How to Choose An Immigration Lawyer: While hiring an immigration representative isn’t mandatory when applying for a visa, sometimes things are just too messy to be handled by your own. There are variant scenarios when a lawyer is needed.
For example if you have been convicted of a criminal offense, if you have been deported and want to go back, if there are complications with your papers or if you are applying for an investment-based visa. Moreover, some people find it too difficult to fill up all the forms and documents and require specialized assistance in order to complete the process. Whatever the case may be, everybody knows that lawyers aren’t cheap so you may give it a second thought before hiring one. Here is what you need to do in order to make the right decision:
Ask around. Asking for information from your family and friends can save you some time and money. If you’re lucky, one of your acquaintances will recommend someone they know. Recommendations don’t necessarily end well, but in most cases it means that the lawyer has already been “tested” and he has turned out all right.
Ask for references. The best way to know if an immigration attorney is good or not is by counting the number of cases they have successfully completed. If there is none, walk away. If, on the other hand, they have assisted many immigrants in obtaining their visa, it means that they know what they’re doing.
Find a lawyer who is experienced in your type of case. Immigration law is a rather complex area and cases can be very different one from another so look for an attorney who has gone through your type of problem before.
Avoid lawyers who approach you at the immigration offices. The legal bar frowns upon this type of behavior and so should you. The fact that an attorney has to go for a hunt in order to find clients says a lot about them.
Negotiate the fees in advance. Some attorneys bill by the hour, while others charge a flat fee and you certainly don’t want to find yourself with a bill that you cannot cover. However, lawyers usually have fixed fees for some procedures and if they have dealt with your type of case before, they should be able to give you a total. There is no such thing as a cheap lawyer, but there are some exorbitant ones. Remember that more expensive doesn’t always mean better, so don’t let yourself discouraged if you don’t have a lot of money. You can still find a competent lawyer for a decent rate.
Keep your skepticism. No lawyer can guarantee success. Even if they have experience in your type of case, keep in mind that the outcome is up to the Immigration Office/Department.
Keep in mind that the presence of a lawyer is not allowed when taking the interview and that having a legal representative does not guarantee in any ways that you will get your visa.