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I am sometimes asked during immigration consultations with a potential new clients why they should hire me, instead of going through the process themselves. They say, “All of the forms are free on USCIS.gov! There are checklists I can pull off of the internet that tells me what I need! Why do I need to pay your fee to do it for me?”
Yes, it’s true that the forms are downloadable and USCIS has detailed instruction packets for each individual form. There are many resources for immigrants out there, from nonprofits to online forums for one to do their own research. However, it’s not as simple or easy as it appears on the face. Immigration laws are incredibly complicated (second only to tax law). Policies are constantly changing, often without very much notice. Interpretation of the laws and regulation can vary widely by immigration offices across the country. And often the USCIS instructions online are wrong. You are strongly disadvantaging yourself by choosing to go it alone without the guidance and support of an experienced immigration attorney.
I can best liken it to this analogy. Say while preparing dinner one evening and you cut yourself badly on your hand. You decide to put a few band-aids on it. But what if you really need stiches? By not getting professional medical advice, are you opening yourself up to pain, and risking infection and a bad scar? Definitely. For most, it’s a no-brainer that they would go to the local urgent care or emergency room to have the cut looked at and treated by a doctor.
The practice of immigration law is similar. On its face, the forms and instructions don’t seem all that complicated. When you factor in your immigration history, the evidence requested/required, and new USCIS policies, a simple form doesn’t at all indicate the process is straightforward and easy.
Sometimes during a consult I’ll hear, “but my brother-in-law’s cousin’s friend’s mom did the process by herself and it all turned out fine.” Some people are lucky. We’ve all got that one friend. But for the vast majority of us who have access to a hospital, we wouldn’t make that choice, we would get treated by a doctor. Someone who can anticipate any complications, ensure the process is smooth and pain-free, and that there is no lasting mark at the conclusion of the treatment.
A consultation with a lawyer is similar to that with a doctor. We are there to ask questions, assess your legal needs, and search for any possible complicating factors. Sometimes we have a straightforward case in front of us, and advice accordingly, and sometimes we find a few issues that will make a case more complicated. Such as a prior arrest or conviction, a denied visa or entry to the US, or failure to disclose family members on a prior application. All of these issues would need to be presented in a particular way, to ensure success on your case.
The first step in deciding to move forward with legal representation is to schedule a consultation. At the consultation you will meet one on one with the lawyer to discuss your case, answer the lawyer’s questions, and get a feel for how that lawyer will work and advocate for you, much like a doctor. Schedule your consultation with Bashyam Shah today to meet with one of our experienced lawyers who can assess your case and present you with your options.