What do immigration lawyers do?
The immigration issues that have seen intense political debate and media coverage in recent years are only part of the story.
The United States sees a constant influx of people hoping to live, work, and study within its borders, and immigration lawyers can help individuals, families, and businesses navigate those various and often complex immigration pathways. A person’s immigration status might impact and intersect with other legal matters too, such as family law, criminal law, business, and tax law, and being well versed in immigration law is necessary for attorneys practicing in those areas as well.
Immigration lawyers may represent clients in administrative courts, or they may counsel clients about their legal rights and obligations related to immigration, among other things. They also suggest courses of action based on their knowledge of immigration law.
For example, immigration lawyers might help citizens of other countries through the process of gaining legal status to work in the United States with the H-1B visa program. This program provides a framework for American employers to hire non-U.S. citizens in jobs where their skills are needed. Individuals hoping to come to the United States to fill such positions must gain approval through a complex and often intimidating process. They (or often the employers hoping to hire them) often turn to immigration lawyers, who provide assistance in completing forms and taking other required steps. The lawyers may also represent clients in dealing with government officials in matters related to the visa application.
You can find immigration lawyers in various legal settings as well, from large law firms to smaller practices that include or specialize in immigration law, to government agencies to nonprofit organizations. (Every world-class performer or athlete has an immigration attorney behind them, advising on and securing necessary visas!) Some immigration attorneys provide services through a nonprofit or public interest law fair. Or they may prepare correspondence, meet with government officials, make presentations, and advise staff and volunteers, among other duties.
Finally, highly experienced immigration lawyers may pursue other career interests, such as teaching immigration law in law schools. Many universities have an immigration attorney on staff to advise incoming students and faculty as well. Other possibilities include becoming an immigration judge, a legislative aid (every member of Congress has an immigration advisor on staff), or an appointed or elected official.
Even criminal lawyers would be well-advised to understand immigration law, as they can be professionally sanctioned for failing to properly advise non-citizen clients of the immigration consequences of convictions, pleas, and sentences.
At the end of the day, immigration law can be a strong fit to students interested in human rights and international law, as well as those interested in business law or criminal law.
10 Reasons To Book Your Free Consultation
- Green Card Eligibility:
While securing a green card may not always require a legal representative, you will find that doing so can make the situation much easier. In addition, discussing your situation with a reputable immigration lawyer during an immigration lawyer free consultation allows you to avoid being a victim of fraud. Many scammers operate with titles like “Notario” and “Visa Facilitator” who are not qualified to protect your interests in court nor can perform any of the functions of a certified lawyer.
- Legal Proceedings:
If you are somehow involved in legal proceedings, immediately contact a qualified immigration lawyer. Legal proceedings can spin out of control without proper legal representation and lead to severe results such as incarceration or deportation.
- Deportation Notification:
If you have received a notice of deportation, contact an immigration deportation lawyer An immigration lawyer free consultation may uncover reasons for the deportation that may be reversible. Top immigration lawyers have excellent relationships with immigration authorities and may be able to legally persuade a different approach to the reason for deportation.
- Application Denial:
If you have been denied a USCIS Green Card or citizenship, select a proven and successful immigration lawyer whose with a clear track record. Often application denials are a result of a misunderstanding, improper application completion, or other circumstance that a qualified attorney might overcome. Contact an expert lawyer for an immigration lawyer free consultation.
- Criminal Offense in the United States:
In the case of a criminal offense while living and working in the United States, you should proceed immediately to an experienced immigration lawyer. Individuals in this position are liable for deportation when serious offenses occur. During an immigration lawyer free consultation, the lawyer can advise and protect your rights in these circumstances.
- Moving to the U.S. for a Job:
For anyone who has been offered a job in the United States but must work out the immigration details themselves, a credible and experienced business immigration law firm is essential. The firm can represent the individual, expedite the legal paperwork, and facilitate the entire process. An immigration lawyer free consultation will begin the process.
- Investment-Based Visa:
Business people or investors who create or finance a United States-based business that employs ten or more full-time employees are eligible for EB5 investor Green Cardsor permanent residency. To handle the legalities and requirements of this type of situation, professional legal representation is important. Given the considerable paperwork involved and the complexities of admitting family members under 21 to the United States, setting up an immigration lawyer free consultation can be very helpful to expedite all processes.
