Benefits of getting an immigration lawyer Utah.

Attoryney Greg Smith talking on mic

Immigration laws frequently change. The laws can be loosened or made to be stricter, depending on the political climate. Because the laws fluctuate with lawmakers’ preferences, the steps to become a citizen or legal resident in Utah can be a challenge. Immigration lawyer Utah can help clients navigate this process.

The Process Can Be Lengthy. It may take years before a person is able to secure his or her citizenship. Many times, immigration laws mandate how long a person must live and work in a country before he or she can apply for citizenship. That individual may even be required to pass a language and citizenship test to demonstrate his or her cultural proficiency. Even so, a person’s immigration attorney will remain by that person’s side and guide the client on how to pass these tests and prove that this person is worthy of citizenship.

Your attorney can also help you complete and submit all necessary applications, while your government agency usually will not and cannot. They are typically only allowed to offer generalized instructions on the completion of applications, which can make the process frustrating and unnecessarily difficult. This means valuable insights can fall between the cracks of what they can and cannot tell you. Another good thing to know is that they are in no way liable for any misinformation that might accidentally get passed on as the result of law modifications. By having someone ensure that the documents are done right at the onset of your case, you can minimize future delays.

Attorneys may be able to appeal denied applications. If a person’s application is denied, he or she may wish to file an appeal. That person’s lawyer can file the necessary paperwork and perhaps even halt the client’s being deported out of the country until the appeal has been decided. The appeal process might take several weeks or months; however, during that time, attorneys help their clients prepare for their appearances before the court.

Regardless of the outcome, Lawyers are there to Help. Whether a person’s application is denied or approved, the client’s immigration attorney is there to assist that person. Many times, people are confused about the best decisions to make. Their emotions may cloud their judgment. Attorneys help these individuals make the best decisions possible during the entire process.


At times you can be faced with immigration disputes, and this is the best time to have an immigration lawyer Utah by your side. This is because they are trained to have your best interests at hand, and know all the resources, both legal and otherwise, to help you through this trying time. In issues as important as citizenship, choosing the right support can make all the difference.

With immigration attorney Greg Smith & Associates in Salt Lake City, your case can be reviewed to see what type of benefits and assistance that you qualify for. This means that you have access to referrals that will help you through this process. You might even luck upon agencies or associations that assist in helping you get settled once your case has resolution.

You may also find that your immigration lawyer Utah knows of a better way for you to approach your circumstances. There might be other options in obtaining legal access that were overlooked. By staying constantly abreast of new additions and changes within immigration laws, your attorney is the best person to analyze your options.

Your safest bet at obtaining a successful resolution to your case is enlisting the assistance in someone who specializes in circumstances like yours. An immigration lawyer is trained to spot out the best avenue for your specific needs. Getting the right assistance during a difficult time often means obtaining the right results as well.


When you hire a good immigration attorney, you can make sure that you get the best legal advice from a person who knows everything and can help you follow everything according to the rules when you apply for citizenship in Utah. Even if you commit a violation, the attorneys can help you out in some way as they have the means and the right knowledge needed to defend you.

Even if the immigration lawyers guides you on everything you need to successfully migrate, you should still have the knowledge about the various rules and regulations so you are not fully dependent upon the lawyers. You should know what to do and what you shouldn’t. The immigration rules of the Utah are very strict and hiring a good lawyer can go a long way in getting your application approved for citizenship or immigrant status.

How immigration has changed the world – for the better

Is immigration good or bad? Some argue that immigrants flood across borders, steal jobs, are a burden on taxpayers, and threaten indigenous culture. Others say the opposite: that immigration boosts economic growth, meets skill shortages and helps create a more dynamic society.

The evidence clearly shows that immigrants provide significant economic benefits. However, there are local and short-term economic and social costs. As with debates on trade, where protectionist instincts tend to overwhelm the longer-term need for more open societies, the core role that immigrants play in economic development is often overwhelmed by defensive measures to keep immigrants out. A solution needs to be found through policies that allow the benefits to compensate for the losses.

Around the world, there are an estimated 230 million migrants, making up about 3% of the global population. This share has not changed much in the past 100 years. But as the world’s population has quadrupled, so too has the number of migrants. And since the early 1900s, the number of countries has increased from 50 to over 200. More borders mean more migrants.

Of the global annual flow of around 15 million migrants, most fit into one of four categories: economic (6 million), student (4 million), family (2 million), and refugee/asylum (3 million). There are about 20 million officially recognized refugees worldwide, with 86% of them hosted by neighboring countries, up from 70% 10 years ago.

In the US, over a third of documented immigrants are skilled. Similar trends exist in Europe. These percentages reflect the needs of those economies. Governments that are more open to immigration assist their country’s businesses, which become more agile, adaptive, and profitable in the war for talent. Governments in turn receive more revenue and citizens thrive on the dynamism that highly-skilled migrants bring.

Yet it is not only higher-skilled migrants who are vital. In the USA and elsewhere, unskilled immigrants are an essential part of the construction, agriculture, and services sector.

If immigrants play such a vital role, why is there so much concern?

Some believe that immigrants take jobs and destroy economies. Evidence proves this wrong. In the United States, immigrants have been founders of companies such as Google, Intel, PayPal, eBay, and Yahoo! In fact, skilled immigrants account for over half of Silicon Valley start-ups and over half of patents, even though they make up less than 15% of the population. There have been three times as many immigrant Nobel Laureates, National Academy of Science members, and Academy Award film directors as the immigrant share of the population would predict. Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco concluded that “immigrants expand the economy’s productive capacity by stimulating investment and promoting specialization, which produces efficiency gains and boosts income per worker”.

Research on the net fiscal impact of immigration shows that immigrants contribute significantly more in taxes than the benefits and services they receive in return. According to the World Bank, increasing immigration by a margin equal to 3% of the workforce in developed countries would generate global economic gains of $356 billion. Some economists predict that if borders were completely open and workers were allowed to go where they pleased, it would produce gains as high as $39 trillion for the world economy over 25 years.

In the future, it will become even more imperative to ensure a strong labor supply augmented by foreign workers. Globally, the population is aging. There were only 14 million people over the age of 80 living in 1950. There are well over 100 million today and current projections indicate there will be nearly 400 million people over 80 by 2050. With fertility collapsing to below replacement levels in all regions except Africa, experts are predicting rapidly rising dependency ratios and a decline in the OECD workforce from around 800 million to close to 600 million by 2050. The problem is particularly acute in North America, Europe, and Japan.

There are, however, legitimate concerns about large-scale migration. The possibility of social dislocation is real. Just like globalization – a strong force for good in the world – the positive aspects are diffuse and often intangible, while the negative aspects bite hard for a small group of people.

Yes, those negative aspects must be managed. But that management must come with the recognition that migration has always been one of the most important drivers of human progress and dynamism. Immigration is good. And in the age of globalization, barriers to migration pose a threat to economic growth and sustainability. Free migration, like totally free trade, remains a utopian prospect, even though within regions (such as Europe) this has proved workable.

