Need an Immigration Lawyer? Here are the “top 10” FAQs
Here the FAQs on all you need to know about hiring an Immigration Lawyer
1. Question: Can I handle my immigration application this myself? Do I need an Immigration Lawyer?
ANSWER: Of course you can do it yourself. But can you handle it? Should you? That is another story. The best way to know for sure is to schedule a consultation with a lawyer and ask your immigration questions. If the lawyer answered your questions and if in the last few minutes of the consultation you realize that there is more information about the law and the procedures, this is a good indication that hiring a lawyer is a good idea.
Having representation puts your mind at ease that someone else is doing the research and work necessary to get the job done. In addition, if the law firm specializes immigration and has years of experience at handling complex immigration matters with a good reputation, you are probably in good hands.
2. Question: What factors should I consider in selecting an effective immigration lawyer?
ANSWER: Specialization. The reality is that the landscape in this area of practice is currently undergoing continuous change. A practitioner who is exclusively practicing in the immigration area is more likely to be aware of the many issues at hand, than one who is a claimed master of many specialties. If the law firm you are considering hiring is only handles immigration law and nothing else, then you probably are on the right track.
And experience and reputation and recognition are always good ways to know you have picked the right firm and lawyer.
3. Question: There is plenty of free information available on the Internet. Why do I need a consultation, or to hire a lawyer?
ANSWER: A consultation provides you with details and recommendations based on your own case. Immigration law is complex, and constantly changing. It cannot be fully comprehended without knowing the structure, context, and history of the law. Generalized information online is not a substitute for a detailed analysis of your case by an experienced attorney. In fact there is a lot of misleading and false information in cyberspace that looks credible but isn’t.
When you hire a lawyer, that lawyer will review immigration law and regulations and apply them to your case. Most general advice is based on patterns of experiences, not on any legal analysis. In a field where small differences can make the difference between failure and success, general advice may harm, rather than help.
4. Question: What does your consultation cover?
ANSWER: A typical consultation should last around 45 minutes to an hour. A qualified immigration lawyer should obtain general information from you and discuss the facts of your case. Then they will discuss which legal options are appropriate for you, and review the anticipated costs of your case. By the end of our consultation, you should know what can be done for you, how long it will take, what are the risks and at what cost.
5. Question: How much do you charge for a consultation?
ANSWER: At our firm. our standard consultation fee is $184.00. If you hire us, we credit the cost of the consultation towards our legal fees. Some firms offer free consultations. We charge a fee because we get a lot of inquires every day. And you can in fact get some free, basic information on our website www.VisaPlace.com which is full of immigration information. But if you want to know what to do about your specific case, you should call us directly.
6. Question: If I don’t live in your area, can I arrange a telephone consultation?
ANSWER: At our firm. Yes! Just call us!
7. Question: How does your office bill?
ANSWER: We bill on a flat-fee basis. No running tab. No surprises. Your lawyer should tell you up front how much your case will cost including court and filing fees where applicable. Most immigration firms do it this way.
8. Question: Can your office handle my immigration matter, although I live in a different country, State or Province?
ANSWER: Immigration law is Federal. This means that so long as your lawyers are licensed in Canada and the US., they should be able to handle any immigration matter for US and Canadian visas. At our firm, we have many clients from all over Canada, the US and the world we sometimes never see in person! So long as you have email an internet access, we can help.
9. Question; Can a lawyer make a difference in how long the government takes to process my case?
ANSWER: No. Government processing is not affected by whether an applicant has a lawyer or not. Anyone telling you otherwise, is not being up front with you. However, an experienced immigration lawyer knows when a case is taking longer than it should, and who to call to get the case “back on track.” Also, an experienced lawyer knows what cases can qualify for expedited, fast-track government processing, and how to request it when appropriate.
10. Question: Can you guarantee results?
ANSWER: There are no guarantees with immigration cases. The nature of immigration law and the realities of immigration processing are such that guaranteeing a result is impossible and unethical. However, if the immigration firm you choose has many years of experience and a good reputation and is up front with you, you should be in good hands.
About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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