Immigration laws in the United States are complex and confusing, navigating them is the equivalent of winding through a maze. That’s why it’s important not only to find an immigration attorney but to find one that will take your case seriously. If you’re considering whether to hire an immigration attorney or not, continue reading to learn about choosing the right immigration attorney for you.
What Are the Responsibilities of an Immigration Attorney?
When considering an immigration attorney, it’s important to understand what exactly an immigration attorney is and what they do. Immigration lawyers, like many other lawyers, are highly skilled individuals who act as a mediator between foreign citizens and U.S. immigration authorities such as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Immigration attorneys assist clients with visa applications, citizenship/naturalization, and deportation issues among a matter of other issues. Generally, people should hire an immigration lawyer when they need assistance with paperwork, such as applications for green cards or visas.
Although immigration attorneys generally do not handle civil disputes in court, they do make appearances before judges if the case involves criminal laws. There are several situations in which you should absolutely seek out legal representation. These situations include:
- Prior denials of immigration applications
- Previous deportations or prohibited entry into the United States
- Medical Conditions
- Delays in the application process or complications with employment-based visas
- Adjustments to residential status, for example, applying for permanent residency.
- Any and all criminal convictions
In these cases, it is absolutely necessary to seek out an immigration attorney as soon as possible. Your case has a better chance of being successful with the proper legal representation.
What to Look for When Choosing an Attorney?
Choosing an immigration attorney isn’t a complicated process, but it does have to be a smart one. It’s easy to find research online about a particular attorney, but when choosing the right one for your case consider a few guidelines to think about. First, be sure that the attorney you’re researching has the proper credentials. Check to see if an attorney is a member of a state bar association. Additionally, some of the best immigration attorneys are also members of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA), which means these lawyers are true experts in their field.
Experts warn clients to avoid anyone who labels themselves as a “visa consultant” or “petition preparer,” these people are not properly trained and could potentially harm your case. Check for reviews on websites such as Martindale-Hubbell to get a better understanding of how your attorney operates. If you see a host of negative reviews about an attorney, you should probably run far away from them.
What to Avoid When Choosing an Immigration Attorney?
Experts suggest avoiding attorneys who approach you at USCIS or other immigration offices. While this practice is not illegal, this type of behavior is considered unethical and is frowned upon. There are plenty of legitimate immigration attorneys with offices that welcome all cases. Finding an immigration attorney elizabeth nj has plenty of excellent immigration attorneys that would be happy to take on your case.
Any attorney who suggests you do something illegal or unethical, for instance, ask you to lie on an immigration form or application, bribe an immigration official or buy a fake green card or visa is an attorney to avoid at all cost. While the action may seem harmless, you could face severe consequences if caught. Of course, there are also pitfalls to avoid when choosing the right immigration attorney. Some of these pitfalls may seem obvious, but others not so much are careful to observe any of these warning signs before picking a lawyer.