- Emergency Help:
Identifying a ready and capable legal resource who is familiar with your situation is important. Sometimes events happen quickly. Knowing whom to call is important. An immigration lawyer will familiarize you with a ready legal resource to help you in a difficult situation.
Having a discussion about your circumstances during an immigration lawyer free consultation can bring psychological relief and instill confidence that someone is available who knows your situation and can help. A free consultation provides you with an educated opinion of your circumstances and imparts relief that you have a ready contact to phone if circumstances change.
- It’s free.
You are under no obligation to continue with the relationship. During a free consultation, the immigration lawyer will explore your circumstances to determine if legal action or protection may be required. If so, a clear path can be devised to identify the clear objective and proceed. This will also allow you to determine if the immigration lawyer is the right fit for you and is sincere in protecting your rights.
What are Some Situations Where Hiring an Immigration Lawyer is Necessary?
Most persons hire an immigration lawyer when they need assistance in submitting an application for some type of immigration document, such as a visa or green card. This is especially true when the person is unable to fully understand the various requirements under immigration law.
There are certain instances when hiring an immigration lawyer is absolutely necessary. Some of these situations include:
- If an applicant has been convicted of a crime: Nearly all USCIS forms ask whether the applicant has been convicted of a crime. The applicant must disclose their entire criminal record, even for charges that were dropped or expunged. It is usually not necessary to hire a criminal lawyer; immigration lawyers always understand how immigration and criminal law overlap.
- Prior immigration applications have been denied: An immigration lawyer will be able to determine why the application was denied. They can also tell if it is possible to appeal the application or re-apply later in the future.
- If the person has previously been deported or excluded from entry into the U.S.: Sometimes deportation or exclusion means that the person is permanently barred from future applications. An immigration attorney can provide advice on the effects of deportation and exclusion.
- If an applicant has a medical condition: Some, but not all medical conditions may prevent a person from obtaining entry into the U.S. (such as some communicable diseases).
- When an applicant is waiting an unreasonably long time during the application process: Immigration lawyers are familiar with application processes, including deadlines and waiting times. A lawyer can sometimes help the applicant obtain expedited or rush processing.
- If the applicant is seeking an employment-based visa, but their prospective employer is not assisting with immigration issues: Processing for employment-based visas can be complicated. An immigration lawyer can help ensure that future employers are fulfilling their obligations to future immigrant workers.
- If the applicant’s marriage to a U.S. citizen was terminated before they were able to have conditions removed on their permanent resident status: Visa applications based on marriages are usually filed jointly. If the marriage has been terminated due to divorce or death, it can be particularly difficult to prove that the marriage was not fraudulent.
If an applicant is seeking to adjust their permanent resident status but was recently divorced and married to a different U.S. citizen: The main issue here is that the first marriage may be suspected to be a scam. An immigration lawyer may be necessary to prove that the first marriage was legitimate.
If a person is immigrating to the U.S. with their family and their child might reach age 21 before permanent resident status is granted: Eligibility for permanent resident status is different for children under the age of 21. A lawyer can help determine the best method of filing for children of applicants.
If the applicant has begun the application process but does not know what to do next: At times USCIS may request additional paperwork or documentation to support an applicant’s claim. Working with an attorney from the beginning of the process can help prevent delays and may even make the process faster.
What to bring to an immigration lawyer
It’s important to be prepared for your first consult with an immigration lawyer. Bring any forms the lawyer asked you to complete. These will usually include basic information, such as name, date of birth, and address. In addition, you should bring or send ahead copies of all documents related to your immigration case.
These may include:
- Your birth certificate
- Past or present visas and/or visa applications
- Documents you were given when you entered the United States
- Letters from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
If you have a criminal record, you should bring all related police reports and court documents. You must be open and honest about any arrests, even if they no longer appear on your record. Keeping your lawyer fully informed is important.
It’s also a good idea to bring this list of immigration consultation questions that you want to ask, so you don’t forget anything.
What are the Four Categories of Immigration Status in the U.S.
You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand basic immigration law and policy. There are four categories that people in the U.S. fall into, as explained below. Since a criminal conviction can complicate your immigration process, the categories of certain crimes are also explained in this article. Applying these concepts can make all the difference in any immigration petition.
To begin with, let’s look at the four types of immigration status that exist: citizens, residents, non-immigrants and undocumented.