The U.S. immigration system is a truly complex entity. Every type of visa that foreign nationals may qualify for features highly-specific eligibility requirements, a time-intensive and detailed application process, nuanced restrictions and time-sensitive mandates. As a result, it is not generally a good idea for anyone seeking to come to the United States, extend their stay, change their visa status or otherwise become subject to new immigration criteria to navigate this system alone. In order to better ensure that you appropriately identify your immigration needs, apply to meet those needs successfully and remain in compliance with any immigration laws you are henceforth subject to, it is important to work with an experienced immigration attorney at every step of the way. Failure to obtain adequate legal guidance could lead to negative and even devastating consequences, including rejection of a visa application, denial of a petition to extend your stay and deportation.
There are many attorneys, firms and businesses in the U.S. that specialize in immigration law. Choosing the right one for you can feel like an overwhelming prospect. Thankfully, there are some fairly straightforward decisions you can make that may help to ensure that you choose an attorney who best suits your needs and priorities at this time. The first thing you will need to do in order to find an immigration attorney is closely examine your own immigration-related needs.
What Are Your Immigration Needs?
Some immigration challenges are complex whereas others are less burdensome to navigate. Before committing to retaining the services of a specific immigration attorney, you will need a relatively clear idea of what you need from that attorney. If your issue is particularly complex and consequential, you will need to take greater care to ensure that your attorney is up to the challenge of taking on your case. For example, if you are interested in obtaining a straightforward B-2 “visitor visa” because you are interested in engaging in tourist opportunities in the U.S. for a few weeks of vacation, your attorney-client relationship will be fairly limited and straightforward. You will not need to interact with your attorney a great deal and the cost of the services you receive will remain relatively low regardless of who you choose to work with. By contrast, if you represent a large, multinational corporation and are interested in obtaining clearance for blanket L1-A and L1-B visa approval for intracompany foreign transfers to the U.S., you will need to cultivate a more intimate relationship with your attorney. You will need to do more due diligence in order to ensure that the attorney you choose is up to the task of this complex immigration-related challenge.
By closely examining your current needs, you will be able to clearly articulate to any attorney you may be interested in working with what your priorities are and when you hope to achieve your goals. This will give prospective attorneys a strong sense of whether your case is too complex for their experience level and will allow them to give you a sense of how much their services will cost. Not all immigration challenges are created equal, so it isn’t possible to simply connect with an attorney and ask bluntly, “How much does immigration assistance cost and how long will it take to complete?” By examining your needs, you can make the most out of a consultation with an attorney you hope may be a great fit for your priorities at this time.
What Should You Look for in an Immigration Attorney?
Attorneys are bound by strict regulations related to advertising, promising results and representing their records of success. As a result, if an attorney or organization makes you a guarantee that seems too good to be true, you should probably walk the other way. There are virtually no guarantees that can be made within the area of immigration law anyway, as the system is so nuanced, complex and prone to exceptions of general rules. If an attorney behaves in a way that seems too “sales oriented” or works with an unreasonably high volume of cases at one time, please consider looking elsewhere. Your case is not a “sale” to be made, it is a consequential situation that should be treated with great care.
Because your complex immigration matter should be treated with care, it is generally a good idea to work with a licensed attorney, not an unlicensed consultant or preparer. If your representation isn’t licensed, he or she is not bound by critically important standards of experience and ethics. Do not trust representation that has not proven itself to be trustworthy via an intensive legal licensing practice.
Finally, do not hesitate to both research a prospective lawyer and ask that lawyer questions before committing to an attorney-client relationship. Check to see if an attorney you may want to work with is highly regarded by former clients and his or her colleagues by doing a bit of online research. Everyone receives bad reviews from time to time, but consistently bad feedback is a red flag. In addition, make sure to schedule a consultation with an attorney before signing a contract or handing over any money. You should be able to ask questions before committing to someone’s services.
If you are in need of legal guidance related to an immigration matter, please carefully consider your needs before committing to working with a specific attorney, firm or organization. You can often save yourself a great deal of time, money and energy by evaluating both your needs and any given lawyer’s approach before entering into an attorney-client relationship. By retaining the services of someone who respects what you need and is unlikely to take advantage of your situation, you will place yourself in the best possible position for success. Please consider scheduling a consultation with LawTrades once you have closely examined your immigration needs.