When Should You Hire an Immigration Attorney?
From time to time I am asked by a potential client whether they need a lawyer to do their immigration paperwork or if they can do it themselves and save the money they would spend on attorney’s fees. My answer is always different based on the circumstances of the case. There certainly are times where I think an applicant can apply by themselves, and times where I think they need a lawyer to handle their case for them. I am always honest with the applicant about whether I think they can do it for themselves. I am financially successful enough as a lawyer that I don’t need everyone who comes to see me to hire me. That makes it a lot easier to tell people the truth about their cases, especially when they don’t need my services. Beware of lawyers who tell you that you need an attorney for your case before hearing anything about the facts of your case.
That being said, people hire me to handle their immigration cases for various reasons. Sometimes their case is very complicated and they need someone who is familiar with immigration law to improve their chances of success in their case. Sometimes they hire me simply out of convenience because they just don’t want to bother with learning everything about their case and filling out all the forms. And sometimes I get hired because having me as their attorney removes one more worry from their mind. I frequently compare myself to a car mechanic when a client asks me whether they need my help. Everyone could probably learn how to fix their own car and save the money they would spend on a mechanic, and many people do, but the ones that take their car to a mechanic usually do it for the same reasons that people hire me to fix their immigration papers.
Lawyers Improve Your Chance For Approval in I-601A Cases
One area where I believe that it is usually better to hire an immigration attorney is when it comes to the I-601A Provisional Waiver for Unlawful Presence. DHS recently released statistics about the number of I-601A cases approved and denied. Since it’s inception in 2013, the USCIS has approved about 75% of I-601A waivers and denied 25%. The approval rate so far in 2016 is 81% and the approval rate in 2015 was 74%. DHS doesn’t release statistics about which of the cases were represented by an attorney, but these cases are complicated, they take a lot of hours to put together a strong case, and having a lawyer probably increases your chance of approval. Since the I-601A program started in 2013, I’ve submitted more than 100 I-601A waiver applications and my approval rate is over 90%, about 15% higher than the national average. This improved chance of getting your waiver approved is the reason why I think it’s generally better to hire an attorney for the I-601A Provisional Waiver. However, you can always come by and see me and I’ll give you my honest opinion about whether it’s better to have an attorney for your case.