An immigration lawyer is an expert in the governmental policies that govern the immigration of persons into the country. Immigration laws govern the legal status of people who are not citizens of the country in which they reside. These laws are constantly in flux, changing along with the political climate of the times. Because these laws are constantly changing, immigration specialists are constantly keeping themselves updated.
Immigration law is highly complex. As politics dictate, laws and restrictions are constantly being added, amended, and removed. Some experts have stated that the immigration code is even more complex than the tax code. There are many different types of visas, passports, and citizenship cards each with different requirements and restrictions. The application procedures are very paperwork intensive with specific filing deadlines.
Hiring a good immigration lawyer can make all the difference in your case. Unfortunately, hiring a shady immigration attorney will have the opposite effect. They can charge excessive immigration lawyer fees and fail to provide the level of service you need, causing irreparable damage to your case. There are many lawyers who are out to make a quick buck by taking advantage of immigrants. Language barriers can make it even easier for them to score a quick shady buck. Following some simple tips can protect you and your case.
Some of these lawyers prowl the corridors of immigration offices looking for business. Avoid these attorneys at all cost. This method of finding clients is considered unethical by all bar associations. Also, a lawyer who is worth the money will be too busy working with clients to be soliciting business in this manner. Also, make sure the person you are dealing with is in fact a lawyer. Some people who hold themselves out to be immigration experts are not qualified to represent you in court. These people refer to themselves as visa consultants. Though perhaps well meaning, they are not familiar enough with the complexities of the immigration process to offer competent assistance. They are really little more than a bilingual typing service that fills the forms out for you. In some cases, they are true charlatans who will take your money and run.
Any attorney, no matter the circumstance, that asks you to be untruthful on a form or application should be summarily dismissed. Also, anyone who asks you to provide them with money to bribe an official should be avoided and reported to the bar association. Offering such a bribe can permanently damage your ability to achieve citizenship, if that is your goal, and will likely get you deported while the attorney simply has to pay a fine or spend a few months in jail.
It is relatively easy to find a competent immigration attorney, and to avoid a bad one. There are many places on the internet to find information on an attorney. If online reviews for a particular attorney only list his arrests and sanctions, then that lawyer must be avoided. There are many community resources available to help immigrants, and they have access to the names and contact information for lawyers with a proven track record.
As with hiring any professional service, hiring an immigration lawyer should include speaking to more than one before making a decision. Make sure you feel comfortable with an attorney before hiring them. Check their references, and make sure their reputation is solid. Most good lawyers are very busy, but their office staff should be available to spend time with your and help you assess your situation. Immigration is a highly specialized and complex area of the law. Hiring a specialist will dramatically increase your chances of a positive result.