U.S. immigration laws and immigration forms are quite complex. U.S. Immigration and Citizenship (USCIS) forms come with detailed instructions. Yet, many find it difficult to complete them. People applying for green cards and other immigration benefits are not required to hire attorneys. But many believe that professional guidance will ensure that they file their forms successfully. Many applicants believe that immigration attorneys can save them time and money. This post will help such applicants decide whether they need the help of an immigration attorney to file their applications.
Filing immigration forms with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can seem overwhelming. Applicants who are not aware of immigration forms and applications may take more time to complete their forms. Some who fail to read the form instructions may not be aware of the supporting documents they will need to submit. In those cases, they may feel that they can save time if they have someone to help them with their forms. Immigration attorneys are likely to help them complete and file forms quickly. Attorneys may also provide information on the next steps their clients will need to take in their immigration journey.
But hiring a lawyer is quite expensive. At the same time, it is mandatory to make sure that the hired lawyer is not a scammer. There are many honest lawyers. There are also many who aim at cheating innocent people and extracting money from them. So it is mandatory to make sure that the applicants are hiring a real lawyer and not someone who will cheat them.
Immigration lawyers are those who have finished law school and passed the bar exams. Each state’s bar association will license only those who pass the bar exams. Generally, these lawyers are insured against malpractices. So if they do something wrong or something that hurts their clients, their insurance policies will compensate the clients.
Paralegals are those who have had training in legal paperwork. They hold certificates from the schools they studied in. They will have knowledge in filling out forms and the documents that need to be filed with the forms. Most paralegals take national exams and are members of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Like lawyers, these paralegals also will be insured against malpractices.
Accredited representatives are not lawyers or paralegals. They wouldn’t have gone to law schools or passed any exams. The Board of Immigration Appeals certifies them to represent immigrants in court. They are allowed to represent immigrants at immigration interviews. They mostly work for charity or for a reduced fee.
People looking for legal help need to be aware of notarios and immigration consultants. They are not lawyers, paralegals or representatives certified by any agency. They may call themselves lawyers or paralegals but may not have gone to schools or passed the required exams. People need to be aware of them as they will not have any legal education and have limited experience. Many notarios try to trick people and make them believe that they are lawyers.
Lawyers, accredited representatives and paralegals can help applicants prepare their paperwork. Attorneys and representatives can go with their clients to immigration-related interviews and court hearings but paralegals cannot. Paralegals can help with filing applications but cannot offer legal advice. Notarios and immigration consultants, who have not undergone legal training to complete paper work, cannot represent their clients in courts or at interviews. This information is for people who believe they may not be able to handle their immigration applications and look for attorneys who could help them. They must not fall prey to these notarios. Likewise, those who seek the help of attorneys believing that they can speed up the processing of their immigration applications must remember that no one can do so. USCIS will process applications in the order it received them and based on the type of application.
Almost all immigration applications and petitions come with detailed form instructions. Following those instructions will help applicants file their forms without help. Not all USCIS forms are complicated. Those who wish to file applications with USCIS without legal help can click here to take a look at the USCIS forms that come with step by step instructions and that can be filled out online.