The US immigration process can be very complicated, especially for someone who isn’t familiar with it. A major factor that can improve your chances of a successful application is to work with a competent US immigration lawyer. But the process of searching for and hiring an immigration lawyer may prove to be another strenuous process on its own.
This post explains some of the things you can do to make this process easier for you and provides some insights on how to hire the right lawyer for the job.
Generally, well-versed immigration lawyers have many years of experience. Your best option will be to hire a skilled lawyer that has dealt with immigration issues before. Look for someone that has previously handled cases regarding green cards, asylum, visas, work immigration, and other related immigration cases.
Find out about their track records. Don’t just take their word for it. Read reviews and ratings to be sure of how genuine and how much experience the lawyer really has to deal with immigration issues.
Professional Certifications and Membership
When it comes to hiring a US immigration lawyer, an AILA certification is something you should watch out for. The acronym stands for American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). The association has a network of experienced immigration law practitioners.
Certificates can give you an idea of the level of professionalism of a lawyer. Some of the professional certifications and affiliations e.g AILA are not mandatory for immigration lawyers. But a US immigration lawyer that has them would be a better fit to provide you with the services you need. For instance, a member of AILA would normally be dedicated to professional standards and be accustomed more quickly to updates in the field.
The downside to choosing skilled and experienced lawyers is that they are almost always busy. They probably had a heavy load of cases before you requested their service. This is not an excuse to mishandle your care.
Your first interaction should give you an idea of how accessible your lawyer will be. You should drop them if it takes a considerably long amount of time for them to reply to your initial email or phone call. It probably means that they have a lot on their plate and may not be able to devote appropriate time to you. Sticking to that kind of lawyer will certainly ruin your case.
You need to be sure that you can afford to pay your lawyer’s fees. Sometimes, the other costs involved in immigration cases can become overwhelming. This can lead to not fulfilling your financial obligations to your lawyer especially if the cost is too higher.
Find out how your lawyer would prefer to be paid. Some charge hourly and some have a flat rate. For some, you may need to pay a certain sum beforehand and balance up later. Your attorney’s fees may be negotiable or not. You have to put all these factors into consideration when hiring.
Get an immigration lawyer, not a general attorney
It is vital to avoid general practitioners for immigration processes. When it comes to immigration, there’s no one better to assist you than an immigration lawyer. The US immigration laws, policies, and procedures tend to change every time.
While a general practitioner may have generic knowledge of the process, an immigration lawyer is always up to date. Thus, they tend to have more comprehensive knowledge about how to go through the whole immigration process without challenges.
Be wary of practitioners who make unrealistic promises
It should be a big red flag when an immigration lawyer tells you that the process would be easy or makes flamboyant promises about the timeline of your application and other factors. Even though being optimistic is good, lawyers that make unrealistic promises are most likely naive.
Experienced attorneys with their reputations on the line will not give you illogical guarantees. This is because the immigration process can be complicated and unpredictable. Good immigration lawyers are aware of this and constantly come up with mitigating strategies.
Have a written contract
A written contract between you and your immigration lawyer must contain the services and how much the services will cost. It may also contain how you will pay. One of the purposes of the document is to ensure that none of the agreeing parties default. This also means that your lawyer is bound by law and must provide the services listed in the document.
This way, a written contract saves you from immigration lawyers that make unreasonable promises and end up delivering poor services.
Immigration problems are not always easy to deal with. But a good client-lawyer relationship is essential to you winning your case. There has to be a level of trust between you and your lawyer. Remember that the success of your application is often hinged on the quality of your lawyer which is why you need to focus on picking the right one, to begin with.