If you’re questioning whether immigration attorney fees are worth the cost, there are a couple of ways you can assess it. What it really boils down to is how complicated your case is, and how dire your situation.
Ballpark Immigration Attorney Fees
These immigration attorney fees are for illustrative purposes only and may not reflect the amount the charged by the individual attorney you choose to represent you. However, here is a rough estimate of immigration attorney fees for a variety of common immigration services.
• Work permit application: up to $500
• Citizenship or Naturalization Application: up to $1500
• Family-based Green Card application: up to $2000
• Employment-based petitions (if not handled by your company): up to $5000
• Asylum seekers: up to $3000
• Adjustment of immigration status: up to $1500
• Defense against deportation: up to $10,000 or more, depending on the defense strategy
Again, these are simple estimates of immigration attorney fees to help you gauge costs; they should not be used as hard and fast rules for determining the specifics of your case.
Why Hire an Attorney in the First Place?
Well, as you can see from the immigration attorney fees above, it’s much cheaper to obtain legal help up front. Otherwise, if you wait until you are facing deportation, you’ll have significantly fewer options and a lot more expense. Plus, your attorney knows the ins and outs of the system and can devise a strategy more likely to get your application accepted. While you might be able to read enough information to figure things out on your own, you’ll still have the peace of mind knowing all the I’s are dotted and T’s crossed.
Hiring an Attorney Can Reduce Processing Time
It’s estimated that individuals who fill out their own paperwork spend anywhere from an additional four to eight weeks in the processing queue. The reason? You may not fill everything out correctly or understand the areas you may qualify under. And the U.S. Government is under no obligation to help you figure it out.
There’s also a good chance you’ll have better luck getting approved by applying at a consulate outside the U.S. This is a common strategy that’s worked for thousands of people, but it’s entirely dependent on each unique situation.
Plus, your attorney can help facilitate an interview at a foreign consulate, or at USCIS offices within the United States. By scheduling and prepping you for the questions likely to come your way, your lawyer can help ensure you pass the interview portion the first time. They’ll give you a list of practice questions to get you ready, and they’ll also advise you regarding topics to avoid, or trigger words you’ll want skip.
Can You Hire ANY Attorney?
Well, yes. But it’s not the best idea. You want someone with familiarity with the laws and statutes specific to your case. A general practitioner is unlikely to have the depth and breadth of knowledge required to assist with any but the most basic of immigration cases.
Do yourself a favor and hire someone with experience specific to your needs.
Even If You’re Here Illegally, You Still Have Options
In fact, this is one of the most common reasons individuals hire immigration attorneys: adjustment of immigration status. In other words, identifying the way to switch your status from undocumented to legal resident.
Your lawyer will review all the factors at play in your particular case and lay out the options available to you. He or she should also explain the hazards associated with deportation and the impacts it can have on your ability to re-enter the country. And if you require any special waivers to absolve past crimes or fraud, you’ll want someone with the capacity to craft and execute a detailed and winning strategy. Because once you’re out of the country, it can be almost impossible to get back in.
Does Price Matter When Paying Immigration Attorney Fees?
Yes. And no.
You’ll often see immigration centers, or immigration services advertising low prices and processing costs. These are sometimes known as immigration mills. They crank through applications in a mechanical and speedy fashion, rarely giving your case the attention it needs (or deserves).
On the flip side, price isn’t a guarantee of expertise. You can retain a high-priced attorney, only to be fobbed off onto a young associate or paralegal.
In either scenario, price isn’t indicative of quality.
Instead, look for referrals from friends and family, as well as individuals who lay out the grounds of your working relationship up front. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get a better understanding of how you’ll be interacting with this person for the foreseeable future.
Need Immigration Help Now?
Visit us online to contact the Lee & Peynado Law Firm now to learn more about how we charge our immigration attorney fees, or to schedule a free consultation.