Immigration law is extremely complex, and if you are going through the immigration process, it can affect your entire life. Although some immigration procedures are fairly straightforward, there can still be difficulties because of the constant changes in immigration law. Where should you consult an immigration lawyer?
The application process in family-based visas
All of the forms needed to sponsor family members are available through the government website, along with instructions on how to prepare and submit them. Although the instructions appear somewhat simple, they can be unintentionally misleading.
One example concerns the sponsorship of a foreign national spouse with children. The instructions state that you may sponsor your spouse and any stepchildren under 21 years old. A footnote in small print at the bottom of the instruction page states that you must have married your spouse before the children turned 18. If you missed that footnote, and any of your stepchildren are 18-20 years old, they cannot be sponsored. Your spouse must then choose between their spouse or children.
An immigration lawyer is keenly aware of the inconsistencies in this process. Attorneys also know that in the case of marriage visas, fraud is often suspected. A lawyer specializing in immigration knows what kinds of documentation to submit with an application to prove the validity of a relationship. In these matters, you are often assumed guilty until proven innocent.
If you are sponsoring a family member from another country, it is probable that English is not your first language. An immigration lawyer can help to translate documents that are difficult even for those who speak English as their mother tongue.
If your application is denied
An immigration lawyer is especially important if your petition to sponsor a family member is denied. Your lawyer can file an appeal and lead you through the appeals process.
Removal or deportation proceedings
If you or a family member are facing removal or deportation, you will need to appear before an immigration judge to plead your case about why you should be allowed to remain in the US. Legal representation by an immigration lawyer with experience in immigration court cases will greatly improve your chance of success. If you are denied and need to file an appeal, an immigration lawyer is your last chance to remain in the country.
What an immigration lawyer cannot do
- An immigration lawyer cannot expedite your case. They can assist you in preparing the proper documentation and petitions, but they cannot increase the speed the process once the paperwork is submitted to USCIS (U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Services)
- Am immigration lawyer cannot contact anyone working on your case at USCIS. The only information available about your case is available online or by phone, and that is very basic information concerning the status of your case.
If you have any doubts about your ability to navigate through the immigration process, it would be wise to consult an immigration lawyer. Your future or the fate of your loved ones may depend upon it.