If you are considering immigrating to the U.S., you should be aware that the process can be lengthy, complex, and frustrating. In most cases, it is in your best interest to consult with a reputable immigration law firm before you begin the process. Applying for the wrong visa, making mistakes on your application, and/or not submitting the correct documentation are all understandable errors. However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) maintains strict standards for each applicant and will delay or outright deny your application if it does not meet certain criteria. This can result in a lot of lost money as well as time. With this in mind, it’s not enough to just hire any visa immigration lawyer. It is recommended that you work with an attorney that is proven and specifically fits your needs. To uncover the right information, you must ask the right questions. Learn more about the 5 questions to ask when meeting with a visa immigration lawyer below.
1. What Area of Immigration Law do You Specialize in?
Immigration law is wide-reaching and complicated. Though some attorneys are comfortable and experienced in all areas of immigration law, most choose to specialize in certain areas. For example, if you are interested in applying for a business investment visa, you would likely not feel comfortable with an attorney that has spent the last 10 years focusing on amnesty applications. It is your obligation to deeply inquire about their area of expertise.
2. What do You Need From Me?
What your immigration attorney will bring to the table is one thing, the information, as well as activity that they will require of you, is another. Understanding what your attorney will need from you can help to avoid frustrating situations on both sides. Knowing what documentation is needed, how much time you will need to spend, as well as what type of availability they will expect of you during the process can help to facilitate a smoother process. This is especially true if you are dealing with the more nuanced and complex areas of immigration law.
3. Have You Dealt With Cases Similar to Mine?
Since immigration law is so complex and robust, there are almost an unlimited amount of scenarios that can potentially occur. If you are simply attempting to obtain a tourist visa, it is more likely that it will not be difficult to find an attorney with the experience that you need. However, unique situations call for attorneys with unique experiences. Establishing your attorney’s level of comfort and experience with your immigration concerns is imperative.
4. What Are Your Fees?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is still worthy of being mentioned. In most cases, an immigration attorney will offer a free consultation where you can ask detailed questions. It is in your best interest to know how much they charge for e-mails, phone calls, research, proofreading, etc. If you are not aware of all of their charges, you may be very surprised when the invoice arrives.
5. What Can I Expect of The Process?
If you have done your due diligence and chosen a proven and experienced immigration attorney, they are likely comfortable with the entire process. On the other hand, you will likely not know what to expect. Ensuring that you discuss expectations of the process with your attorney can alleviate unnecessary stress. Furthermore, it will give you an opportunity to calibrate your schedule and give yourself enough time to gather the necessary documentation, take time off of work, etc. Ask as many questions as you can during your free consultation. It’s far better to make an informed decision than it is to reverse course after the process has begun.