As John Stuart Mill forcefully argued, we need to ensure that the local and short-term social costs of immigration do not detract from their role “as one of the primary sources of progress”.

The Advantages of Family-Based Immigration

The Advantages of Family-Based Immigration | American Immigration Council

Since the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965, legal immigration to the United States has been based primarily on the family ties or the work skills of prospective immigrants. Under the provisions of current immigration law, the family-based immigration category allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs), or “green card” holders, to bring certain family members to the United States. There are 480,000 family-based visas available every year. Family-based immigrants are admitted to the U.S. either as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or through the family preference system.

The contributions of family-based immigrants to the U.S. economy, local communities, and the national fabric are manifold. They account for a significant portion of domestic economic growth, contribute to the well-being of the current and future labor force, play a key role in business development and community improvement, and are among the most upwardly mobile segments of the labor force. This fact sheet provides an overview of the economic and social advantages associated with family-based immigration. In particular, it highlights the direct benefits resulting from the participation of family-based immigrants in the labor force, their contributions to the community, and the key—yet often underestimated—the value of the unpaid care work provided by immigrant women.

1. Families are crucial to the social and economic incorporation of newcomers.

Because of the overall lack of explicit public policies for the integration of new immigrants, families and ethnic communities have traditionally acted, together with the workplace, as powerful integrating institutions. In particular, ethnic communities and families operate as sources of critical resources for newcomers, including opportunities for employment, access to credit, and different kinds of support. In other words, when newcomers arrive on a family-based visa, they have resources readily available to help them navigate the system and become employed or start their own businesses.

2. Family-based immigration has a positive impact on business development and community improvement.

Family ties facilitate the formation of immigrant communities which, in turn, offer a fertile environment for the development of businesses. In this regard, “case-study evidence finds that extended immigrant families and close-knit immigrant communities ease the economic assimilation of new immigrants and promote investment in U.S. human capital as well as the formation of businesses.”

Many of the most outstanding high technology firms have been created by foreign-born entrepreneurs. In Silicon Valley, an icon of high-tech innovation, more than half of new companies were started by immigrants, many of whom came to the country on family-based visas. As Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) asserted during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, “I often say I am glad that Google is in Mountain View rather than Moscow. Like eBay, Intel, and Yahoo!, Google was founded by an immigrant. But it’s worth noting that none of the founders of these companies came to the U.S. because of their skills.”

Because they recognize the value that immigrant families may have in the revitalization of rundown neighborhoods, local governments in several cities—including BaltimoreBostonDetroit, and Dayton—have launched programs designed to attract immigrants and promote their economic potential. In fact, so-called “ethnic neighborhoods” (e.g., Little Italy, Chinatown) have long been used in revitalization strategies in most major American cities.The Advantages of Family-Based Immigration

3. Immigrants who come to the country on a family-based visa tend to move up the socio-economic ladder.

The initial differences in earnings between family-based and employment-based immigrants tend to narrow dramatically over time. Despite concerns about the supposedly lower productivity of kinship-based immigrants in the U.S. labor market, it has been shown that “nonoccupation-based immigration, most of which is family-based, is associated with lower entry earnings but higher earnings growth than occupation-based immigration. The higher estimated earnings growth is sufficient for nonoccupation-based immigrants to catch up with occupationally admitted immigrants after eleven to eighteen years in the United States.”

New immigrants—the majority of whom enter the United States on family visas—have become the most upwardly mobile of American workers. This is explained by their high rates of post-immigration human capital investment. This benefits not only immigrants but also the economy at large.

4. Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who immigrate under the family fourth-preference visa category tend to experience high rates of self-employment and high earnings growth.

Empirical research on the economic benefits of immigrants admitted as siblings of U.S. citizens has shown that there are not only humanitarian but economic reasons to keep this category. In particular, fourth-preference admissions are positively associated with immigrant self-employment. Immigrants who are admitted as siblings of U.S. citizens tend also to have higher initial earnings than family-admitted immigrants in general. In addition, immigrant groups with higher fourth-preference admissions appear to experience higher earnings growth over time. These results further suggest that any proposal to remove the sibling admission category would be counter-productive.

5. Family admissions are critical for the “care economy,” which is fundamental for the well-being of household members, helps sustain the current and future workforce, and facilitates women’s labor force participation.

  • Unpaid health and child care provided in the household largely by immigrant women contribute to the physical, cognitive, and emotional development of household members. Those contributions are instrumental not only to individual well-being but also to the human development of the country.
  • Because unpaid household and community activities are performed outside the market, they are largely invisible in economic statistics. Groups such as the Pan American Health Organization and the International Labour Organization have highlighted the importance of recognizing the role of unpaid work in the household and the community.
  • Immigrant women who perform their work in the domestic sphere help sustain the current workforce, raise the future workforce, care for the elderly and sick, and play a critical role in household well-being. Their contributions to the economy are, therefore, not only immediate but will be felt in the future.
  • The economic value of unpaid work performed by immigrants represents a very large portion of the gross domestic product. In particular, “the statistics on time use in different countries suggest that unpaid work contributes to well-being, human capacity building, and long‑term economic growth while accounting for the highest number of working hours, which may represent over 50 percent of the gross domestic product.”
  • Immigrant women’s participation in the labor force is facilitated by the presence in the home of other relatives. In other words, when other family members (such as parents or siblings) can take care of everyday household needs, women are more likely to participate in the labor market. Family-admitted immigrants who can provide care for the children or the elderly at home are, therefore, valuable asset for women who work for a salary.

Moving away from the false “brain versus blood” dichotomy

Family and skill-based immigration should not be viewed as mutually exclusive. In fact, if a less family-friendly admission policy were to be adopted, the United States might become less attractive to highly skilled immigrants, who also have families. As economist Harriet Duleep has noted:

“Family visas are…an important complement to high-skilled visas; skilled immigrants have families too. In considering which country to move to, will an emigrating scientist be more likely to move to a country where his family members, including siblings, parents, and adult children, can also live, or to a country where only certain family members are welcome? Would Einstein have continued to live in the U.S. had he not been able to bring over his sister Maja? A family-friendly policy may be one reason the U.S. has been able to attract immigrants with stellar qualifications.”

The concept of family reunification is deeply rooted in American values. However, the positive implications of family-based immigration are not only humanitarian but also economic.


You’re facing divorce and it feels like your world is upside down. Your financial future’s at stake and if you have children, so is your future with them. The last thing you need is a divorce attorney who’s more interested in profit than your best interest.

A How-To Checklist for Hiring a Divorce Attorney in Connecticut

Determining whether your attorney is trustworthy can be difficult, especially at the outset, because you’ve never been through a divorce before and you don’t know what to expect.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should bury your head in the sand and hope for the best. There are some steps you can take and questions you can ask to assess whether a particular divorce attorney is someone you can actually trust.

