A person who applies for a green card today can expect to wait in line for 50 years. If that sounds shocking to you, don’t panic and give up on your immigration goals just yet.
A good immigration lawyer is what you need to help you navigate the tiresome and difficult immigration process. They can make the difference between a half a century wait and a fast-track to citizenship.
Are you interested in knowing more? Check out these 7 key tips for choosing an immigration lawyer so you can get started with your new life today!
1. Ask for Referrals for the Best Immigration Lawyers
One of the most important tips for choosing an immigration lawyer is to dig into your personal network for referrals. Do you know people who have been through a similar process and have been successful in acquiring a residency visa? If so, this is the best place to start.
You can learn firsthand about a trusted acquaintance’s experience and can connect you with the lawyer that assisted them throughout the process. Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to find the right lawyer.
If you don’t know anyone that can give you a referral, then turn to the online community. Check community forums, references, and reviews.
2. Interview Shortlisted Lawyers
Once you have found a few lawyers with excellent credentials and experience, take your time getting to know them better. This is one of the most important procedures that you’ll go through in your life, you want to ensure that you have the right person for the job.
You can schedule a quick phone call with each lawyer to get to know them a bit better and ask important questions. Ask them about their experience, previous cases, successes, and failures, etc.
It’s a good idea to write some important questions and record the answers so you can compare them to make your decision.
3. Find an Immigration Lawyer Who Uses the Cloud
Physical paperwork and documentation can become one of the biggest obstacles and hindrances in your immigration process. Being confined to mail and paper-based documents is time-consuming and will lengthen the process.
Therefore, it’s prudent to find a lawyer who is comfortable with managing the process on the cloud. Make it clear that you want a paperless process where you can sign and submit documents electronically.
Ultimately, this will be one of the hallmarks of a less stressful, quicker, and more cost-effective process.
4. Don’t Look for a Bargain
Lawyer fees can be daunting but it’s vital that you look for quality, rather than the best bargain. You want a high-quality lawyer who is an expert in immigration law and will help you achieve your goal of immigrating.
If you’re serious and really want to become a citizen, then the higher costs will be worth it. Choosing an inexpensive lawyer may lead to more stress and an unsuccessful result. The money will be wasted anyway.
Of course, you should compare fees as you don’t want to end up paying extortionate costs, either. But always take quality into account as a more important metric than cost.
5. Negotiate and Understand Fees Ahead of Time
Speaking of fees, it’s important that you negotiate the fees before you actually hire a lawyer. If you go in blindly you may find yourself slapped with unexpected and hidden costs when it’s too late to pull out.
Attorneys have different cost and payment structures and you should know exactly how it works before agreeing to work with someone.
Typically, immigration lawyers charge by the hour. However, there are some options for firms that offer fixed fees. If your preferred attorney charges by the hour, ensure that they give you an estimate of how many hours you can expect to pay for.
6. Find a Lawyer Who Speaks Your Language
Dealing with a lawyer who doesn’t speak your language fluently is going to cause a lot of stress for you and can hinder the process.
You shouldn’t have to navigate the complexities of immigration law in another language or try to understand it in broken pieces from someone who barely speaks your language.
In order to streamline the process and understand all the legal jargon, hire a lawyer with who you can communicate seamlessly. Of course, they should also speak English fluently so that they can cruise through the immigration process.
7. Make Sure You’re Comfortable
This is an often overlooked consideration but is crucial. You want to be comfortable with the person you hire as you’ll be working very closely with them. You should be able to communicate with ease, understand one another’s goals and be on the same page.
If all goes well, you’ll be working with the attorney well into the future to secure your citizenship — so ensure you pick someone you actually get along with.
If you have personal preferences, based on gender or age, it’s okay to go with your instinct and choose the person you’d be most comfortable with.
Finding the Best Person for Your Immigration Process
The immigration process is stressful and lengthy, but an excellent immigration lawyer is the key to making it as smooth as possible. Take your time finding the right lawyer with the expertise, experience, and personality that you need to navigate the immigration procedure successfully.
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