Hiring an immigration lawyer is not a must when you’re applying for a green card or a temporary visa. If your case is straightforward and it’s obvious that you meet all the requirements, you may be able to obtain a visa without a lawyer.
However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes the situation you’re facing is a bit more complicated and requires extensive knowledge of immigration law. We advise you to check out this law firm for legal help with immigration procedures if you need assistance.
If you’re still unsure whether you need professional help, we got you. Here are the most frequent scenarios when people decide to hire an immigration lawyer.
- You’re unsure of your options.
Did you know that there are about 185 types of US visas? Depending on the purpose of your stay, you may have to apply for one.
For instance, if you’re planning on getting married to a US citizen, you can either do it before you move to the US or afterward. Choosing option number 1 means you can enter the US with an immigration visa with an immediate right to a green card.
The situation is different if you want to get married in the US because you first have to get a K-1 fiancé visa (nonimmigrant visa) and then apply for a green card through a procedure known as adjustment of status.
Deciding which option is better depends on current government fees, procedures, and processing time. And that is something an immigration lawyer can help you with.
- You want to save time and energy.
Time is a valuable asset, so it’s understandable if you don’t want to deal with a lot of documentation or invest your time in learning about immigration procedures.
Immigration procedures are lengthy, and even the smallest mistake can cause unnecessary delays in the application process. However, a lawyer specializing in immigration law that has many years of experience will deliver the results much faster.
- You’d like to hire a foreigner.
Employers that want to hire a foreigner on a permanent basis have to go through a time-consuming and complicated process. Most of the time, the first step they need to take is to obtain a labor certification, or “PERM.”
PERM is created to protect US citizens by forcing an employer to provide evidence that no one in the US is qualified for the position they’re hiring.
Getting PERM is a three-step process: employers have to place required advertisements, review all the resumes they receive, conduct interviews, and prove that there was truly no one else they could’ve hired, all through detailed records. Once that’s done, they submit the ETA form 9089 to the DOL and wait for the labor certificate.
After DOL approves the PERM, the employer files a visa petition on Form I-140. This visa petition has to be approved for the foreigner to obtain a green card.
As you can tell, this process is not simple because even the smallest mistake can cost you time and money.
- A deportation proceeding has been started against you.
This is an emergency since the immigration judge or officer could remove you from the US. Therefore, we advise you to call an immigration lawyer as soon as you’ve been served with a Notice to Appear (NTA).
Depending on your situation, your lawyer may come up with different defense tactics to help you stay in the US, such as filing an Adjustment of Status application. Either way, we strongly advise you to contact a lawyer instead of trying to work with what you have.
- You’ve been denied a visa.
Sadly, visa applications sometimes get denied. That can be discouraging, especially if you’ve put all your effort into obtaining it.
In most cases, there’s no appeal process available. However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Our advice is to contact an immigration lawyer and let them have a look at the application and documents you’ve filed. You might be able to reapply for a visa if you’ve been denied simply because of a mistake in the application or a lack of evidence proving that you meet the requirements.
There are cases when you can file an appeal, but it’s best to discuss this option with your lawyer. Sometimes, it makes more sense to simply reapply than to go through with the appeal.
- You want to get divorced while on a conditional green card.
Having a divorce doesn’t always affect your status in the US.
When you obtain a green card through marriage, you’ll be issued either a permanent renewable green card or a conditional green card. A permanent one is valid for ten years, while a conditional green card is valid for two years. It is issued to applicants that have been married for less than two years at the time the green card is issued. Two years after you arrive in the US, you can apply to have conditions lifted by proving you’re still married.
Now, if you have a permanent green card, your marital status doesn’t matter. Once your green card expires, you’ll simply file Form I-90 to get it renewed.
The situation is completely different if you have a conditional green card. In this case, you can still have the conditions lifted, but you’ll have to prove that your marriage was real and not immigration fraud. Again, since this is a very delicate situation, hiring a lawyer is probably the best idea.
- There’s a lot of paperwork involved.
If your case is a little more complicated, it most likely involves submitting more documentation. Even the simplest immigration visa based on marriage can become more complicated if you’ve been married before and got a divorce.
The immigration process is especially complex if you’re planning on hiring people from abroad since you’ll have to submit a lot more documentation to prove you meet the requirements. Even if you’re tight on time, collecting the necessary documentation can be draining.
If this is something you can relate to, think about talking to an immigration lawyer.