An immigration lawyer is generally described as a type of lawyer who specializes in immigration-related matters. These include assisting with applications for various immigration documents or representing foreign-born nationals during removal proceedings in immigration court.
Immigration lawyers are also typically well-versed on a wide variety of other legal subjects that can affect an immigrant or nonimmigrant who is staying in the United States. For instance, an immigration lawyer may have knowledge about different areas of criminal law that can come up in an immigration case involving violations of U.S. immigration laws.
Another area that immigration lawyers tend to have knowledge of is family law. This can be beneficial for immigrants who are marrying a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States, or are considering filing for divorce from an individual who holds either status.
Thus, an immigration lawyer can offer a broad range of legal services to foreign-born nationals, regardless of whether they require representation before an immigration law court or simply need help filing an application for a visa.
Therefore, if you or your loved one are experiencing issues with an immigration-related matter, then you should consider contacting a local immigration lawyer for further legal guidance.
What are Some Tips on How to Find an Immigration Lawyer?
Not every immigration lawyer will provide the same types of legal services. Thus, the first thing a foreign-born national must do is to determine why they need an immigration lawyer. For example, do they need help understanding the requirements for a specific visa application? Or, are they hiring an immigration lawyer to represent them at a removal hearing in court?
Once the reason they are hiring an immigration lawyer is established, they can begin their search for the right kind of immigration lawyer. To perform an immigration lawyer search, an individual can use a variety of resources, such as:
- Standard search engines;
- Lawyer referral services;
- Legal aid services or nonprofit organizations;
- State and local bar association websites; and/or
- Companies that offer detailed, private databases like LegalMatch!
It is important to note that the type of resource a person decides to use will also dictate the kind of results they receive. For instance, a person who uses a standard search engine may not get as much information about a particular lawyer as they would be able to if they used a service like LegalMatch. Thus, this is just one factor among many that a person should consider while they are searching for an immigration lawyer.
Additionally, there are many other factors to think about that can lead a person to find the right immigration lawyer. The following list offers some tips on how to find a good immigration lawyer:
- Make sure that an immigration lawyer handles the same type of immigration issues or cases as the prospective client’s own immigration matters;
- Find out how successful a particular immigration lawyer has been in taking on similar or the same types of immigration cases;
- Look for the level of experience a certain lawyer has with immigration law issues. For instance, do they normally practice criminal law and take immigration cases on the side, or is immigration law their main focus?;
- Check that the lawyer is still in good standing and is not retired, suspended, or has 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 be helpful in narrowing down the search for an immigration lawyer is how much a person is able or willing to spend on immigration legal services, and the availability of immigration lawyers in their area.
What Questions Should I Expect at a Meeting with an Immigration Lawyer?
While a prospective client should come prepared with a list of questions they may have for their immigration lawyer, they should also be aware that an immigration lawyer may have some questions for them during their meeting.
Some questions that a prospective client should expect at a meeting with an immigration lawyer include:
- Why they are hiring the lawyer (e.g., do they need help with a visa application or do they need legal representation for a court appearance?);
- Whether the individual has previously been granted immigration benefits in the U.S.;
- If a person has a criminal background that could interfere with either gaining entry into the U.S. or be 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 their finances, such as whether they can afford the cost of a particular immigration lawyer or if they have preference over the type of fee structure that a certain immigration lawyer employs.
It should be noted that the questions contained in the above list are only examples of some of the topics that an immigration lawyer might ask a prospective client. The exact questions that an immigration lawyer may ask will largely depend on the reasons why a person is seeking out their help. Thus, an individual should be prepared to explain those reasons, or at the very least, the surrounding circumstances of their situation.
What Does an Immigration Lawyer Do?
Some common examples of the types of legal services that an immigration lawyer may provide can include:
- Assisting with the application process for various kinds of immigration documents, such as:
- Nonimmigrant and immigrant entry visas;
- Lawful permanent resident cards or green cards;
- U.S. citizenship or naturalization documents; and/or
- Passports or other forms of government issued identification documents.
An immigration lawyer can also provide assistance with renewing any of the documents in the above list, as well as can:
- Provide legal representation in immigration court for removal proceedings or other cases associated with violations of U.S. immigration laws or documents;
- Assist with immigration marriages, divorces, or separations;
- Attend mandatory interviews with immigration officers;
- Help with adjustments of immigration status;
- Resolve issues associated with delayed or denied applications; and/or
- Assist with the application process to obtain immigration documents for family members or loved ones living outside of the U.S.
What Should I Bring to a Meeting with an Immigration Lawyer?
There are many types of documents that a person may need to bring with them when they meet with an immigration lawyer. Some of these documents, however, will depend on the immigration matter in question.
For example, if a person intends to apply for an employment-based visa, then they should bring proof of their job offer (e.g., a letter or email from an employer) and documents that indicate their acceptance of the job.
On the other hand, if a person is meeting with an immigration lawyer because they are at risk of being removed from the U.S., then they should bring documents related to their removal case, such as a Notice to Appear or Notice of Hearing.
In general, some kinds of documents that can be useful to bring when meeting with an immigration lawyer include:
- A passport or other government issued identification documents;
- Completed forms that are part of an application for a visa or other sorts of immigration documentation;
- Evidence that pertains to their current issue;
- Government documents that prove their current immigration status;
- A copy of their birth certificate or other government record that displays their country of birth;
- Documents for their sponsors (e.g., if they are applying for a green card through marriage, then a copy of their marriage certificate); and/or
- Translated copies of each of the documents listed if they are in another language.
In addition, a person should prepare a list of questions they may have about their particular issue and bring it with them to the meeting. This way they can ask their immigration lawyer in person and follow-up with any questions if the answer is still unclear.
Lastly, if a person is still unsure about the types of documents they need to bring with them, then they can always ask the immigration lawyer whether there are any particular documents they should collect before their meeting.
Where Can I Find the Right Immigration Lawyer?
As previously discussed, there are many different resources you can use to find the right immigration lawyer. From online search engines to attorney databases like the one offered by LegalMatch, there are plenty of ways to find the right immigration lawyer for your case.
Thus, if you are experiencing issues with an application or have been accused of violating U.S. immigration laws and need to appear in court, then you should consider hiring a local immigration lawyer immediately for further legal advice.
A qualified immigration lawyer can assist you with the application process and/or resolve any issues that you are having with a certain application. Your lawyer can also explain any laws, legal procedures, or requirements that you need help understanding. Additionally, if you are being asked to appear in immigration court, your lawyer will be able to provide legal representation as well.