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Do you need an immigration lawyer and how much does it cost

Many people may feel a shock when they find out the cost of the services of an immigration lawyer. But often the needs justify these costs. A lawyer will help you sort out a difficult situation, and this can mean the difference between deportation and legal residence in the United States. But not everyone needs the services of a lawyer. CitizenPath offers to figure out in what cases it is necessary and how much it can cost.

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Depending on how complex your case is, the cost of the services of an immigration lawyer will be calculated. If any of the following situations apply to you, consider contacting a lawyer.

Immigration violations

Previous violations of immigration laws are a good reason to contact an immigration lawyer. Examples of violations include entering the United States without verification, late visa, fraudulent marriage, and misleading previous statements. While immediate family members of US citizens can usually overcome visa delays without a lawyer, other relatives will need help. Depending on the nature of the violation, it can be very serious and lead to expulsion (deportation) from the United States. Therefore, investing in the services of an immigration attorney is a good idea.

Criminal offenses

Certain convictions can lead to the deportation of a non-citizen. This is true for permanent residents (green card holders) or other visa holders - no matter how long you have lived in America. There can be serious immigration consequences, including deportation, even if you have no criminal record. This is due to the fact that non-citizens can be deported or denied entry simply for certain types of behavior. For example, drug trafficking and prostitution, but other criminal activities can be just as problematic.

Here are the types of crimes that result in a non-citizen subject to deportation and / or recognition as prohibited from entry.

For crimes against morality, they are deported if:

  • conviction occurs within five years of entering the United States, and a sentence of at least one year may be imposed;
  • conviction occurs for two or more crimes of this nature.

You can become banned from entry for such crimes if only one sentence has been passed with a maximum sentence of one year or less and the actual sentence of six months or less.

The reasons for deportation may be:

  • aggravated crimes;
  • crimes with the use of firearms;
  • crimes related to controlled substances;
  • domestic violence crimes.

The reason for being recognized as banned from entry may be:

  • crimes related to controlled substances;
  • multiple convictions with general imprisonment for at least five years.

It is important to note that the laws of each state are different. To understand how conviction in your state affects your immigration case, it is important to get an analysis from an experienced immigration attorney.

Other difficult situations

Sometimes there is just an unusual situation: for example, the case of a foreign diplomat changing his status for permanent residence, or the case of an applicant for naturalization with an alleged violation of the requirement of permanent residence. These circumstances are usually best handled by a professional lawyer and justify the cost of an immigration lawyer.

On the subject: What you need to know if you applied for asylum in the USA and ended up in an immigration court

The truth is, not all lawyers are created equal. As in any profession, there are good and different lawyers. Some of them practice in several areas at once. For example, a criminal or personal injury attorney can defend immigrants on the side of additional clients. Good immigration attorneys mainly focus on immigration matters. This is a complex branch of law. Therefore, the best lawyers tend to pay more attention to a few limited areas of immigration law, such as protection against deportation or political asylum. It is important to research who you are going to reach out to.

Immigration attorney fees

Lawyers can use different types of payment. Some may charge an hourly fee, while others may charge depending on the specific task (for example, applications for naturalization). After the first meeting, preliminary consultations and services can be provided. In addition, the lawyer will want to be compensated if any costs are incurred in the course of the work. Of course, no one wants to pay for the most expensive lawyer, but finding the cheapest one is probably not the best strategy either.

First consultation fee

Many lawyers will give you free or low-cost initial advice. The meeting can take place in the office, but these days it usually takes place online (Skype, Zoom, etc.) or by phone. The first consultation can last from 30 to 60 minutes. This gives you the opportunity to assess your chances of success and the credibility of a lawyer. For him, this is an opportunity to sell his services. Very often you can get your first consultation for $ 150 or even less. However, some lawyers choose to charge their usual rates.

On rare occasions, you may be able to resolve your issue at this first meeting. However, for most scenarios, the first consultation is a discussion of what the defender can do to help.

The cost of a lawyer

Once your lawyer determines the scope of the work and how he can help, you will pay an additional amount for these services. You will need to pay an hourly or fixed cost based on your agreement. There is a wide range of fees depending on the experience of your lawyer and the market. It's wise to ask around and call a few lawyers.

Here are some typical general immigration attorney fees:

  • Petition for a green card for relatives: from $ 1000 to $ 3500
  • Status Adjustment Application: $ 2000 to $ 5000
  • Citizenship / Naturalization Application: $ 500 to $ 2500
  • Green card renewal: from $ 300 to $ 700
  • Asylum application: $ 1000 to $ 7000
  • Deportation protection: $ 4000 to $ 12 (and higher if the case gets more complicated).

All of these estimates get more expensive if you have felonies or immigration violations. Of course, the listed costs of an immigration attorney do not include USCIS filing fees, which vary by form. The hourly cost of an immigration attorney is $ 150- $ 300.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York

Pro Bono, or Inexpensive Services

There are options for people with low or no income. Many licensed attorneys will volunteer their time for certain individuals who cannot afford to pay. You can find such legal defenders through American Association of Immigration Lawyers or Catholic Legal Immigration Network... There is also a directory for finding inexpensive legal services -

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