1. Research the attorney online

There’s a wealth of information online about attorneys. It’s more difficult than ever to inconspicuously provide poor quality service. That’s because anyone after a miserable experience can hop online and warn their fellow consumers through reviews.

If the attorney’s a fraud, or maybe pretty sound at practicing law, but delivers terrible service, chances are people will post negative reviews about it. Google the lawyer’s name followed by “lawyer reviews” and you’ll see a number of directories on which people who have used the attorney may have left some feedback.

You can also ask around. Word of mouth is important on both ends of the spectrum: for positive and negative information. You may be able to contact someone who’s used the attorney.

Take advantage of the fact that it’s easier than ever to obtain information from third parties about the attorney. Consider that information carefully before making a decision.

2. Beware of being pressured to sign up.

Questions you have to consider about attorneys if you want a divorce | Jay Hait | The Blogs

Attorney’s should have your best interest as a priority. It’s not in your best interest to be pressured into hiring an attorney. If it feels like the attorney is a little too desperate to sign up for you, that’s a red flag. Of course, there are some cases in which time is of the essence and it’s the attorney’s obligation to inform you of that.

But that’s not what we’re talking about here. You know that feeling when the person trying to sell you something is pushing instead of educating? If you get that sense, step back and don’t make a rash decision.

3. If the attorney is encouraging you to make emotion-based decisions, run!

Divorce can be difficult. And of course, it’s not uncommon for emotions to run high. However, if the attorney is using your emotions to try to convince you to take certain steps in the case that are not grounded in sound logic and reason, that’s a sign the attorney is more interested in your money than your interests.

One way to put yourself in a better position to detect this is to educate yourself on divorce at the outset. No need to go into this blind. There’s a wealth of information online about divorce. Learn about it. Ask a lot of questions.

Also, if the attorney’s taking the case in a direction that doesn’t feel right, you can consult with another attorney. Sometimes having another professional re-assess a case for you can shed some light on an issue. And it may give you the information you need to determine if your attorney’s leading you astray.

4. Don’t tolerate poor communication.

Tips to Help You Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer in Connecticut

The fact that many attorneys are poor at communication is a running joke. You leave a message and no one gets back to you for a couple of weeks because the lawyer’s “busy.” Nonsense! Poor communication results in information falling through the cracks, which compromises the lawyer’s ability to represent you effectively. Your information, goals, priorities are all lost in the shuffle if there isn’t a good client communication system in place at the firm.

It’s particularly troublesome when the communication is poor at the outset of the representation. If they’re not paying attention to you now, what makes you think things will get better going forward?

5. Be wary of attorneys that make no effort to compromise.

There’s generally give and take in divorce. Of course, the attorney should be looking out for your best interest and fighting to get you the best result.

But if the attorney has no flexibility and is making no effort to resolve the case, it may be that the attorney’s priority is making some extra money. Generally, if the case is resolved efficiently, the divorce lawyer is paid less. If your attorney is prolonging the case with no good explanation, you need to be asking more questions.

Attorneys have different styles and different personalities (they’re people too!). So understand that not everything about the lawyer or the firm will necessarily be perfect. However, if you keep in mind the principles above, you’ll be well on your way to sniffing out a fraud. Divorce can be expensive. If you hire someone who’s putting your interests on the back burner, it can be even more expensive, and frustrating.

Contact us for more information.

When You Really Need an Immigration Lawyer

Are you looking for someone to take your side in matters concerning immigrating to the United States or avoiding deportation from the country? An immigration lawyer is an independent practitioner (unconnected to the U.S. immigration authorities) who helps clients deal with a wide range of issues relating to visas, green cards, U.S. citizenship, and other immigration benefits.

The Top 6 Reasons Why You Need To Hire An Immigration Lawyer - Business  Partner Magazine

When Don’t You Need an Immigration Lawyer?

Not all immigration issues require consultation with an immigration lawyer. For example, if you merely wish to visit the United States for a vacation, and are sure you will be ready to return in 90 days, you might not require any visa at all, but could (if you’re from one of the countries on the list) travel on the Visa Waiver Program.

However, U.S. immigration law is incredibly complex. In many cases, hiring an attorney can save you time, aggravation, and even money (in cases where you might have to redo an application done incorrectly the first time or defend yourself in removal proceedings after an application goes seriously wrong).

When You Do Need to Call an Immigration Lawyer

You will definitely want to consult with an attorney who practices immigration law if:

  • you are uncertain about your basic eligibility for a green card or another immigration benefit
  • you have received government assistance while living in the U.S. or are concerned that you might be inadmissible for some other reason
  • you are requesting any sort of discretionary relief, such as asylum or a waiver, which involves persuading the immigration authorities to make an exception or offer you benefits that it might not ordinarily offer to another applicant in your position
  • you are finding it difficult to obtain a USCIS green card, citizenship, or another immigration benefit; perhaps you have been asked to supply additional evidence
  • you need emergency help with an immigration matter
  • you have been notified that deportation or removal proceedings are being started against you
  • you have been deported from the U.S. and wish to apply to return
  • you have had an immigration application refused or denied in the past
  • you have been convicted of a criminal offense or have committed a criminal offense and are trying to enter the U.S. or protect yourself from removal from the U.S.
  • you are planning to move to the U.S. to work for a U.S. employer and it has not assisted you with the immigration process
  • you have looked into the application process and realized that the number of forms and documents you must prepare is either too confusing or time-consuming to deal with on your own, or
  • you are applying for an investment-based visa.

These are just some of the reasons why you might choose to consult with an immigration lawyer. There are others!

How to Choose the Right Lawyer for Your Immigration Case

You will probably want to meet with more than one attorney before choosing one to represent you. You want someone who is experienced in the type of case you have; many immigration lawyers specialize, for example in business immigration matters, deportation, or asylum. See How to Find an Excellent Immigration Lawyer for tips.

U.S. immigration law is federal, or nationwide, which means that you can get help from a lawyer in any U.S. state, even if you are currently living in another country.

What to Expect at the Initial Meeting With a Lawyer

Find the (best) Iranian Immigration Lawyers in California - Mehr News Agency

Most immigration lawyers will charge a flat fee (often around $100) to meet with you and talk over whether and how the lawyer could if you hired him or her, help you out. A few offer a free first consultation.

Bring along any personal documents that relate to your immigration situation, such as your passport, visa(s), I-94, marriage certificate, records of criminal convictions, and any notices from immigration authorities.

The lawyer is likely to ask a number of questions and take notes, and will then advise you as to how you should proceed, and whether there are any further documents that need to be produced or applied for.

Many immigration lawyers offer a flat-fee structure for standard types of cases, such as help with an application for a marriage-based green card. However, for less predictable types of legal services, such as representation for an immigration court hearing (which could turn into several hearings), the lawyer is more likely to charge you at an hourly rate.

