Updated: 2020-08-13 by
You don’t need a lawyer to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa or green card. If your case is without obvious stumbling blocks -- for example, you clearly meet the requirements for the benefit you want, you don’t have a criminal record, and you haven’t had trouble with immigration authorities in the past – you might well be able to get a visa or green card on your own.
That said, immigration has always been complicated; these days, for many, it’s even more fraught with uncertainty and anxiety. In many situations, a good immigration lawyer can save you a lot of time, frustration, and stress.
What Does an Immigration Attorney Do?
Among many other things, an immigration lawyer can help you:
- Figure out whether you are admissible before you apply for a visa or green card.
- Get asylum or refugee status.
- Increase your chances of succeeding when there are strikes against you, such as a criminal record, communicable disease, denial of a previous application, or even a previous deportation.
- Obtain legal status if you are currently in the United States illegally.
- Get the right paperwork and complete it properly. What seems like a simple mistake on an application can lead to long delays or even denial or deportation. Forms that may feel overwhelming to you will be routine for an immigration lawyer.
- Get answers from USCIS about your application if it seems to have disappeared or been delayed.
- Prove that your marriage is not a sham.
- Start a business in the United States.
- Avoid deportation by advising you and representing you in court if necessary.
- Stay calm. A good lawyer can help you get information and make clear-minded decisions about the immigration process.
Find a Good Immigration Attorney
Like tax law, bankruptcy law, or family law, immigration law is a specialty subject involving complex legal rules. With the field of immigration law, attorneys often specialize in particular types of cases. Someone claiming to be an immigration lawyer should be able to point to experience with situations like yours.
If you're going to hire an immigration lawyer, make sure you get a good one. Do your homework and comparison shop before you hire someone to represent you.