The outcome of your immigration case has a significant impact on you and your family. Ultimately, the immigration process is often quite confusing, so most people choose to hire an immigration law firm to get the best outcome and protect their legal rights. However, hiring an attorney is also a very selective process. Prospective applicants for family based immigration, visas, green cards, or citizenship need to find a competent immigration lawyer that will treat them fairly and represent them to the best of their ability.
While many people get a recommendation for an immigration attorney from a reliable source, it is still important to choose the right law firm for your particular situation.
What to Look for in an Immigration Lawyer
Ideally, you want an attorney with several years of experience practicing immigration law and working on cases like yours in the San Antonio, TX area. Be cautious of any one attorney that practices in too many areas of law. Immigration law is complex and always changing. You need a licensed immigration lawyer who focuses their practice primarily on immigration law.
Search online for a licensed and experiences attorney and read their websites. Contact the immigration attorney’s legal office in San Antonio, TX, to ask what services they provide and request a consultation.
Interview the Law Firm
If you seek legal residency or citizenship, you need the right immigration lawyer for the job. Filing immigration applications on your own and trying to understand the applicable law is overwhelming. Now is the time to interview a few select immigration lawyers to see if they are the right fit for your case. Ask questions about them, their firm, and get a feel for their style and approach to your situation to make sure that your needs are matched with the immigration lawyers’ experience.
Once you’ve had a consultation, choose the law firm and attorney in San Antonio, TX, who you feel most comfortable working with on your case.
Go online and do a quick check on the immigration lawyer before you sign a contract. Ensure that they are licensed and have no disciplinary actions taken against them. The Texas State Bar allows you look up an attorney by the bar number or name. The Texas State Bar can also be a great resource to help you find an immigration lawyer.
Finding the Right Law Firm to Apply for Residence to The United States
Many immigrants in San Antonio, TX and the surrounding area have lived in the country for many years without having legal status, but are now interested in getting their legal residency. There are also many United States citizens who want to help their loved ones gain lawful status or citizenship but who do not understand the complicated immigration system to make it happen. If you or a family member live in San Antonio, TX or the surround areas, and find you are in this type of situation, it is best to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer about your case.
Immigration attorneys are on your side to protect your legal rights and get you the best possible outcome.
Role of the Immigration Law Attorney in San Antonio
The need for an immigration law attorney is determined by your reasons for wanting to enter the US and your background.
An immigration law firm can help you along in your process by collecting records, preparing documents, planning your legal strategy, researching immigration law, and conferring with government agencies on your behalf. Ultimately, these attorneys do all that while focused on meeting your U.S. citizenship and immigration process goals. The immigration lawyer is on your side and represents your best interests.
You might choose to work with an immigration attorney and law firm in San Antonio because you are frustrated and overwhelmed by the green card process or trying to bring your loved one to the United States. Working with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be a long and confusing process, but an experienced immigration attorney can help make the process as smooth as possible.
It is especially important to contact an immigration law firm in San Antonio before submitting an application if:
- You’ve been cited, arrested, charged, or convicted of any crime. Most immigration forms ask you about your criminal history and every immigration process will require you to be fingerprinted to run a background check before granting any benefit. Many criminal offenses can result in denial of your application or being placed in deportation proceedings.
- Your prior applications have all been denied. An immigration law firm can help you figure out why and assist you with appeals or refiling.
- You’ve attempted the process yourself and can’t figure out where to go next. Ultimately, the immigration process is complicated and people often find themselves hiring an immigration lawyer because they are frustrated and cannot interpret the law on their own. Hiring an immigration lawyer can help make your process move much more smoothly than attempting it on your own.
- You’ve been deported or forced to leave the US. Though you may have been removed, that doesn’t necessarily result in a permanent bar to becoming an immigrant again or gaining residency. The right law firm can help.
- You have a communicable disease. While some diseases require a permanent bar to U.S. visas, not all of them do. Contact an immigration law firm for assistance.
- Your marriage to a citizen failed before you could file the petition to have the condition removed from residency, and you have to file it alone. The procedures for waiving joint petitions are challenging, especially when a former spouse and his family aren’t going to provide evidence that the marriage was legitimate. The right law firm can benefit you with immigration concerns.
