British Expats

British Expats (https://britishexpats.com/forum/)
-   US Immigration, Citizenship and Visas (https://britishexpats.com/forum/us-immigration-citizenship-visas-34/)
-   -   Using an immigration lawyer... yes or no? (https://britishexpats.com/forum/us-immigration-citizenship-visas-34/using-immigration-lawyer-yes-no-924570/)

jonobaker Apr 29th 2019 11:41 pm

Using an immigration lawyer... yes or no?
 
Hi guys,

My wife and I applied for an F4 visa back in August 2006, with my US citizen brother acting as our sponsor. We are at the stage where we will soon be required to begin submitting forms. But do we do this ourselves or employ the services of an immigration lawyer? I’m interested to hear the views of anyone who has gone through the process on their own, or chose to use a lawyer, pros and cons, costs, etc. I suppose ultimately the reason I’m asking this question is because having waited so many years to realise our dream I’d hate to jeopardise our application by making a mistake on one of the forms or not follow procedure properly, when a lawyer would hopefully dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. Any thoughts most appreciated.
Many thanks
Jonathan

Rete Apr 30th 2019 3:03 am

Re: Using an immigration lawyer... yes or no?
 
You'll find that the majority plus on these forums who filed for immigration visas, i.e. spousal, etc., are do-it-yourself people. If you don't have a criminal history and can pass the medical, then that's more than 1/2 the battle won. I've nothing again immigration attorneys. They are needed by many people, particularly in the business world in regards to company sponsorship of visas. Many attorneys do not do the work themselves. They consult with you, take your evidence, make note of pertinent information and then pass it on to a paralegal or a secretary or clerk to complete the forms. You really need to be familiar with the forms, the questions and what is required as evidence when you go over the completed forms before signing.

If you are logical, thorough, organized and good with detail, the applications are easy. Members who have done just this for themselves will be happy to assist if you need help. Why not d/l the I-130 and have a practice go at it and see how you feel about doing it yourself with a little help from outsiders.

Pulaski Apr 30th 2019 3:11 am

Re: Using an immigration lawyer... yes or no?
 
I agree with Rete - the forms are not difficult and I filed my own application for a CR-1, and later for removal of conditions, and for citizenship. IMO if you can read English to high school level and follow straight forward instructions, then you have no need for a lawyer to hold your hand. The only exception I would make is if you have some sort of complication such as a criminal record or a drug habit.

And Rete is right about the process if you hire a lawyer. You get to provide all the information to the lawyer to complete the forms - where else would they get it from anyway! :rolleyes: Then the lawyer has legal clerks complete the forms, then you check them before you sign them. ….. So it's your data, and you get to check the forms are correct. …. So what have you actually paid for? A clerk to complete the forms? :confused:

Kooky. Apr 30th 2019 3:42 am

Re: Using an immigration lawyer... yes or no?
 
We have an employer-supplied immi lawyer and I am sure it must have helped - our move is unplanned, we hadn't done any research, would not have known where to start - but it has been quite torturous. Questions we raised in the online system taking ten days to turn around. My husband's paperwork being prepared, mine being ignored completely despite us frequently asking about it - so we couldn't go together for our consulate interviews and his visa has been approved ahead of mine. And now my paperwork has finally arrived, I've set up an online profile on the consulate website and had to correct a lot of the information. UK passport number combined with Australian passport validity dates, for example.

Not the only reason but my husband is moving ahead of me this weekend, ten days before I even have my interview, and I couldn't get in at Sydney until mid-June so I'm having to fly to Melbourne (as did he).

Conclusion - if you use a lawyer, keep on top of it all yourself and check everything.

Pulaski Apr 30th 2019 4:03 am

Re: Using an immigration lawyer... yes or no?
 

Originally Posted by Kooky. (Post 12677380)
We have an employer-supplied immi lawyer and I am sure it must have helped ....

That's an interesting belief to have, because everything else in your post says otherwise, with the possible exception of "where to start".

Kooky. Apr 30th 2019 4:09 am

Re: Using an immigration lawyer... yes or no?
 

Originally Posted by Pulaski (Post 12677384)
That's an interesting belief to have, because everything else in your post says otherwise, with the possible exception of "where to start".

Quite :) And now, because of separate interviews, I have to wait for him to land and send me a copy of his paperwork; I could have got into Melbourne on 2 May were it not for that.

jonobaker May 18th 2019 8:17 pm

Re: Using an immigration lawyer... yes or no?
 
Thanks for all the replies guys. We’re going It alone. I think we’re organised and methodical enough to do this ourselves!

Pulaski May 18th 2019 9:34 pm

Re: Using an immigration lawyer... yes or no?
 

Originally Posted by jonobaker (Post 12685544)
Thanks for all the replies guys. We’re going It alone. I think we’re organised and methodical enough to do this ourselves!

Good call! :thumbup:

Please let us know if you have any questions. :)

tht May 19th 2019 1:16 pm

Re: Using an immigration lawyer... yes or no?
 
I have had a petitioner use lawyers for my employment based L1a and GC. And have engaged them for H1b applications and extensions.

I agree with others if you are not going for an employment based or other special skills visa you are mostly form filing and all the facts are already known to you about yourself. I have often seen a short survey that is then translated back to the actual forms.

From my own experience where the lawyers add the most value is:
- knowing the criteria for visas and helping select the most appropriate for an employee.
- having the templates / experience of what documentation is required beyond the USCIS forms. A good one knows what USCIS is currently looking for because they make frequent applications and deal with RFE’s and can update their templates accordingly. However even here they still need the actual details only the employer and employee can provide.
- knowing what processing times look like etc. but you can also get that information online.

As others have noted if there are issues with an applicant for any visa type they can add a lot of value based on their experience.

In terms filing forms yourself, gather all your documents. Make a list of what you have and what you are missing.

If you are filling forms online, print them for final review, and pay attention to things like required date formats. e.g. MM.DD.YYYY vs. the UK’s DD.MM.YYYY anywhere a format is not specified I use this format to avoid a mistake: DD MMM YYYY, e.g. 12 JAN 2019.

Each USCIS form I have completed has a separate PDF with notes, print it and read it. If you are unsure of something google it / ask here.

Don’t fill the forms by hand, get the right software / browser to type the forms if possible and even better if you can save in an editable format.

If you have to send evidence make sure it’s all organized, add a reference to each page and then a cover letter that lists what’s attached and how many pages each is. Don’t do double sided printing, so they don’t miss a page. Don’t staple documents together or put them in binders as they may not see and miss a page when scanning it all in. If you are sending copies make sure they are all nice flat pages for the same reasons and try to send as Letter not A4, as that’s the standard here. Just secure them all with a single clip.

Even if you are submitting online print forms and review again the next day with “fresh eyes” before sending, if possible have someone else review them as well.


All times are GMT. The time now is 3:18 pm.

Powered by vBulletin: ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.