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How to Prepare for a Meeting With an Immigration Attorney

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
March 19, 2020

In this article, we discuss how to prepare for a meeting with an immigration attorney and some of the situations you could encounter that requires a need for an immigration attorney. Immigrating to the United States legally and correctly can be a daunting task because US immigration law is complex, confusing and especially intimidating. Whether you or a loved one needs a visa, green card, is looking for citizenship, or just visiting the US for less than 90 days your legal needs will vary.

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Do I Need an Immigration Attorney?

A good immigration attorney will save you time, worry and possibly a lot of money. Below is a list of scenarios when an immigration attorney is highly suggested.

  • Based on your current geographical location or for any other reason you are unsure about your eligibility for a green card or another immigration benefit;
  • You’ve been deported and wish to return or face possible deportation;
  • You are interested in applying for an investment-based visa;
  • You are moving to the US to work with a US-based employer, but the employer is not assisting you with relocation or legal needs;
  • You’re immigration application or another immigration form has been denied and you’re unsure as to why;
  • You’re uncertain about the number of documents and which ones apply to you’re situation, or you feel that the entire process is too confusing;
  • You’ve been convicted of a crime or have committed a crime and are trying to enter the US or avoid removal from the US;
  • You received a notification that deportation or removal proceedings will be brought against you;
  • You are trying to obtain a USCIS green card, citizen, or other immigration benefit and you are running into issues, or have been asked to provide more information
  • You’re immigration process suddenly runs into an issue and time is of the essence or you’re on a deadline
  • You’re seeking asylum or a waiver, which requires the immigration authorities to make an exception to your situation and offer benefits that it might not normally
  • You’re filling out forms such as Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9), Affidavit of Support (I-134), Immigration Petition for Alien Worker (I-140), Application to Register Permanent Status or Adjust Status (I-485), Immigration Form I-130, or any number of other immigration-related forms and you run into issues or foresee a problem with one of the questions on the form.

Preparing for Your Meeting with an Immigration Attorney

Once you’ve scheduled your first in-person or over the phone consultation with the immigration attorney it’s important to organize any immigration-related documents and have a goal for the initial consultation. Items such as your visa, passport, I-94, marriage certificate or birth certificate if applicable, criminal record, and any pass notices from immigration authorities will be important to move the process along smoothly.

The attorney will listen to your situation, answer any questions and then tell you how to move forward and whether you need any additional forms or any corrections to existing forms. Be prepared with any questions you have for the attorney and to explain your immigration situation. Any information that you discuss with your attorney is confidential, but be aware that your attorney will not lie on your behalf. If you tell him or her you need a document or something else for your fake marriage in order to proceed forward with the immigration process, be prepared to be told to go elsewhere.

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