There should be little doubt that if your time is precious, or your situation is complex or sensitive, finding an expert to assist you ought to be your first choice. This is the case in any area of business or life, but with something so important as residency and citizenship, it is vital. After all, the legal basis for you to be in a country underpins everything else that you have the right to do.
In this regard, it is similar to an employment contract. The wages earned underpin every other area of life, so you really need to get it right!
Therefore, can an immigration lawyer help you? You bet!
Is An Immigration Lawyer Necessary?
This will depend upon your personal circumstances and the level of complexity of your application. These days, almost all governments will have their rules on a website. Of course, those rules do not always represent reality, but they are hopefully close to it!
Following those rules ought to be possible for you. If it is, then you ought to be able to proceed without a legal assistance. However, I do not know where you might be reading this. Outside of the developed world, there will be lots of countries where applying without an lawyer is practically impossible. You must remember that most politicians are or were lawyers and so the systems they have designed help to ensure that their colleagues will remain in work for decades to come. In such locations, don’t even think of applying without help!
Can A Lawyer Give Immigration Advice?
Yes, of course a lawyer can give immigration advice, but as with any specialization, this might not be an area that the lawyer is knowledgeable about.
In my own experience, I asked a friend that is a very well regarded advocate (in banking and insurance matters) for a little guidance. All I really needed was to have someone confirm that my understanding of the system was correct. He told me very confidently that what I was planning to do was impossible and that my reading and interpretation of the law was incorrect. The Permanent Residence scheme that I planned to apply to did not exist! Of course, it did exist and a few months later I had qualified as a Permanent Resident. This just was not his area of specialization…
Can An Immigration Lawyer Speed Up The Process?
Yes, it is easy to image that a good immigration lawyer will speed up the process. As with any realm, people that do something every day know other people that do similar things every day. When your immigration attorney walks into the government office, the staff will recognize his or her face and quite often find a way for the queue to be jumped. Additionally, it is much less likely that as an applicant you will need to make multiple visits to government offices because the attorney should have guided you correctly from the outset.
Once again, my own experience was that for each application (identity / residence card and then permanent residency status) that I had to make multiple visits to government offices. Why? Because with the first visit I established what sort of documents they accepted, then with the second visit there was usually one remaining document required that I needed and this visit highlighted the problem.
How To Find The Best Immigration Lawyer?
Ideally, you should try and find a personal recommendation from someone that has been through the process you plan to go through. This could prove to be difficult to get though, especially if you are new in a country.
Another approach would be to find a list of recognized attorneys that are members of the relevant government licensing body. Once you have done that, if you really need to find the best immigration lawyer that there is, approach the President of the organization and ask for a recommendation. Wealthy individuals should always be able to locate the best in class if they really want or need to.
Is There An Immigration Lawyer Near Me?
Most major cities will have big law firms with one or more lawyers that specialize in immigration, residency, naturalization and citizenship. Finding an immigration lawyer ought to be quite easy. What might prove to be more difficult will be finding one that you are comfortable working with and trust to represent your best interests, no matter what.
How Do Immigration Lawyers Get Paid?
All law firms should explain and detail the way they charge clients at the outset. Typically, immigration attorneys will charge some form of deposit or retainer in advance and then an hourly consulting rate from then on. Most of the time, immigration law is about following procedures, which means that the process should not be too expensive. Just in case, it might be wise to meet with two or perhaps three before you begin the process to find out how much they are likely to charge.