Tips for preparing for your first immigration consultation
This is the second part of a series that will cover legal immigration advice. This article will cover 10 Tips to Help You Prepare for Your First Consultation With an immigration consultation Lawyer. As you start your research, the first post will highlight some things to watch out for. The third post will outline questions that you should ask your lawyer in order to determine if they are the right match.
Before meeting with potential attorneys, prepare in advance. These are the steps to take:
Ask for referrals to lawyers. Reach out to family, friends, and colleagues. They might be able to recommend someone who has hired an immigration attorney, even if they don’t know anyone. Ask the person if they would recommend this attorney. Ask for more than one recommendation if possible. Before you decide on whom to hire, it is a good idea to interview multiple attorneys. The website of the state bar can help you find licensed local immigration lawyers. Do not hire an immigration lawyer who is merely there to solicit business. This is illegal.
Make copies of all documents that are relevant to your case. This includes your passport, birth certificate, visas, or visa applications, passports and marriage certificates. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and all documents that you received when you entered the United States.
Bring copies of any court and police documents if you have a criminal history. This information should not be hidden. U.S. immigration authorities are likely to take your fingerprints. Your past crimes will be revealed, and you could lose your case if you lie.
Note important dates, events, and circumstances. This includes why you left your home country and whether you have a sponsor here. For example, if you are applying for asylum, make sure to note the dates and names of perpetrators and victims. Any witnesses you may have on your behalf should be included.
Complete any forms that the lawyer may have provided to gather basic information. If requested, bring it along to the meeting.
To avoid any mistakes or unexpected surprises, give the attorney as much detail as you can. All details about your case, whether good or not, should be shared with the attorney. All information you share with your attorney will remain confidential. But, your attorney should not expect you to lie.
- When you visit an attorney, write down any questions. (We’ll be covering questions to ask in a future blog.)
- Ask the attorney if he or she can speak your language if you are unsure about your English language skills. Ask the attorney if you can bring someone to translate.
- Find out if the attorney charges for the initial meeting. To pay the attorney, you will need a checkbook or credit card.
Your attorney should be completely open with you. The law of immigration is complicated and can lead to many pitfalls. You could miss an opportunity or end up in a position you didn’t intend. All information shared with an attorney is confidential.
Here are five tips to help you prepare for your first immigration consultation
Know your Objectives
You should bring a clear understanding of your goals and objectives to an immigration consultation. Do you want to save a family member from being deported? Do you want to obtain a green card for your family member? Do you need to deal with employment immigration matters? It doesn’t matter what your specific circumstances are, it is important that you know your goals.
Bring all of your official immigration consultation documentation
Are you a holder of any immigration documents? Bring any documents that you have obtained from immigration to your first consultation. You may also want to bring:
- A passport;
- Your birth certificate
- I-94 arrival documents;
- Any application you filed;
- Any immigration orders/notices
- Any other documents that might be relevant
- It is always better to have more documentation. It is worth taking the time to organize all your records and documents.
Notify important information, such as dates and events.
Noting any important dates and events can be a great idea. Again, the more information you can provide, the easier it is for an immigration lawyer Los Angeles to give you effective and immediate legal guidance. You should provide as much detail as you can if you have to deal with a sensitive matter.
Bring a list of questions
A consultation with an immigration attorney is a great way to ask your most pressing questions. It is a good idea to ask questions of your attorney ahead of time. Ask questions about your case, the background of your attorney, your legal rights and your immigration options. Many misconceptions and myths surround U.S. immigration law. Answering your questions can provide clarity and help alleviate anxiety.
Be open and honest
It is crucial to be honest with your attorney regarding immigration matters. The initial consultation is confidential. Information you share will not be shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or any other government agency. Your Los Angeles immigration lawyer will need to understand the entire context of your case in order to provide you with reliable legal guidance.