In dealing with the immigration issues, you may ask yourself, “Do I really need to work with an immigration attorney? Can I just fill out the forms on my own?”
You may think that if you have a straightforward case and if you just follow the forms instructions, you could probably apply without an immigration attorney and save money. Although this could have been true several years ago in some situations, it is increasingly no longer the case. The immigration process has unquestionably become more complicated, prolonged and unpredictable.
Here are a few specific reasons why you should hire an immigration attorney to guide you with your case:
- An immigration attorney can screen you for any legal “red flags” that could affect your eligibility and potentially compromise your immigration situation if not properly addressed. An immigration attorney can thoroughly analyze the facts of your case, research any legal issues that may affect your chances of success, and provide the best immigration strategy for you to follow.
- Without an attorney, you would need to get familiar with recent developments in immigration law yourself to avoid serious mistakes. The field of immigration law is constantly in flux. Even minor changes to laws, regulations, policies, guidance, directives as well as recent executive orders and court decisions can have a direct and significant impact on your case. You need an attorney who stays on top of the recent immigration changes to give your case the best chance of success.
- It is easy to make a mistake on a form or submit insufficient evidence that could lead to delays and even rejection. Filling out a form may appear to be a simple task that anyone can do, but, in reality, it is very easy to make a mistake that can result in a delay or even a denial of your application. Applicants often forget that even unintentionally omitting information or providing incorrect information in their immigration forms could be considered fraud or material misrepresentation. This could obviously result in severe consequences and even criminal penalties. In addition, It is important to provide sufficient and correct type of evidence in support of your petition or application to avoid USCIS issuing a request for additional evidence.
- An immigration attorney can help you handle processing delays and government mistakes. It is not a secret that most government agencies processing your application are short-staffed, overwhelmed, and prone to making mistakes by, for example, entering your information incorrectly, misplacing your documents, rejecting your application in error, or simply “forgetting” about your application. You need an advocate on your side who can help you navigate any unexpected issues or delays with your case.
- It may cost you more by not having an immigration attorney in the long run. Even though you may save some money by not hiring an attorney in a short run, you may pay the higher “personal” price by having your application being rejected, losing ability to be employed, or even having to separate from your family. It is also more costly to fix the immigration mistakes than do it right from the start.
With many regulations, policies and procedures to keep track of, navigating the complexities of immigration law on your own will be difficult and frustrating, to say the least. So, the answer is that you should work with an immigration attorney. He or she will analyze your specific situation, outline options and challenges for you, and guide you through the whole process step-by-step. Importantly, your decision on hiring an immigration attorney can make the difference between your application being delayed, denied or approved.