When Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer?
An immigration lawyer can likely provide information and guidance if you have an issue regarding:
How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Immigration Lawyer in the U.S.?
With U.S. immigration lawyers, the cost will be determined mainly by their experience.
Two of the most significant considerations the lawyer will make in determining how to bill a case will be what type of visa is sought, or filing is required, and the client's income.
- Filing – For example, filing an EB-5 will be the most expensive, whereas a simple re-entry permit may only be a fraction of the cost.
- Income of the Client – Immigration lawyers understand their clients may not always be the most financially secure and are willing to work out payment plans or work at a reduced fee for qualifying clients. Still, it is hard work to become a lawyer, and they cannot be expected to work for free.
Generally, immigration lawyers either bill through a flat fee or by the hour. If a lawyer charges a flat fee, expect to pay $1,000-$5,000. It is not uncommon for legal bills to quickly get into higher ranges with an hourly fee.
Hourly rates will vary greatly, depending on the relative ability of the lawyer. Expect to pay $100-$700 an hour for a lawyer's time. With an hourly fee structure, it is not uncommon for legal bills to quickly get into the $10,000 – $15,000 range.
A lawyer working on an hourly rate may require a retainer payment to cover a certain amount of that lawyer's time.
However, some U.S. immigration lawyers charge a set price for a particular service. For instance, for filing a particular immigration form, an immigration attorney may charge a flat rate between $350 to $1,500. Other kinds of cases could cost more depending on the nature of your case and the time that the attorney will spend.
What to Look For in an Immigration Lawyer
There are many factors to think about when finding the right immigration lawyer.
The following list offers some tips on how to spot a good immigration lawyer:
- Make sure that the immigration lawyer handles the same type of immigration issues or cases as your immigration matters;
- Find out how successful a particular immigration lawyer has been in taking on similar types of immigration cases;
- Look for the level of experience a lawyer has with immigration law issues. For instance, do they usually practice criminal law and take immigration cases on the side, or is immigration law their main focus?;
- Check that the lawyer is in good standing and is not retired, suspended, or had previously had sanctions issued against them; and
- See if other people have provided reviews about their experience with a particular immigration lawyer.
Some other factors that can help you search for an immigration lawyer are how much you are able or willing to spend on immigration legal services and the availability of immigration lawyers in your area.
How to Prepare for Your Consultation With an Immigration Lawyer
You should come prepared with a list of questions for your immigration lawyer. You should also be aware that an immigration lawyer may have some questions for you during the meeting.
Questions you should expect at a meeting with an immigration lawyer include:
- Why you are hiring the lawyer (e.g., do you need help with a visa application or legal representation for a court appearance?);
- Whether you have previously been granted immigration benefits in the U.S.;
- If you have a criminal background that could interfere with gaining entry into the U.S. or grounds for removal;
- Information regarding the immigration status of family members or loved ones residing either abroad or currently in the U.S.; and
- Questions related to your finances, such as whether you can afford the cost of a particular immigration lawyer or if you have a preference over the kind of fee structure that an immigration lawyer uses.
Where to Find the Best Immigration Lawyers in the U.S.
There are many different resources you can use to find the right immigration lawyer. There are many ways to find the right immigration lawyer for your case, from online search engines to attorney databases like LegalMatch.
If you are experiencing issues with an application or have been accused of violating U.S. immigration laws and need to appear in court, consider hiring a local immigration lawyer immediately for further legal advice.
A qualified immigration lawyer can assist you with the application process and resolve any issues that you are having with a specific application. Your lawyer can also explain any laws, legal procedures, or requirements you need help understanding. Additionally, if you are being asked to appear in immigration court, your lawyer will also be able to provide legal representation.