Consult: Your Immigration Road Map

Sometimes it’s hard to decide if it’s the right thing to get a lawyer’s help.  Hiring a lawyer shows you’re serious about doing your visa the right way, but is it worth the cost?  One solution, raher than going it alone or spending a lot of money on a process you’re unsure you need, is doing a paid consultation on your specific situation.  

Many lawyers advertise free consultations, and we will speak with someone at no charge for a few minutes too.  But think about it:   Can someone really understand your entire circumstance,  give you the correct course of action or advice, and quote a fee—without reviewing a scrap of your documentation— in a 1/2 hour?  In reality, this is only enough free time to assess whether YOU are a good case for the lawyer.  I would equate the value of the 1/2 free consult to  researching your sickness on WebMD, or speaking with a nurse on the phone.  

Some people are fine with only this information, but is it an adequate substitute for a doctor?  Believe it or not, I can’t answer that for you. I have to admit that sometimes for me that info has been enough.  So you put your own value on the results of your immigration process.  Recently I asked someone, “On a scale of 1-10, how important is the answer to your question, or how important is the result of your application?”

From our end, it’s important to understand the details of your case, eliminate red flags, proscribe the right course of action, and quote you the right fee.  From just a description of your immigration circumstances, there could be couple sticking points.  Without this understanding, the retainer must account for more potential unknowns, making  the fee  unnecessarily higher. Knowing more of your case helps to eliminate potential challenges and reduce a client’s fee.  Consultations are also a good way to decide if the relationship is a good fit.

But our consultations offer more.  Without fail, the topic of every consultation covers the noncitizen's immigration life as a whole, and what decisions are best going forward.  Some have put such value on accurate immigration planning, they've even returned for follow up consultations.  As a result, they walk away with full confidence of their immigration future.  The consultation transforms from a drab meeting to an enriching, immigration roadmap.  An immigration coaching session, if you will, with the horsepower of advice from a licensed and experienced immigration attorney.  

We meet for an hour and 15 minutes, and you receive the proper guidance on how to address your situation.  The guidance will be as specific as possible given the information you provide.  Some of the time will be used listening to your situation, so providing me as much documentation, and as concise explanation as possible, will leave more time to explain your options.  It’s also important to know what options are not available.  

Let us repeat:  Sometimes the most important information is what options are NOT available.  

So it makes sense to do a paid consultation first.  Many people have misconceptions of the process and law.  Every single client we have ever represented has at least once said, "Oh, I didn't know that."  This way, you have received real advise, not simply more questions akin to an astrology session.  Having said this, if we are retained in your immigration natter soon after the consult, this amount will be applied to the retainer.  The consult would be a flat $360 for 1.25 hours.  Weekend consults are limited but would be $520.

Of course, you decide in the end which assistance provides the most value.  Not everyone puts the same value on the approval of their immigration application.  Given the economic, or human rights, impact of returning to one's home country, our view is that legal immigration status in the U.S. is second only to physical health and strong family connections.  Indeed, sometimes they are all one in the same.   My own approach with immigration advice and representation is always careful and thorough.  It's a value, and not everyone is the same in this regard.  If you’ve read this far, however, it looks like you’re on the right track.


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