We Know: How to Hire an Immigration Lawyer

What's an immigration lawyer?

An immigration lawyer is one who specializes in helping clients with immigration issues. This can include work and student visas, residency, and citizenship.

Many immigration lawyers specialize in particular aspects of immigration law, such as business immigration, asylum, or other areas.

How do I find an immigration lawyer?

You can contact the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and request a referral for an attorney in your area. You can also contact the American Bar Association (ABA).  Attorneys are also listed in the Yellow pages, and some have their own websites.

When you've narrowed down your choices, consider interviewing the lawyer in person. In all likelihood, you'll be charged for their time, but consider it a worthwhile investment.

Questions to Ask When Looking for an Immigration Lawyer

  1. What do they charge for an initial consultation? How long is the initial consultation? During the consultation you can outline your situation in detail and get an overview of the attorney's strategy. You can also determine if this attorney is the right one for you.
  2. In what area of immigration law does the lawyer specialize? If it doesn't apply to your situation, keep looking for an attorney who does.
  3. For how many years have they specialized in the area you need their expertise?
  4. How does the lawyer charge their clients? Is there a flat rate, or is it by the hour? With either scenario, request a written estimate of the costs involved.
  5. Does the lawyer require a retainer, or down payment against total fees?
  6. What services does the lawyer include? If an appeal is necessary, is that covered? For what services will you be charged extra?
  7. Is the attorney willing to provide you with references from previous clients?
  8. How will you be able to reach the attorney? Approximately how long do they take on average to return phone calls, etc.? Can you reach them by email or cell phone? What's the best way to reach them?

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