Well, we've seemingly made it through the industrial age and the nuclear age, and are now in the midst of the "Information Age." There is much information available on the web regarding how to immigrate to the U.S., or what you should do if you're already here. Some websites, like that of the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), are official government sites and can offer direct information about how to apply for a change in visa status, how to apply for permanent residency or how to become a U.S. citizen. Other websites are less reliable, and the accuracy of some are highly questionable.
All too often we have immigrants or their family members tell us that "it seemed so easy, and we thought we could do it ourselves." They present to us their USCIS Notice of Intent to Deny or a final denial letter. At best, they will need to file again and pay to USCIS more fees to get it right. At worst, they are now "out of status" and possibly "accruing unlawful presence." Worse still, they have now been placed in deportation and removal proceedings and need to fight harder to be allowed to remain in the U.S.
Many of them could have avoided the heartache, the headaches, the worry, and the added expenses had they simply consulted with a qualified immigration attorney about their case first. The immigration laws (and forms!) can be so complicated that a simple mistaken entry on a form can turn into a major disaster for an immigrant or their family. Many times, the immigrant has rights and benefits under the U.S. immigration laws of which he or she is simply unaware.
Seeking to Enter or Stay in the U.S. With a Visa or As a Permanent Resident?
Information provided by USCIS on the Internet, distributed to the public for free, is often useful for people coming to the U.S. to work, to study, to seek asylum, etc. However, the website and the available immigration forms may not take into account special, unique circumstances that seem to vary with each individual case. The forms on the website cannot anticipate or solve problems that may arise along the way. Information that you obtain from other websites may be out of date.
Be Efficient · Avoid Delays or Denials · Get Answers to Individual Questions
An experienced immigration attorney, on the other hand, offers many advantages to clients with immigration-related legal needs:
- U.S. employers appreciate the efficiency and convenience of working with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer to help their foreign employees obtain or keep their status as legal visitors or immigrants, thus avoiding business losses or stress.
- American citizens and citizens of other countries who plan to marry and live in the U.S. want to satisfy immigration requirements to be together as soon as possible, but making simple mistakes can result in delays of months or years.
- Temporary visa holders or immigrants seeking permanent residence want to avoid making mistakes that could result in administrative denials or unnecessary delays.
- Visitors or visa holders who get into trouble with the law and face possible criminal convictions desire the help of a lawyer that they can trust to advise them correctly regarding the potential impact to their visa or immigration status.
- If you have overstayed your visa, if you face criminal charges, if you have an order of deportation or if you have been interviewed for U.S. citizenship but have heard nothing, an experienced attorney is your best ally.
Discuss answers to the question, "Why Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?" regarding your visa application or application for a green card or citizenship with a Maryland immigration lawyer. At Schifanelli & Associates, LLC, we serve clients living (or planning to live) in Annapolis, Baltimore and throughout the United States. Contact the law firm by phone or e-mail.