When Do You Need an Immigration Attorney - Magz Lifestyle

This meeting is your chance to tell the attorney your circumstances and to ask questions. Give the attorney as much information as possible, so as to avoid mistakes in strategy or unpleasant surprises later. The attorney is duty-bound to keep your information confidential. Realize, however, that the attorney’s role does not include lying on behalf of a client. If, for example, someone tells an attorney, “I need help preparing paperwork for my fake, green-card marriage,” the attorney (assuming he or she is reputable, some are not) will have to tell the client to go elsewhere for help.

Family Law clients and the Immigration Law issues they face in a COVID-19 climate

We continue our series of hot topics in family law in a COVID-19 climate. Manders Law Managing Partner, Mary-Ann Wright, speaks to Natasha Chell, Partner at Laura Devine Immigration on the pressing questions that clients want answered in relation to immigration law issues commonly faced by family law clients in the current crisis. If you are currently engaged in proceedings or are contemplating proceedings at this challenging time, the information and practical guidance below will be of relevance to you.

About the Interviewee

Natasha Chell is a Partner at Laura Devine Immigration, recognized by the legal directories as a top-tier firm specializing in UK and US immigration.  Natasha has over 19 years experience advising high net worth individuals/executives and multi-national businesses on all areas of UK immigration, providing solutions-focused advice on navigating the ever-changing UK immigration landscape.


How can UK immigration permission be affected by the breakdown of a relationship/initiation of divorce proceedings?

Some immigration categories require partners (spouse/civil partner/unmarried partner) to be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with their ‘sponsor’ in the UK. Should such a relationship break down, which may be at the point of separation, but certainly when divorce/dissolution proceedings are initiated for spouses/civil partners, the partner should notify the Home Office of this change in circumstances. It is important to be aware that such a breakdown in a relationship may also be reported to the Home Office by the sponsor or a third party.

If the Home Office becomes aware that a partner and sponsor are no longer in a genuine and subsisting relationship, it may determine that the partner ceases to meet the immigration requirements for which their permission was granted. This can lead the Home Office to curtail the partner’s immigration permission to 60 days, subject to certain exceptions including where there is an indication of domestic abuse.


What immigration solutions are available if you find yourself in this situation?

Individuals who are at risk of having their permission curtailed should consider applying for new immigration permission, under a category which does not require a genuine and subsisting relationship with their original sponsor. For example, they may qualify for immigration permission based on their relationship with their British child or non-British child (if under the age of 12 and attending an independent school in the UK).  There may also be scope for obtaining alternative immigration permission because they have been a victim of domestic abuse. Specialist advice from an immigration practitioner is vital if you are in this situation.

Applications based on employment or investment may be viable options for some. Whilst such applications would have normally required the individual to apply from overseas, following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office does not currently require eligible individuals, who are in the UK with permission which expires between 24 January and 31 May 2020, to return overseas to apply.


What should individuals do if their marriage/civil partnership ceremony in the UK is cancelled due to COVID-19, but they need to be married/civil partners to qualify for family-based immigration permission?

Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies in the UK have been cancelled until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals with immigration permission granted for the purpose of marrying or entering into a civil partnership with a British citizen, or person present and settled in the UK (also known as ‘fiancée visa’), are normally required to marry or enter the civil partnership within six months or the end date of their immigration permission, whichever is the earliest.

In some circumstances it may be possible for individuals to apply for an extension of their fiancée visa from within the UK, where the marriage or civil partnership did not take place during the prescribed timeframe and where there was a ‘good reason’ supported by evidence that it will take place within the next six months. Whilst the Home Office has not yet published guidance to include the COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘good reason’, we consider it reasonable to consider it as such.


In cases of real urgency where your UK immigration permission has expired, or is due to expire shortly and you are unable to leave the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what options are available to you?

It is important to note that the Home Office has announced that an individual who was in the UK legally and whose immigration permission expired after 24 January 2020, or is due to expire, will not be regarded as an “overstayer” or suffer any detriment in the future, if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A subsequent concession has been introduced, whereby an individual’s permission can be extended to 31 May 2020 if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19, however, a formal request must be submitted to the Home Office using a prescribed application form,

If the individual planned to remain in the UK and to apply to extend their permission when it expired, they should continue to submit their online application and pay the prescribed fee, even though all application centers in the UK are temporarily closed at the moment. Consideration of the application will resume in due course, once the UK lockdown measures are lifted.

Some individuals who are in the UK, and would have normally been required to leave and apply for permission from outside the UK, may take advantage of an additional new concession, which allows them to apply from inside the UK, if their immigration permission expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020.

The Home Office is continuing to review the impact COVID-19 has had on immigration requirements and procedures and is regularly announcing concessions so it is very important to stay up to date with the latest announcements and consider seeking specialist immigration advice.

Note: the information contained in this blog is accurate at the time of publication on 5 May 2020. This blog is intended to give an overview (rather than comprehensive guidance and advice) on your legal position and is provided for information only.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Family Lawyer

Responsibilities of the family lawyer

A family lawyer performs a diverse range of legal duties concerned with the family. His/her services prove very beneficial when family confronts problem such as divorce, child custody, and guardianship. The family lawyers may join a big legal firm or work independently. Legal expert works as a mediator when tussle begins to grow within a family. Get the services of the family lawyers so you may not have to run off scrambling in needy time.

Role of Attorney

The family lawyer becomes the family member whom everyone respects. The legal expert saves the family from going to court. It not only saves time and money but also protects relationships. It is one of the responsibilities of the family lawyer to manage the wills and estates. In this way, he/she performs the role of attorney. The legal expert represents the family in the court.


Annulment is the breakup of husband and wife. The marriage bond has zero value after the annulment. There could be multiple reasons for the annulment; however, fraud of any type is its leading cause. If a spouse hides a communicable disease, criminal record, infertility, or previous divorce. One of the partners takes the help of the family lawyer to present case in the court.

Appeals against Previous Mistakes of Legal Proceedings

It is the fundamental right of every citizen to file an appeal when he/she believes that previous legal proceedings caused great damages mistakenly. The appeal process is not only steep and complex but also time-sensitive. The individual is bound to file it within 30 days to get it entertained.

There are different areas of law. Some domains are easy to understand. It is quite difficult to handle the appeal procedure. It is imperative to hire an experienced lawyer to tackle the problem and get the desired results.

The lawyer has to work within the limited material available on the eve of initial proceedings. Getting new information is very difficult. Lawyer dives into the previous reports to sort out any mistake. Family law appeals involve further complications.

Spouse Support & Alimony

Different terms such as maintenance, spousal support, and alimony have same meanings. A judge may entertain one of the spouses until the divorce process completed. The effects of alimony last for a certain period so that a divorced spouse may stand on feet. It is the power of the court to award permanent spousal support if the marriage span is long or a spouse falls ill. The spouse who has not been working for years, he/she may also win the advantages of alimony.

