Many people walk into an immigration law firm shocked at how much hiring an immigration attorney costs. This can make people hesitant to hire one to get their green cards or visas.
The immigration process is complicated. An attorney specializing in immigration law can be the difference between getting your permanent residency/citizenship and getting rejected. This article will discuss the typical costs associated with hiring an immigration lawyer and the benefits of hiring one.
There have been a lot of changes with immigration laws and policies during the previous administration that can affect the expenses of people who wish to immigrate. If you wish to learn more about immigration issues, grab a copy of our free book, “The Truth for Immigrants Under Trump” by our skilled Shenandoah immigration attorney.
Typical Cost of an Immigration Lawyer
Different lawyers in America have different fee structures. Some may charge you for a specific action (like a naturalization application or cancellation of removal), while others charge an hourly fee.
While you wouldn’t want to hire an obscenely expensive attorney, the best lawyer for your case will certainly not be the cheapest. Here we discuss what you can typically expect when hiring immigration attorneys.
Most lawyers charge very low fees for the first consultation, with some even offering it for free. The initial consultation lets you evaluate whether the lawyer is fit for you and your chances to prevail in your case. You’ll find that the typical initial consultation lasts for around 30 minutes to an hour and costs you $150.
Legal Services Fees
Once the attorney has figured out the legal services you need, you can talk about how the payment setup works. You’ll pay either a flat fee or an hourly fee depending on the services required. Ask other law firms for their fees so you can see what’s best for you.
To help you in your decision, here are some typical ranges for common immigration services.
- Hourly rate: $150 – $300
- Deportation Defense: $4,000 – $12,000
- Asylum Application: $1,000 – $7,000
- Green Card Renewal: $300 – $700
- Citizenship/Naturalization Application: $500 – $2,500
- Adjustment of Status Application: $2,000 – $5,000
- Green Card Petition for Family Member: $1,000 – $3,500
The prices listed do not include the USCIS filing fees (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).
If you’re an immigrant of good moral character, the process can be cheaper. It’s generally much more expensive if you have a criminal record or you’ve committed immigration violations.
Another factor to take into consideration when deciding to hire an attorney is their experience with the different types of visas and categories of immigrants.
Some attorneys practice in several areas. A criminal defense law firm can also dabble with immigration on the side. Usually, the best lawyers in America for your purposes will have extensive experience in immigration law. If the firm is an immigration firm, you’ll typically have a higher chance for success at the cost of a few more dollars.
Some law offices specialize in family-based immigration and getting a fiance visa. Others may be more equipped to deal with employment-based immigration and get you your employment authorization document as a highly-skilled worker with the labor certification process. Still, others may be of greater help with business immigration and getting an investor visa.
The specialization of a law office will affect the prices they charge for certain services in the process of immigration. Take that into consideration in your search for the best immigration lawyer for you.
When to Hire an Immigration Attorney
For the most uncomplicated cases, you can certainly get away with going through the immigration proceeding on your own. However, it’s more common to encounter some sort of legal issue when you immigrate to the US. Here are some situations that merit the services of immigration lawyers.
You Don’t Want to Deal with Paperwork
You’re a busy individual looking to make a living for yourself and your family. Adding tons of paperwork for immigration can be stressful, confusing, and time-consuming. If you don’t want to deal with that, hire a lawyer to handle the immigration forms for you.
You’ve had a Previous Rejection
If your application for an immigrant visa or permanent resident status has been declined, it’s not advisable to apply or appeal on your own. There’s critical information that may be wrong or missing in your application. An experienced American immigration lawyer will help you with immigration appeals and reapplication so you can improve your chances of success.
You’re Unsure about your Eligibility
Permanent residence, immigration visas, and US citizen applications have strict eligibility criteria. If you try to apply but fail to fit the criteria, you essentially double the processing times. Consult with an immigration attorney so that you can be sure that you are qualified for the immigration benefit you’re applying for.
You Need to Convince Immigration Authorities
Certain immigration processes such as asylum, temporary protected status, or a national interest waiver require the persuasion of immigration officials. A savvy immigration attorney usually knows the local authorities’ tics and can help you convince them to offer you the immigration benefits.
You’ve Committed an Immigration Violation
Prior immigration violations can land you in removal proceedings (deportation). Some examples of this include overstaying your visa, immigration fraud, or illegally entering the borders without inspection.
Hire a skilled lawyer to help get you through immigration court and prevail on your case.
A non-citizen can face deportation if they’ve had certain criminal convictions. These are typically crimes of moral turpitude. No matter how long you’ve been a lawful permanent resident or green card holder or whatever type of visa, you are not exempt from removal. Engaging in criminal acts can make you inadmissible or deportable.
Get skilled legal representation immediately if you’re an immigrant facing a conviction that can land you in trouble with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Other Complicated Situations
Sometimes you just have an unusual case, without necessarily being unlawful. For these special scenarios, you’d want to hire an attorney who is familiar with immigration laws and recent immigration news to figure out how to deal with your situation.
If you relate to the scenarios above, you’ll need a lawyer to give you immigration advice and get you through the situation. To solve this immediately, get in touch with our Shenandoah immigration law office to schedule a consultation.
The US immigration process is notoriously long and complicated. Whether it’s waivers, consular processing, adjustment of immigrant status, or applying for United States citizenship, a single mistake restarts the entire process, costing more time and money. At worst, it can lead to inadmissibility.
The cost of hiring an immigration lawyer is much cheaper than doing it all over. Our experienced immigration attorneys from Luis F. Hess PLLC can certainly give you an easy way for immigrating to the US.
It’s best to know what you can about lawful immigration so you can be confident you’re doing the right thing. Our book “The Truth for Immigrants Under Trump” sheds some light on how immigration has changed under the previous administration. The book can also answer your immigration questions.
If you need more help, our experienced Shenandoah immigration attorneys are here for you! Call our law office now to schedule your consultation.