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People who try to do their own immigration work are often frustrated by the complexities of this area of law. Using an attorney can maximize their chances of success and make the process much easier.

Beware of individuals who represent themselves as immigration specialists but are not attorneys. They can impose unnecessary costs and jeopardize your immigration status.

Ask for a Referral

Referrals from trusted sources are always helpful. Ask friends, family, and coworkers who have gone through the same process for a recommendation to an immigration lawyer they trust. They will likely be able to provide you with specific information about the lawyer’s expertise, fees and costs, and communication style.

Also, check with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) for referrals. The organization has a lawyer referral service that allows you to enter your geographic location and will give you the names of several attorneys who specialize in immigration law within your area. The referral service will have subcategories for different areas of expertise, such as asylum and visas.

Be wary of individuals who claim to be immigration experts but do not have a license to practice law. These people, known as “notarios” or “immigration consultants,” may charge a fee to fill out forms or file documents for you, but they are not attorneys and are unlikely to have the necessary expertise to handle your case.

Conduct an Online Search

Whether or not you get a referral from someone else, it’s important to conduct an online search. This is where you can check to see if the attorney has been disciplined for unethical conduct or is involved in any lawsuits. It’s also a good idea to look at their professional memberships and affiliations. If they belong to a bar association or another professional legal organization, this shows that they are committed to abiding by their standards and staying updated with immigration law developments.

Many immigration lawyers specialize in a certain type of case, so it’s worth searching for an attorney that works in your specific area. It’s also helpful to find an attorney who has worked in this field for a long time. This gives them a better understanding of Immigration Court policies and procedures, which can increase the probability that your case will be successful. Also, an experienced lawyer will be able to answer any questions that you might have about your case.

Ask About Their Success Rate

An immigration attorney’s track record of success is a good indicator of their competence. Ask the lawyer how many immigration cases they have successfully handled, and if any of those involved your specific visa category or country of origin.

Also, inquire about their hourly rate and whether or not they charge for consultations. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations, but some may require a fee. Additionally, inquire about the lawyer’s availability and how quickly they respond to emails.

Some non-lawyers claim to be immigration specialists and hawk their services on the street or online. These individuals can be a significant detriment to your case, as they do not possess the same legal knowledge and are not accredited by your state bar association. You should always work with a licensed immigration attorney to ensure your safety and best interest. They can also help you avoid expensive mistakes that could jeopardize your future in the country. This is especially true when dealing with complex issues such as asylum or naturalization.

Look for Experience

When it comes to choosing a trusted immigration lawyer, experience counts. A legal professional with experience dealing with similar cases to yours may be able to provide you with insights and advice that could speed up the process or help you avoid common mistakes that lead to delays or denials.

During your consultation, an expert attorney will explain several likely options for you to consider based on your case details. You should never feel rushed or that the attorney is not taking time to listen and answer your questions thoroughly.

You should also check that the lawyer is certified by your state’s Bar Association and has not received any disciplinary action. This information should be available online. You can also check for memberships and affiliations to see if they’re committed to keeping abreast of new legislation and best practices in this complex area of law. Lastly, look for an attorney who is passionate about helping clients like you achieve their goals of immigrating to the United States.