Immigration rules in the United States can be confusing, especially in light of recent legislative amendments. People who aspire to work and reside in the United States, or become naturalized citizens, frequently find the legal procedure for immigration difficult. In turn, they often need to turn to an immigration lawyer for ongoing help and guidance.
When filing applications or petitions with the USCIS, individuals submitting documents for immigration or naturalization have the option of being represented by an attorney or other qualified legal professional.
However, prospective immigrants and citizens must use prudence and good judgment to avoid falling prey to deception. Form G-28: Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative must be filed together with your immigration paperwork to receive legal help.
This is required if you wish to have an immigration lawyer assist you with a US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) application or petition.
If you elect to engage an attorney, he or she must be a member in good standing with the American Bar Association in his or her state.
Refer to the USCIS legal advice page on the USCIS website to get basic legal advice. On this page, you can find recommendations for safeguarding yourself against immigration fraud and deception and learn more about choosing the right attorney.
Protect Yourself During the Immigration Process
The USCIS recommends, among other steps, that you take the following measures:
- Request copies of any forms and papers filled out or filed on your behalf
- Verify the legitimacy of any legal professional engaged to represent you
- Request a copy of your attorney’s current license and admission number
- Contact your state’s bar association to confirm your attorney’s reputation
The USCIS also recommends that you take the following actions to prevent being a victim
- Do not sign any paperwork or forms that include inaccurate information
- Never sign blank forms, petitions, or other papers, as this is prohibited by law
- Never pay legal service costs without a receipt.
- Never sign any documents that you do not fully comprehend
Selecting an Immigration Lawyer
Selecting an immigration lawyer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during the immigration process. A qualified and experienced lawyer will know exactly what to look for in order to evaluate your case and help you achieve your goal of getting a green card.
He or she should understand all the ins and outs of the law, as well as what factors qualify for special treatment. Moreover, the lawyer you choose should suit your needs with respect to cost and personal compatibility.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go digging through the yellow pages for a list of potential lawyers. The Internet makes it easy to find someone who specializes in immigration law without much trouble – just search for “immigration lawyers near me” or similar phrases.
Perform your due diligence.
Get Recommendations – From Friends or Online
Don’t forget about the power of word-of-mouth recommendations. These referrals may come from friends and family, from social media, or from the testimonials on a law firm’s website.
However, keep in mind who is giving the recommendation. For example, a casual acquaintance may recommend a lawyer who is a friend of theirs. However, they may not have the in-depth experience needed to handle your immigration case.
Narrow your search to recommendations from people in similar situations. For instance, you might want to review recommendations from people who have obtained green cards versus visas if you’re seeking permanent residency.
Meet with a Few Lawyers First
After you’ve narrowed your list down to a few lawyers, it’s time to set up appointments to meet with each of them. This is an important step because it will allow you to get a feel for each lawyer’s personality and style.
Again, it’s important that you feel comfortable working with your lawyer. Remember, you’ll be spending a lot of time with this person, so you want to make sure they are someone you can trust.
Ask Questions and Discuss Your Case
Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into making a decision. Instead, use this time to your advantage and ask as many questions as you need. The right lawyer will be available and willing to talk with you. He or she will be someone who can answer all your inquiries and concerns.
Questions to Ask During Consultation
For example, you might ask the following questions:
- How many years of experience do you have working as an immigration lawyer?
- What are your specialties?
- What is your educational background?
- Have you authored any papers or books on immigration law?
- Do you quickly answer texts, emails, or phone calls?
- How long should I expect to receive a reply?
- How much do you charge?
- What options do you offer for payment?
Also, you should allow the lawyer to ask you questions. Doing so will help you form a partnership and help you understand each other’s legal and professional requirements.
Again, make sure the lawyer is licensed to practice law in your state. You’ll need to appear in court at some point, so he or she should have the proper credentials.
Ask About Past Results and Success Rates
Finally, ask about past results and success rates. A lawyer who has a proven track record of success is usually a safe bet, but it’s still important to ask them to tell you about their past achievements.
For example, were they successful in helping people get green cards? How long was the average wait time? Did they win in court?
Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with the lawyer you’ve chosen, and don’t be afraid to walk away from the relationship if you aren’t happy. Trust your feelings and instincts.
All of these actions will help you select an immigration lawyer who will get you positive results as quickly as possible.
Immigration law is complex and ever-changing, so it’s important to select an immigration attorney who can show you how to approach your situation in the most effective way.
Contact the Rijal Law Firm Today
Get acquainted with the immigration process by contacting the Rijal Law Firm today. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you can make a decision and get started with filing for permanent residency. Call (951) 667-1919 to set up a consultation now.