You are not a breadwinner, so numerous question about financial security arises in mind. You need the assistance of the San Diego family law lawyer to get favorable terms in the critical situation.

How to Determine the Spousal Support Amount?

Numerous factors leave an impact on determining the amount of alimony or spousal support. State law agencies take into consideration the financial security risks of a spouse that he/she may confront after the divorce. Two main factors, including the self-sufficiency and the length of the marriage, determine the amount of spousal support.

Temporary Spousal Support

Do you need temporary spousal support? Yes! Contact the family lawyer who proceeds your case in the court. Remember, none of the spouses has the right to demolish or waste any marital property.

Modify an Existing Child Support

It is a rule that the court cannot modify or change child support unless a spouse wants to get it to change. Share your provisions with the family lawyer and asks him to present them in the court. There could be multiple reasons such as medical problems, economic issues, and medical emergency of a child for the changing child support. Changing support means the resettlement of child support payments.

Child Abuse

The state laws do not give relaxation to anyone if he/she is responsible for child abuses. Many people do not know the web of laws. They receive a big setback when their offspring are taken away. Do not be panic if it happens with you. The company of a child is not only necessary for you but also for the child. You may take a son/daughter back. You must have a backup of the family lawyer who may prepare a strong case. Often, parents confront the problems of child abuse in the court though they have done nothing wrong to their children. The legal expert always stands at your back until you get the child back.

Parent’s Duty to Protect Child

Protection of the children is the primary duty of the parents. Children are taken away when they do not get the proper attention of parents. Parents fail to understand their responsibility. Sometimes, parents do not know, and they bypass a law. Who is responsible if a kid fell and injured? No one else but parents are responsible for the bad incident. They have to pay a heavy price of their carelessness.

The family lawyer proves in the court that the child will be in safe hands if it gives the child back. The court may consider an option of bringing in a relative of the child for care and protection.


Sometimes, divorce becomes a necessary evil. The family lawyer tries his/her best to bridge the differences with communication. The lawyer helps spouses to complete the divorces cordially. Every spouse wants to know what he or she may receive or lose at the end. Parents also take into account the future of children. Family lawyer answers all questions. He tries his best that trial should be fair. He is a committed person who wants to fulfill the desires of the family members.

There are two types of divorce, including the contested and uncontested divorce. The court takes the dispute of contested divorce in its hands. However, a family lawyer may help the spouses to find the resolution in an uncontested divorce.

How to Divide Property after Divorce?

Division of the property is a big challenge for the spouses after the divorce. Do not forget the services of the family lawyer to settle the problem harmoniously. People already made their minds what to keep under possession. You might have the intention to keep home, or car, little items that have emotional value. The family lawyer listens to the arguments of husband and wife and will reconcile the conflicting situation. A lawyer understands that spouses need advocacy.

Frozen Assets

Many states have amended the laws regarding property division. States take the property under its custody when you file a divorce. The measure of the state is very logical. She wants to keep articles under a single roof. If your spouse tries to transfer a certain articles, inform your lawyer who would manage the issue.

Draw the Line of Difference between Marital Property and Non-Marital Property

It is not an easy task to divide the marital and non-marital articles. Do not forget the presence of the family lawyer on the eve of division. If you had a specific object such as a vehicle or something else before the marriage, it would fall in the orbit of the non-marital property. The rest of the luggage or articles belong to marital property. If both spouses invested in a home before the marriage, it becomes both marital and non-marital asset. The family lawyer will help you to handle the problem.

Family Business

Your family business is swelling quickly, but courts notices keep you constantly worried. Hiring a family lawyer is a wise choice. The legal expert is available 24/7. You do not need to rush to courts. It is one of the responsibilities of the family lawyer to take care of such issues. Also, you need a business partner. Do not forget the agreement. It should contain necessary provisions so you may not experience any unwanted consequence. Consult with a family lawyer to prepare perfect documentation.

Make sure that your family lawyer is a capable and experienced person. It is the question of your family, and it’s business. You may have to pay the price with the bad choice of the lawyer.

Knowledge about the Family and its Technicalities

It is the tangible advantage of the family lawyer that he/she is an expert and knows the intricacies of the family law. You will become familiar with the basics of family law with time. People do not know the potential loopholes that prove very beneficial if someone discerns how to exploit them. Family lawyer set you in the right direction.


Impartiality is the key characteristic of the family lawyer. It becomes very difficult for a person to represent his/her divorce case in court. On the contrary, the lawyer does not involve in the case emotionally rather proceeds it wisely. He/she understands the previous facts and represents accordingly. Individual needs support for the time being after the loss of a relationship. The family lawyer understands the gravity of the situation, so he/she lends, helping hand to the grieved person.

The family lawyers offer their services in all domains of family life. They are the backbone of families who pressure of all legal problem. Confronting the lawsuits is a very panic and frustrating phenomenon. Enjoy the peace of mind with the family lawyer who is always available to protect your rights.


family lawyer 759x500 - 4 Reasons Why You Might Need A Family Lawyer

Dealing with family issues can be an overwhelming experience. This is especially true if they involve some legalities that make these problems more complicated to resolve. Hence, depending on your family dynamics, having a good family lawyer will make a lot of sense for you and your family. Primarily, a family lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in handling cases related to family matters.

Below are the four reasons why you might need a family lawyer as early as now:

1. To Get a Fair and Impartial View of Family Issues

In addition to expertise in family laws, having a family lawyer can be a good idea, especially in getting a fair and impartial view of family issues. Typically, facing a family problem can be an emotional roller coaster ride that can prevent you from giving a reasonable judgment of what’s really happening.

But with a legal professional on your side, they can help guide you in making sound family decisions. Since they’re not emotionally invested in the case, they can examine all the details, come up with a sound judgment and tell you if you’re rushing things that might lead to unnecessary legal actions and lawsuits. Because of this, it’s essential to consult a family lawyer before you take any steps that you might regret later on.

2. To Help in the Filing of Paperwork

Whatever family case you’re facing, a good family lawyer like the ones at can assist you in properly filing paperwork. When you don’t have any legal experience, you might be overwhelmed by all the necessary documents that you should draft and file correctly. Not only that, but the improper filing of these documents might end up being excluded by the judge in your case. An example of this is when you file for divorce against your estranged spouse, in which several documents are needed for the proceeding.