- You’re immigrating with your family and have a child that might reach 21 years of age before permanent residence status is granted. If you’re obtaining a green card through a petition for yourself, your spouse and children under 21 are also eligible to receive green cards. However, if you have a child who might be over 21 before the process is complete, you should consult with an immigration attorney to decide the best course of action to make sure your child can immigrate with you.
Notario – Should You Use Them?
If you want to change your immigration status or wish to immigrate to the US, you may want to get legal assistance in San Antonio. You may find immigration consultants who often make false promises on how they can assist you with your case. Many people turn to notarios because they speak Spanish, charge less than most attorneys, and are readily available in Texas.
What Are They and why do they have a bad reputation?
Notario is a Spanish term meaning a notary public. In the US, this person is authorized to serve as a witness to you signing a document but is not legally qualified to represent you. However, in some other countries, these people have a license to practice law and represent clients in various legal matters.
Notario immigration fraud happens frequently. They typically become a licensed notary public but falsely claim that they can practice immigration law within the US. Since most immigrants don’t know any different, they often end up losing money and getting bad legal advice that can affect the outcome of their case.
Even if the notario means well, they may end up hurting your case. They may not know enough about immigration law or file the documents incorrectly. Sometimes, they take your money without doing anything. If you receive the wrong assistance, you could have unnecessary fees, the application could be delayed, and you may be deported.
An immigration lawyer is someone who is certified by the State to practice law and is required to uphold a certain code of conduct and remain up to date on the law. Choosing the right law firm is the first step on your journey to immigrating to the US.
Who Can Legally Help You
Though immigrants don’t have to be represented by an attorneys, the immigration law are highly complicated. Therefore, it’s best to get competent legal advice before you submit any paperwork to USCIS. Who should you choose? There are only two categories to legally help you:
- Attorneys who are fully licensed to practice law within your state
- Accredited representatives and organizations that are recognized by the BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals).
Avoiding a Scam
Once you’ve got an accredited representative or attorney for your immigration case, follow these tips to avoid a scam:
- Be wary of guarantees for specific benefits (green card or visa)
- Know that USCIS doesn’t charge fees to download forms
- Understand what you’re signing before putting your signature on any document
- Don’t sign a blank form
- Double-check the filing fees, which correspond with USCIS’s list
- Request receipts for payments made to the attorney
- Keep a copy of every document and form summited
- Keep correspondence and receipts from the attorney and USCIS
Documents You Can Show the Attorney When Applying for Citizenship
After obtaining permanent residence, many immigrants look forward to applying for U.S. citizenship. This process can be very overwhelming for most people. Just the documentation alone is time-consuming and difficult to handle. Your immigration law firm attorney can help you figure out which documents are needed for your case and answer your questions. This is a sample list of items you may need to file, but they don’t apply in all situations:
- Permanent resident card (Green card)
- Two passport photos of yourself
- Documents showing any name changes
- Marriage certificate (current)
- Copies of your tax returns for the last three to five years
- Proof of maintenance of the residence for trips abroad that last six months or more
- Evidence that you’re complying with child and spousal support orders (canceled checks, auto withholding, etc.)
- Copy of the court disposition for detentions or arrests made by law enforcement officers
- Sentencing records for any convictions and evidence that you completed it
- Court orders setting aside, vacating, expunging, or disposing of a conviction or arrest
- Form N-648 for disability issues
Benefits of Hiring a Law Firm
Though the immigration laws were put into place to keep residents safer, there are plenty of strict laws and confusion to go around. Your immigration case and applications need to be straight-forward and include the best evidence in your support, and an attorney can assist you with this.
Whether you’re filing appeals or this is your first go-round with the government, now is the time to hire an attorney.
There are plenty of immigration issues to consider, and legal matters should always be handled by the right law firm. Since the immigration process is so complex, you need the right team behind you to present your case. Immigration lawyers can help you avoid mistakes to prevent you from being denied, having to appeal, or end up in deportation proceedings.
Lawyers who practice immigration law know the challenges you face. Get a free consult over the phone today.
Permanent residence and citizenship are your goal. Legal problems relating to immigration law are confusing and troublesome. Don’t risk denial or deportation by going it alone or not taking time to choose the right legal services for you and your family. Contact an immigration lawyer today to find out what services they offer or get help with your current legal status.