What Does an Immigration Attorney Do?

U.S. immigration law is notoriously complex. Even minor errors in a visa application or evidence you provide can lead to a year-long delay, deportation, or denial of a visa. An immigration lawyer can help you understand your rights, interpret the law, develop a strategy, and walk you through the immigration process. An immigration attorney can also represent you in court, although most time is spent as a mediator between you and the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Situations in Which an Immigration Lawyer Can Help
An immigration attorney can help you at any point of the immigration process, but there are some situations in which it is especially important to seek legal counsel.

  • You have been denied before. If you have previously applied for a visa or green card and you were denied, hire a lawyer for your next attempt. An attorney can help you improve your chances of success and determine why you were initially denied.
  • You or a loved one have a medical condition. Sometimes a medical condition changes the type of application you will need to submit, and there are some conditions that can prevent you from entering the country, such as communicable diseases.
  • You are coming to the U.S. for a job, but your employer will not help. If you have been hired for a job in the U.S., you may need the help of an attorney if your employer is not providing the assistance you need. Some employers simply lack the knowledge and experience to help overseas employees get a visa.
  • You have been convicted of a crime. If you have been convicted of a crime, you must disclose it on your application. While this will reduce your chances of being approved, an immigration lawyer can help you explain the charge to USCIS. Not all crimes bar you from entering the U.S., but you risk deportation if you make any misrepresentations.
  • You or a loved one are facing deportation. An immigration attorney can work to stop the deportation and get you approved for citizenship. Contact an attorney for help immediately if you are or have been in immigration court removal proceedings. If the proceedings are not finished or on appeal, your immigration status is still in the power of the courts. An attorney will help you research possible avenues of relief, prepare for court, and represent you at your hearing.
  • You are overwhelmed by the paperwork. If you have started the process on your own but you are feeling overwhelmed, you aren’t alone. The immigration process is complex and confusing, but an attorney can help you make sure your paperwork is done properly to avoid unnecessary delays.

While an immigration lawyer can be invaluable, there are some things a lawyer cannot do for you. An attorney cannot guarantee you get a green card or a visa, nor can an attorney help you mislead an immigration official if you are in a situation that bars entry to the U.S., such as a conviction for a certain crime.

If you suspect problems will come up during your case or you or a loved one have been threatened with deportation or contacted by the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, it’s important to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer to discuss your options.