However, by seeking legal help from a family lawyer, you can have peace of mind knowing that all the required paperwork will be appropriately done while meeting the time limits.

family law -

3. To Assist You in a Family-Related Lawsuit/Legal Action

As mentioned, having family problems can be vexing, especially if you have no idea what steps to take to resolve them independently. Thus, whether you like it not, some instances require you to work with a family lawyer to obtain the best possible outcome. These can be due to any of the family-related lawsuits or legal actions that you might be facing:

  • Divorce: Since divorce refers to the process of liquidating and dividing all the assets accumulated during the marriage, you need a legal expert to navigate it properly. When it comes to the division of assets resulting from divorce, your lawyer can assist in the process by making sure your rights and interests are protected. Also, given the impact of divorce on kids and families, they can also help by providing the support and guidance you need throughout the process.
  • Adoption: Another family legal matter that needs the services of a family lawyer is when you add a new member of the family. Given all the details and legal processes required by your state, they can make sure you follow all the procedures for a smooth adoption proceeding.
  • Child custody: Just like divorce and adoption, child custody can also be a complicated process since the welfare and best interests of the child are the top priority. Thus, working with a family lawyer can be an excellent idea to make the process as smooth as possible. They know the ins and outs of every child custody battle, thereby increasing your chances of winning the case in your favor.
  • Spousal/Child Support: If the other parent isn’t providing financial child support, a family lawyer can help resolve the issue by compelling them to pay the money through a case in court. Also, if you’re the other parent who can no longer pay due to financial losses, a legal professional can help by applying for lessening support money in court.

4. To Prepare Your Family’s Financial Future

Another important reason you might need a lawyer is for the preparation of your family’s financial future. Typically, no one knows what the future holds for you and your loved ones. Thus, whether you need help with pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, wills, and other legal services, you should hire a good family law attorney to have all these documents prepared whenever you need them. They’ll assess your needs and recommend the best strategies that might help prepare your family’s financial future.

Also, as their client, they’ll have your family’s best interests in mind so you can rest knowing that everything they do is for your benefit and that of your family.

Wrapping Up

How to Become a Family Lawyer

In any family affairs, the things mentioned above are some of the primary reasons why you might need a family lawyer. Thus, if you find yourself facing one or all of these reasons, then now would probably be the right time to take advantage of the services of a legal professional. With them at your side, you can be confident that you’re making the right decisions towards obtaining a successful outcome.


best immigration lawyers

Looking for help on your immigration case?

Wondering how to find the best immigration lawyers?

You may be eager to get help immediately, but not all immigration lawyers are all they claim to be. It’s important to take the time to choose an excellent attorney that is qualified and motivated.

You’ll want to keep a few things in mind during your search to make sure you find a lawyer who is right for you. Below are eight tips to keep in mind for choosing the best immigration lawyers to work with.

7 Benefits of Consulting with an Immigration Lawyer in Hawaii


When trying to find the best immigration lawyers, it is best not to choose blindly and hire the first lawyer you come across. It is also much better to look for a high-quality lawyer that can handle your case like a professional than to choose the low-cost bargain option.

It can be stressful to deal with the high costs but don’t automatically choose the cheaper alternative. The costs can be well worth it in the end if you’re serious about your immigration.

Be sure to properly vet any potential attorneys you want to work with. They need to be able to fully convince you that they can do the job well.


When looking for an attorney for your immigration case, it is an excellent idea to dig into your personal network and find out if anyone you know has used an immigration lawyer in the past.

Ask your friends and family. Someone you know may be able to connect you with an acquaintance who has already undergone immigration procedures and knows about a great lawyer you can work with. Word-of-mouth can be a great way to find an immigration lawyer that’s a good fit.

Also, consider using the internet as a resource. Sometimes you can find info, reviews, and complaints on different lawyers online.


When you identify a potential attorney for your case, you need to make sure they are the real deal. Find out what their credentials are and where their experience lies. While you can find out some of this information from the lawyer’s website or from them, you can use several other sources to verify attorney credentials.

Contact the local state bar where the lawyer practices and search the database on the website. If you’re looking for an immigration lawyer in Dallas, for example, you’ll want to check with the State Bar of Texas.

Find out if they have had any complaints or malpractice suits in the past, or if there is any other information on their record you need to know about.

You should also search the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) website if you are looking for an immigration lawyer. They have a database of potential lawyers that practice and teach immigration law. If you choose one of these lawyers, they will likely have the qualifications that you need.


Once you have created a list of the best immigration lawyers you could find and narrowed down the choices to who you may want to work with, you need to reach out to them.

Schedule a quick phone call or interview and speak with them to decide if they could be the right choice for you and your needs.

In the interview, ask them about previous cases they have worked on. See if they are experienced with immigration law and have performed similar cases to yours in the past. Find out where their expertise lies and make sure they would be a good fit for you.


If you’re considering using a lawyer, chances are you will sit down for a consultation to discuss your needs. This is a great time to ask the attorney for references.

An experienced and professional immigration attorney should be able to provide you with references to past cases and a list of clients who have been thrilled with the results. Make sure that any lawyer you consider has a long roster of satisfied and happy past clients.

If you make sure to check for references, you’ll have a much greater chance of being satisfied yourself and you’ll know that your lawyer can deliver results.


Before you hire a lawyer, it is important that you know exactly what you will be paying for. You should take the time to negotiate the fees ahead of time and know exactly what to expect from your relationship.

Compare the fee schedules of any lawyers you are considering. Find out if they charge an hourly rate or a flat fee.

Finally, make sure to find out about any additional fees you will incur during the process such as postage fees or long distance charges.


In addition to the more technical aspects of looking for the best immigration lawyers, you should also take into your gut instinct into account. If a lawyer doesn’t seem like he would be a good fit for you but his credentials look great on paper, you still may want to turn the other way.

You may also have some personal preferences with what kind of attorney you are comfortable with, and that’s OK too. You may prefer a male or female attorney, for example.

It can also be a huge help to find a lawyer that knows how to speak and write your language well. Having a lawyer who is familiar with your language can really help to facilitate the entire process and make communication a breeze.

Since you will be building an ongoing relationship with your lawyer, you need to make sure you will be as comfortable as possible.


It’s a good idea to look for a lawyer who is comfortable and capable of using the cloud in place of excessive physical paperwork. Paperless signing can make the entire process much easier.

By being able to sign the documents electronically, you will have a much simpler time managing the high amount of paperwork you will be dealing with. It can also save you a lot of money and hassle when it comes to postage.

By having a lawyer who can work with you in the cloud, you’ll make sure you’re managing your stress well and allow the process to go as smoothly as possible.


Immigration Law Attorneys | Melbourne FL | Immigration Law Firm

By considering the steps above, you’ll be able to find a good immigration lawyer that you can trust to work on your case. Make sure to choose a great lawyer who understands your needs.

It can be a lot of work to deal with immigration issues, but it will be worth it in the end.

Looking for the best immigration lawyers in Texas? Interested in learning more? Contact us today.

Choosing the Right Family Law Attorney

Choosing a family law attorney can be a very difficult decision. The right lawyer can make a real difference both in the outcome of your divorce and how you make it through the very emotional process. You want a trusting relationship. You want a lawyer who is serious about your case and listens to your needs. You want a lawyer who moves your case forward to the conclusion. Here are some tips on choosing the right lawyer.

