confusing.  Sometimes it can be difficult even knowing if you qualify for an immigration benefit or what your best option for a visa is.  Seemingly small paperwork mistakes can lead to your case being returned, delayed or rejected. An immigration attorney understands the process and knows what the common pitfalls are.  Hiring an immigration lawyer gives you the peace that comes with knowing that you have a professional handling your case who has already successfully handled many such similar cases before.

6. Professional Advice is Important to You

A call to an immigration attorney can save you countless headaches.  For example, one situation many people find themselves in is when a U.S. citizen wants to marry someone from another country.  You might assume the simplest solution is for the foreign spouse-to-be to travel to the U.S. on a tourist visa, get married and then file for a Green Card.  But this is an example of what not to do.  When you receive a tourist visa, you are promising that you do not plan to stay permanently in the U.S., but by filing for a Green Card, you are doing just the opposite. Therefore, you are violating the terms of your tourist visa, which can lead to your Green Card application being rejected. A simple consultation with an immigration lawyer would have alerted you to the potential issue, saving you from significant problems.

7. You Want to Be Sure Your Case/Applications Are Filed Properly

Some people only hire an immigration lawyer once something has gone wrong with their case.  But trying to fix an improperly filed visa application is difficult and more costly both in terms of time and money than doing it right the first time.  Once you hire an immigration attorney, they have a legal responsibility toward you and making sure that your case is filed properly.  They can face legal discipline if they do not.  That is a weighty responsibility and one that lawyers take very seriously.  

Conclusion

While there is no legal requirement to do so, it is recommended to hire an immigration lawyer.  You want to make sure that your representative is a lawyer. There are unlicensed people who offer immigration services, such as notarios, but they are not qualified to do so.  While they may be less expensive, they are usually not knowledgeable about immigration law and are not licensed to practice law. They frequently make mistakes that can be costly, cause delays or even jeopardize your entire case.  Likewise, not all lawyers are familiar with immigration law.  An attorney that is good at litigation or doing your taxes might not be good an immigration law.  Select an attorney who specializes in immigration law.At Brudner Law, Immigration law is our specialty and we are experienced with a wide variety of immigration cases. We can walk you through the immigration process and you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that a professional has your best interests at heart and has filed your case properly. Give us a call today to find out how we can help you!