Immigrating to another country in order to live, work, raise a family, and so on is a major decision, and one that you have probably put a lot of thought into. But making the choice to change your nationality is not as easy as snapping your fingers. You’re going to have to jump through a lot of legal hoops in order to make the transition, and there’s no shortage of paperwork along the way. In addition, even simple mistakes or oversights in preparation can cost you months of time, or even end with your bid being denied and your immigration status being revoked. Since you probably don’t want things to come to this pass, it’s important that you hire qualified legal representation. A good immigration lawyer can help you to navigate the tricky waters of this legal process and come out on the other side. But you need to take the time to find a professional who offers the expertise you’re seeking. Here are a few helpful tips to ensure you get the best possible immigration lawyer.
- Start with referrals from trusted sources. If you’re looking to immigrate, chances are good you know someone who has crossed the same bridge successfully. So ask family members, friends, and colleagues for referrals to good immigration lawyers. If they don’t personally know a reputable professional, they probably know someone who does, and this network of connections can not only lead you to the right lawyer, but it can help you to steer clear of those who aren’t worth your time and money.
- Look online. You don’t want to hire the first name in the phone book, so to speak, but if you don’t know anyone who has hired an immigration lawyer, you may find yourself floundering in a sea of potential candidates. The place to begin then is by checking out aila.org (the American Immigration Lawyers Association). Since all of the members practice or teach immigration law, you’ll certainly narrow your search to highly qualified candidates. And you can get even closer to home by searching for immigration lawyers in your area. You can also use this website to check out any lawyers that have been recommended to you.
- Schedule consultations. Once you’ve found a few lawyers that look promising, the next step is to call and make appointments for consultations. This will give you a chance to meet prospective legal representation, ask any questions you may have, and determine whether or not you think a particular attorney is qualified to help you. It’s important to feel comfortable, so probably don’t want to avoid a lawyer that dodges your questions, rushes through the interview, or fails to return your calls in a timely manner.
- Ask for credentials. One of the most important things to find out when you show up for your consultation is whether or not a lawyer has the proper credentials to assist you. A law degree isn’t enough; you need someone who specializes in immigration law and preferably a professional that has a great track record of helping other clients to achieve success in the immigration process.
- Consider pricing. If you want some immigration law tips, here’s one you shouldn’t ignore: this process can quickly get expensive. So it’s a good idea to understand all of the potential costs up front so you can decide if it’s feasible to work with a reputable firm like Goodin Law P.A. or if you need to go it alone.