Our family law attorneys offer tips on how to pick the right family law attorney.
Whether you’re considering a divorce, attempting to work out custody and support issues, planning an adoption, or facing another family law issue, choosing the right family law attorney can ease your mind and produce better results. Your lawyer becomes your partner in the process, helping you achieve the outcome you want within the boundaries of the law.

Here are some tips to help you select an attorney whom you can trust, who listens to your needs and who keeps your case moving forward until it is concluded.

Find an attorney you can work with.

Your lawyer will be your partner throughout your case. You may need to confide sensitive or embarrassing information to your attorney – things you would prefer not to tell anyone. You’ll be speaking to your attorney frequently, and you’ll need to be able to provide information and understand your lawyer’s explanations of certain steps in your case or how the law applies in your situation.

Consequently, choosing a lawyer you trust and can communicate with is crucial. While a law firm’s website and other materials provide a good start, don’t base your decision solely on the law firm. Instead, speak to each attorney you’re considering. Ask questions like: Does the attorney have experience with cases like mine? Do they explain things in a way that makes sense to me? Do they answer my questions? Do I feel like I can trust this person?

Interview prospective attorneys with your needs in mind.

Interview prospective attorneys with your needs in mind.

When you contact a law firm to speak to a prospective attorney, be as clear as you can about what you’re looking for. Many lawyers will agree to speak to you for no charge so that both of you can determine whether you’ll be a good “fit” for one another.

While speaking to a prospective attorney, keep the following issues in mind:

  • Does your personality mesh with the attorney? No matter how experienced a lawyer is, if you do not get along, your case will be more difficult.
  • Communication and promptness. Ask each lawyer how you can contact him or her and how long it will take them to get back to you. Excessive delays or “radio silence” from your lawyer can cause unnecessary aggravation, so choose an attorney who is dedicated to regularly touching base.
  • Willingness to work within your budget. It’s important to talk about money so that you can get the results you need without draining your bank account. Most attorneys are accustomed to discussing fees and costs upfront and will appreciate meeting a prospective client who also understands the need to budget wisely.

Ask for advice, but make your own decision.

Asking friends, family members and co-workers to recommend an attorney is one way to collect information about family law attorneys and law firms in your area. Attorney guides like Martindale-Hubbell or Avvo can also point you to local law firms, as can reading law firm websites and reviews.

No matter where you gather your initial information, however, speak to the lawyer before making your decision. Remember that every family, and every family law case, is unique. Your needs are different from the needs of friends or family members, even if they faced a similar problem. Also, remember to take online reviews with a grain of salt. It may be impossible to tell who posted them or what agenda the writer had when they made the post.

Get help from a family law attorney to get you through troubling times to a brighter future.

At the law firm, family law attorneys we work together to help families move through troubling times to a brighter future. Contact us today to learn more about us and how we can help you.

Pick a lawyer, not a law firm.

The most important relationship is not between the law firm and the client, but between the law partner and a client. Seek out a relationship with an individual partner in a firm as your lawyer. Never have a relationship with a law firm — have a relationship with a lawyer. Make it that partner’s responsibility to manage your case. If your case is passed off to an associate, demand an explanation and demand to know the associate’s experience. If the law partner that drew you to the law firm wants to pass off your case to an associate, then you should be thinking about another firm. Ask the lawyer you meet with this question: “Will you be handling my case?”

Ask yourself: “Do I like this lawyer?”

You must be able to get along with your lawyer. The initial interview is as much about deciding if you can have a working relationship with your attorney as it is finding out about how the law applies to your case. If the lawyer you are meeting with is abrasive, distracted, disorganized, or acts in any other way that does not give you confidence, consider how you will feel later on in the case if you chose this lawyer.

Demand expertise and experience.

It used to be common for North Carolina lawyers to handle all manner of cases from divorce to traffic to real estate. More and more lawyers are limiting their practice to specific fields, including family law. You would not go to a general practitioner for open-heart surgery, and you should be very hesitant about going to a lawyer who does not limit his or her practice to family law matters if you need a divorce.

Fees: Don’t give your lawyer a blank check.

You should be able to get a very good idea of the cost of your case from your Wake County lawyer. Ask if there is an option for a flat fee so you will know what the case will cost you. Unless a lawyer can offer you a flat fee option, you have no way of knowing how much legal representation will cost.

Settlement and litigation.

Settlement and litigation are two sides of the same coin. Most family law cases settle out of court. Some do not. You need a lawyer that is equally comfortable in settlement negotiations and the courtroom. Ask your lawyer what training and experience he or she has had in family law negotiations, mediation, and collaborative law. Ask your lawyer if he or she has the experience to handle your case in court should attempt at settlement fail.

Why hire an immigration lawyer?

Why hire an immigration lawyer?

Why hire a lawyer when there is lower-cost help available through immigration consultants and online immigration services?  Do you really need a lawyer when you could fill out the forms and follow the instructions yourself?

The reasons are many, from ensuring you fully understand the process to avoiding unnecessary delays.

The main advantages of hiring a trusted immigration lawyer, instead of depending on an immigration consultant or online immigration service or working on the case yourself are:

1. You receive guidance on which forms and documents to submit

A lawyer is not required to fill out application forms for immigration benefits. Anyone can complete the forms, which are, along with the instructions, available for free on U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State’s websites.

But U.S. government agencies are not your advocates and do not consider your individual situation when providing resources and information to you. Only an immigration lawyer, who truly understands the eligibility requirements, can give you the most reliable advice on which forms and documents to submit to receive immigration benefits.

Legitimate immigration consultants and online immigration processors can certainly help you complete forms and submit the paperwork to USCIS and DOS at a much lower cost than what lawyers charge.

Nevertheless, your knowing which forms and documents to submit is not always clear by just reading instructions or doing your own research. Immigration consultants and online immigration services are prohibited from giving any legal advice concerning your immigration case, including which forms and documents to submit. Rather, you yourself have to make this determination before they then fill out the forms with your answers and prepare the documents you have given them for filing with the appropriate U.S. government agency.

Even qualified immigration consultants and highly-rated online immigration services are just document preparers. While they are distinguishable from shady Notarios who prey on vulnerable immigrant groups and engage in immigration scams, they provide limited service that does not always meet your immigration needs.

Questions on applications forms and questions from immigration or consular officers might seem simple, but often relate to legal issues that can result in denials and setbacks in your case. Immigration consultants and online immigration processors cannot counsel you on how to best answer a question or cross-check or verify your answers on the forms. All they can do is replicate and type out your responses to the questions asked on the forms.

When non-lawyer immigration consultants or online immigration processors advise you on which immigration benefit to apply for and how to prove you qualify for it, they essentially engage in unauthorized practice of law.

In contrast, immigration lawyers advise you on which exact forms and documents to submit for a particular immigration benefit. They will cross check your answers on application forms with your biographic and immigration records to help ensure accuracy and completeness. They will also counsel you on the implications of your answers to questions, as well as the effects of providing or not providing certain documents.

