Compare Immigration Attorney Fees and Costs for Naturalization

The Benefits of Retaining An Immigration Attorney

If you’re immigrating to the U.S., or your already here but are having immigration issues, retaining an immigration attorney might be a smart idea. If you do seek legal advice, It will also be in your best interest to compare immigration attorneys fees and costs for naturalization before getting started with an Immigration Attorney.

Immigration services are part of the Department of Homeland Security. Known in the past as the Immigration and Naturalization service or INS. The name has been changed and we now have the USCIS, which stands for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

There are many reasons why an immigration attorney can be beneficial to you. The application process can be very complex and selecting the proper forms and filling them out correctly can be a daunting task. Maybe you are already in the U.S. but have committed a minor  crime or have overstayed your visa. Are you facing the likelihood of being detained or deported? Each situation presents a unique set of issues for the immigrant and will require expertise and careful analysis of the situation. With an experienced immigration attorney, most potential obstacles can be averted or overcome.

Efficient Time-Frame

Hiring an immigration lawyer to complete a visa application can possibly save up to two or three months in processing time and help prevent a rejection of the application based on a technicality or error. An immigration lawyer is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to the type of relief or visas available to the applicant and will help the applicant submit the correct application, filled out properly, on the first attempt, thus reducing the risk of the application being rejected.

An experienced Immigration Attorney can prepare his client for the interview at the consulate abroad or with immigration services in the U.S. to help streamline the application process. This generally results in lowering the risk of an application rejection in its final stages. Lastly, an immigration lawyer evaluates the facts of each case and helps to advise the applicant of the proper steps to take in obtaining a visa and how to avoid the pitfalls that generally lead to exclusion from entry into the United States or deportation if you are already here.

Applicants must bring all required documents to the interview which may include a medical exam, a divorce certificate, marriage certificate, evidence of financial support or other documents which your immigration attorney can help explain to you.

If an applicant does not bring the necessary documentation to the interview, he risks his visa being denied or delayed. The applicant’s immigration attorney can ensure that the necessary documents are filled out and prepared properly, and make sure you have extra copies for the government to keep.

Applicants are generally urged to not make permanent financial commitments until they learn the results of their applications. Take your time with any commitments and always check with your immigration attorney before making any untimely financial commitments.

Legal Fees

The legal fees for an immigration attorney vary depending on the exact services needed and by the area of the U.S. you are filing within. An attorney hired to help with a family-based petition is less costly than one hired for a deportation issue.

Some lawyers offer a free initial consultation, while others charge up to $250 or more for a consultation. Make some calls and check all the costs before setting up an appointment and before you sign anything. Check with at least two or three attorneys before selecting the right fit for you. The more you check the better your choice will be. The first phone call is usually free, they must answer the call to talk to you and if they ask for a consultation fee or if you feel pushed in any way just call someone else.

Typical fees associated with an immigration attorney include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Application for Employment Authorization costs about $250-500.
  • Citizenship and Naturalization Application cost between $500-1,200.
  • Family-Based Green Card Petition ranges between $800-1,500.
  • Employment-Based Petitions have a cost of about $1,500-5,000.
  • Asylum Application can run between $1,000-3,000.
  • Adjustment of Status Application is approximately $600-1,200.
  • Deportation Defense is estimated between $2,000-10,000.
  • Immigration Attorney Hourly Rate is usually between $100-300.

Please note that the above fees, do not include any USCIS filing fees. You will be paying both the lawyer fees and the application fees to the government and they can add up quickly. In some cases the USCIS filing fees can add up to over a thousand dollars. It can be costly to fill USCIS forms out incorrectly and have to resubmit them.

All the above costs could rise if your case is complex and requires multiple court appearances or extra time. Some immigration attorneys may also charge more if the attorney has years of experience or specializes in a practically difficult aspect of the law. A seasoned or specialized attorney may provide a distinct advantage in a difficult immigration case and may be well worth any extra costs involved.

When looking for or hiring an immigration attorney you should check with the American Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Always ask for a fee breakdown or schedule of fees and costs and understand what your charges may be before hiring an attorney and beginning the process. It is also a good idea to ask friends and family for references if you know others who have gone through the immigration process.

Finally, you should know that it is possible to fill out the paperwork yourself. There are many websites, books and guides on immigration, visas, green cards and citizenship. A great place to start is at the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information page on Immigration Help. This government website will answer questions for you on:

  • Which immigration forms to use.
  • How to get the immigration forms.
  • Help with filling out immigration forms.
  • Help finding someone who will be “representing” you in USCIS talks.

You can also find immigration information on Civil Rights, Immigration Services, Immigration benefits, Human Trafficking, and much more at the official website of the Department of Homeland Security.

While the system is complex you need to know that there is help out there for you if you do some research.