Do I Need to Hire an Immigration Attorney?

by Erin Wallace
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If you're considering moving to another country, marrying someone from another country or applying for citizenship, you might be wondering if you need to hire an immigration lawyer.

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And while an immigration attorney can provide peace of mind during these often lengthy legal processes, they don’t always come cheap. Here’s what you may need to think about if you want to hire an immigration attorney.

What Does an Immigration Lawyer Do?

An immigration lawyer helps people from other countries move to or remain in the United States. Clients who might seek an immigration lawyer include people who desire to live in the United States permanently and those applying for temporary visas to work or attend school in America.

Immigration is a complex process, and immigration lawyers help clients navigate it. The process can be especially challenging for people whose first language may not be English, and immigration lawyers help them with tasks like filing paperwork on time.

Immigration lawyers can work for government agencies, private law firms, nonprofit organizations or corporations.

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What Types of Services Do They Provide?

Immigration lawyer services vary depending on where they work, but common cases they handle include:

  • Citizenship
  • Green card applications
  • Visa applications
  • Defense against deportation

Immigration lawyers may work for corporations and help companies hire personnel from other countries. For example, the H1-B visa program in the United States allows employers to request permission for educated foreign professionals to work at their companies. This is more common in specialty occupations such as mathematics, technology, engineering and medical sciences and with positions that usually require at least a bachelor's degree. A company might hire an immigration lawyer to help them with that process.

Benefits of Hiring an Immigration Attorney

For individuals whose first language isn't English, hiring an immigration attorney can be beneficial, given how complex immigration law is in the United States. Some benefits of hiring an immigration attorney include:

Legal expertise. Immigration lawyers possess the necessary legal knowledge and background to help people achieve their goals, whether it's to earn a green card or to obtain a visa.

Procedural assistance. The margin for error is slim when it comes to immigration processes, and an immigration lawyer can help ensure deadlines aren't missed and paperwork is filed properly. Accuracy and timeliness help minimize the risk of delays or denials due to incomplete applications or other paperwork.

Advocacy and representation. It's an immigration lawyer's job to act as an advocate for people in front of governmental agencies or in immigration court. Having knowledgeable representation during these processes can help achieve a favorable outcome.

Time. Navigating the immigration process, regardless of the case type, can be very time-consuming. Some cases take years to resolve, so it's helpful to have an immigration lawyer handle things for you.

Peace of mind. Immigration cases are stressful on their own, so knowing someone is handling a particular case provides peace of mind for many people.

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Drawbacks to Hiring an Immigration Attorney

One of the biggest drawbacks to hiring an immigration attorney is cost. Nonprofit organizations can be helpful, as many provide free or low-cost services. Private law firms may charge thousands of dollars for their services.

Another drawback to hiring an immigration attorney is having no guarantee of a successful outcome. While it might help improve your chances of success because these attorneys are more knowledgeable about immigration law in general, they can't promise a favorable outcome.

You Might Want to Hire an Immigration Attorney If…

  • You’re unsure about your eligibility for a green card or visa, and you’re unable to find the answers you need on your own.
  • You are requesting asylum, which involves persuading immigration authorities to rule in your favor.
  • You need help with an immigration matter that's an emergency or otherwise time-sensitive.
  • You’ve been notified of deportation, and you’re unsure what to do next.
  • You’ve been convicted of a criminal offense, and you’re either trying to enter the United States or remain in the United States.
  • Planning to move to the United States to work for an employer that hasn't assisted you in the process

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Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of eLocal Editorial Content is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

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