2. You get legal advice on how to best present your case

A good lawyer will counsel you on eligibility standards and evidentiary requirements, including those that are not spelled out in the instructions for forms or are otherwise readily known.

For instance, while an immigration consultant or online immigration service will accept your marriage certificate and divorce decrees for prior marriages as sufficient in an I-130 spousal immigrant petition, a lawyer will counsel you on additional documents to submit to prove your marriage is valid and bona fide.

A lawyer might be unnecessary in very simple cases, where the bare minimum is all that’s required to get the case approved. But in many cases, a high volume of documentary evidence, as well as credible testimony, are needed to achieve a favorable outcome.

One of the fastest growing online immigration processors, RapidVisa, states specifically that it does not give legal advice or representation, but offers a service similar to TurboTax for visa applications. At a low price, they provide online processing of K-1 fiancée visas, spousal visas, parent visas, green cards (adjustment of status), removal of conditions, citizenship (naturalization), joint sponsorship, and deferred action (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, under President Obama).

RapidVisa boasts an approval rate of 99.7% and 4-hour turnaround time. But it’s fair to say that these cases most likely had no complications to require the work of a lawyer, and could have been handled just as well by an applicant who was willing and able to deal with the paperwork alone.

Reputable immigration lawyers, who have the expertise to deal with the worst types of cases, are best equipped to help you present the strongest case possible. They can steer you away from pitfalls that lead to complications in your case, such as USCIS issuing a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny Petition. They are trained to spot issues and weaknesses that can tank your case. Unlike immigration consultants and online immigration processors, they do not merely rely on generic templates and checklists that do not account for unique situations.

3. You obtain verification on whether you actually qualify for the benefit sought

An immigration lawyer will gather facts and review your record to confirm whether you are eligible for the immigration benefit you seek. For example, under current law, you cannot apply for a marriage-based green card within the U.S. if you were not lawfully admitted to the U.S. with inspection, and you do not qualify for 245(i) benefits. If your immigrant petition is not in the immediate relative category, you may not file for adjustment to permanent residence unless you are maintaining lawful nonimmigrant status after entry as an F-1 student, H-1B worker, etc. or certain narrow exceptions apply.

Immigration consultants and online immigration processors are not equipped or authorized to verify your eligibility for a benefit sought. They cannot give advice as to which immigration status you should seek. These are legal issues that requires a lawyer’s guidance, especially when there are complications in your case.

Complications include previous marriage(s)/divorce(s), a history of visa denials, visa overstays, unlawful presence, prior removal orders, illegal entries and re-entries to the U.S., immigration fraud or willful misrepresentation, false claims to U.S. citizenship, a criminal record, and being from a high-fraud country.

In June 2016, the State of Colorado passed a law that forced RapidVisa to relocate out of Colorado Springs, Colorado to Las Vegas, Nevada, where regulations related to the document-preparation industry are favorable. Known as Immigration Consultants Deceptive Trade Practice, the Colorado law targets deceptive “notarios”, which are small operations common in Hispanic communities, but it further forbids any person from offering any immigration service, regardless of whether it involves practicing law, unless that person is a lawyer.

In a press release, Ben Ives, President of RapidVisa, stated “this was simply a case of lawyers protecting their income.” He noted, “Petitioning for a family visa is a benefit request, not a legal issue. Do you hire a lawyer to apply for your driver’s license?”

Contrary to Mr. Ives’ claim, applying for an immigration benefit involves many legal issues that determine whether a person can live, study or work in the U.S., and even visit the country. Filing for an immigration benefit has a much more serious and broader impact than applying for a driver’s license.

A U.S. citizen’s decision to bring a fiancée, spouse,  or parent to the U.S. , for example, affects the fate of the family and their reunification.  An applicant’s mistake in filing for an immigration benefit, such as a green card or citizenship, for which he does not qualify can sometimes lead him into removal proceedings and get him deported from the United States.

4. You have comprehensive counseling from start to finish

In the initial evaluation of your case, and during the course of representation, an immigration lawyer can identify your priorities and pinpoint issues to help you achieve your objectives. They can lay out your various options and describe the pros and cons of pursuing each path.

An immigration lawyer can guide you on how to avoid complications or address them as they arise, such as responding to a Request for Evidence, a Notice of Intent to Deny, a Notice of Intent to Revoke, an inadmissibility finding, or a denial decision. He or she can intervene on your behalf to resolve problems.

An immigration lawyer can also prepare you for interviews before USCIS and the U.S. Consulates by describing what questions to expect and which issues are likely to arise. Although they should not “coach” you on what to say, they may advise you on how to best present both positive and negative information.

A lawyer may appear with you at green card interviews and naturalization interviews to help protect your rights, present documentary information, and ask clarifying questions. They can further prepare and submit a legal brief to stave off concerns and persuade the officer to approve your case.

Lawyers must keep up with changes in the law, the risks (not just the benefits) of applying for immigration relief, and the nuances in the immigration process, and advise you accordingly.

A non-lawyer immigration consultant or online immigration processor cannot perform these vital services.

5. You get legal help from a licensed professional who is held to the highest ethical standards

When an immigration consultant or online immigration processor overlooks critical pieces of information or documents — which results in an avoidable revocation process, denial or delay — there is generally no recourse. You typically have to rectify the harm through their channels or file a consumer complaint with the state attorney general.

Lawyers, on the other hand, are held to ethical standards in their state rules of professional conduct. They can face disciplinary action, such as a suspension or disbarment, for failing to perform duties owed to clients. As a licensed professional, a lawyer has obligations and responsibilities that go above and beyond those of a non-lawyer immigration service.

Consult an immigration attorney at the very least 

Some states, such as CaliforniaMinnesota, and New York regulate the conduct of immigration consultants, instead of forbid them from performing any immigration service. While they may provide document preparation, they cannot offer legal advice in any situation.

Legitimate immigration consultants and online immigration processors can ease the stress that comes with handling the immigration paperwork yourself. But realize they do nothing more than document preparation. A complete reliance on non-lawyer immigration services gives you a false sense of security and could open you up to making mistakes and bungling your immigration matter.

Reliable legal representation may be more affordable than you assume. There are solo practitioners and small firm lawyers who charge reasonable fees for high-quality, comprehensive service. There are also non-profit legal service providers and pro-bono attorneys who will accept your case for sliding scale or reduced fees or no fees.

Almost everyone can gather funds to consult an experienced immigration lawyer at least once, or retain unbundled legal service to address the complicated parts of the case. Before you file for an immigration benefit, talk to a reputable immigration lawyer about the eligibility standards, documentary requirements and filing process. Relying on immigration consultants and online immigration processors can save you money upfront, but cost you a lot more in the long run.

This article provides general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Each legal case is different and case examples do not constitute a prediction or guarantee of success or failure in any other case. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.