Many people who just arrive in the United States are faced with complex legislation relating to their ability to stay in the country. Immigration laws are not easy to understand, and only a trained immigration lawyer will be able to assist you. Be wary of people who hold themselves out to be something they are not. Look for a lawyer that has your welfare at heart first and foremost.
You want a lawyer that talks to you like you are a person with a problem they can solve. You are not a number, and your concerns and fears are important in dealing with your case. A good lawyer is able to convey to their client that their case is vitally important to them and that they understand how important it is to you.
Choosing a good immigration lawyer is not always easy, as there are many who would masquerade as being knowledgeable in the area, but aren't. Those who aren't fully trained will offer costly advice that might not be correct, and may actually set your immigration application or petition back months.
When looking for a qualified immigration lawyer, there are certain things you should look for right away. The first one is that the lawyer is actually licensed to practice in a US jurisdiction and is in good standing with the State Bar. As odd as that may sound, it's happened that immigrants have dealt with lawyers not licensed to practice in the US nor in good standing. This is a costly waste of time and money, since they have no authority to do anything on your behalf.
Choose an honest lawyer with integrity, a good reputation and one that is highly ethical. You can find this out by asking for references, and if they don't give you references, go find another lawyer. Find out if the lawyer you are considering primarily practices immigration law. If their focus is criminal or divorce law, another attorney had better serve you.
While talking with the lawyer you'd like to help you with your immigration application or appeal, find out if they know their stuff and are familiar with your type of case. You'll know this right away by the questions they ask you.
They should also give you a clear-cut answer on what it's going to cost you to deal with them. And last, but not least, they should not give you a guarantee of success but simply indicate they will work for you and with you to do the best they can given the system.
Although there is no specific requirement that immigration applications be prepared by a lawyer, attempting it on your own is a true recipe for disaster. Each case is individual and different laws apply. Unless you know them all, your application will get bogged down in the system and you may not be successful.
It's extremely important to note that in the United States a notary or notary public is usually not a legal professional, judge or lawyer unless they have completed the training for those positions. Most notaries are lay people or non-lawyers and cannot in all good conscience offer visa advice. Beware of people who have imaginative job titles, but don't really have the experience to back them up.
Sally Odell - Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit http://www.rifkinandfoxisicoff.com