Nov 28, 2019 09:33 PM EST

When Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer?

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When Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer?

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Immigration attorneys work with clients who are seeking green cards (permanent resident status), visas, or U.S. citizenship. You should seek an immigration attorney before your arrival to the U.S. to ensure that you understand your length of stay, what activities you're allowed to engage in, and other details about your immigration status.

To Fill Out Applications or Forms

This is incredibly a vital part of an attorney's job. Filling out paperwork incorrectly can be costly both in terms of time and money. But far more grave, filling out forms incorrectly can lead to possible deportation hearings and removal from the United States.

Canceled Without Prejudice

If there's been a minor mistake in your paperwork, then it must be corrected before it can be approved. The U.S. embassy or consulate will stamp your visa as "canceled without prejudice" if this is the case.

Grounds of Deportability

Section 237 of The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) specifies the legal grounds on which people in the United States can be deported. These are called the Grounds of Deportability. Before you arrive in the U.S. you want to be absolutely clear what they are and how to avoid them.

To Be Sure What You Should Apply For

There are many options for visas, such as work, student and tourist visas. There are also multiple options for green cards, such as employment-based green cards.

All of the immigration forms can be found online. Along with a description of each form is a checklist of who qualifies to apply under that category, such as the H-2B Visa for Temporary Nonagricultural Workers. Applicants for such a visa have to meet the criteria clearly listed online. However, it's not advisable to fill out or submit any forms without speaking to an immigration attorney. While it may look straightforward online, immigration law is very complex. You may have to apply using a different form than you think.

Clarify Information Before Arriving

Immigration law is extremely complex. All too often visas are canceled due to paperwork errors or confusion on the part of the person applying. For example, some visitors to the U.S. confuse their departure date with their expiration date. The date you must leave the country is specified on your Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. The expiration date is actually the last day that you can use the visa at any U.S. entry point. So, for example, if you go on a cruise and confuse the dates, and get off at a port of call, then you may have difficulty getting back on board. The best thing is to contact an attorney before having any possible mishaps.

Does It Matter Where My Immigration Attorney Is?

Immigration law is federal, so any U.S. immigration attorney can assist you. The only requirement is that they need to be a member of the bar of the District of Columbia or a U.S. state, commonwealth, possession or territory. It doesn't matter what bar they are a member of, they just have to be one.

However, your attorney does have to abide by the interpretation of the law by the local circuit court. It would be better to hire someone in the area where you are looking for immigration services, though it is certainly not required. If you are looking for an attorney then you can find more information here

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