Deciding whether you need to hire an immigration attorney is an important decision.
The first issue is whether you need an immigration attorney. Some immigration matters can be relatively straightforward. Many times, however, it is useful to hire an immigration attorney, for several reasons. First, immigration law is one of the most complicated areas of U.S. law. Second, U.S. immigration law is changing all the time. Third, immigration lawyers can help make sure that your application goes through the immigration bureaucracy smoothly and quickly.
If you decide you want to hire an immigration attorney, there are many ways to find a good one. Ask your friends and colleagues if they know any good immigration lawyers. If you work for an employer, he or she may know of a good immigration lawyer. Many immigration lawyers are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). You can find out whether there are any AILA immigration attorneys in your area by checking the AILA web site at www.aila.org .
Before hiring an immigration attorney, ask the following questions:
- Will I be charged by the hour on or a flat rate? If by the hour, what is the lawyer’s estimate of his or her legal fees to do my case? If the matter is by the flat rate, what exactly does that include or exclude? For example, if the original petition is denied and the lawyer needs to file an appeal, will that be included in the flat rate?
- How much experience does the immigration attorney have with this particular kind of immigration case? Like other attorneys, immigration attorneys specialize. Some specialize in asylum, removal cases, or business immigration matters. You do not want an immigration attorney who specializes in asylum cases to be handling his or her first business visa application on your behalf.
- What will the attorney do and what will you have to do.
- Who in the firm will be doing what work.
- What educational materials does the attorney have for his clients
- Has the attorney published any thing on immigration