Is An Immigration Lawyer Free Consultation Worth It?
The US immigration process can feel a little like a school exam. Passing it matters… a lot. It seems like your entire future is riding on the outcome of this “test” that you must pass. So the question is: “Is an immigration lawyer free consultation worth it?”
It’s human nature to like anything that’s “free.” Why not? It won’t cost you anything, right? Wrong!
Immigration lawyers offer free consultations as a way to get leads and turn them into clients. They are in business to sell their services.
So why does this matter?
Well, the immigration lawyer free consultation will likely give you good information but not enough to make you feel like you can do it on your own. It’s a way for you to get to know this immigration lawyer and see if they are a good match for your case.
If you are serious about submitting your own spouse or fiancé visa petition, check out the Migrant Academy! It’s an online course platform that offers live office hours, a community of couples and an intuitive visa case tracker to let you know when you should be approved.
Don’t rush to find an immigration lawyer. You should do your due diligence to be sure this person is qualified and has good online reviews.
Total Number of US Immigration Lawyers In Practice
The chart above shows the number of US immigration lawyers currently in practice. You can see that the numbers are increasing every single year.
It seems as though the increase could be due to the increased discussions of illegal immigration in the news, but maybe I’m wrong.
Who Should and Should Not Hire An Immigration Lawyer?
Before deciding to shell out the money to hire an immigration lawyer, you should first ask yourself if it’s necessary.
I have nothing against immigration lawyers and I believe they can help. However, I believe that if you have a simple K1 fiancé visa case or CR1 spouse visa case, you can certainly do the paperwork yourself.
What does it take to complete your own USCIS petition?
You may be surprised but your don’t need a law degree to file a family-based US petition. The process is straightforward but many couples are scared of making mistakes.
Lawyers can make mistakes too. They may be less likely since they do this for their job but if you are diligent with your documents and triple check everything, you should be fine.
When I first began looking into the K1 fiancé visa process for myself, I was a bit nervous. There was a lot of information on USCIS.gov website and some of it I simply didn’t understand.
I wanted to know what I had to do in plain English!
But, I knew that we couldn’t afford a lawyer at the time so we chose to spend time researching the the process until we were conformable.
This may not be an option for everyone but I do know that a good majority of you reading this can submit your own petition with a little hard work.
Yes, I said hardworking! This won’t be easy and neither will be easy if your hire an immigration lawyer.
Who Should Hire An Immigration Lawyer?
- You do not have the time to research US immigration
- You would rather have someone else fill out the forms
- You are not comfortable completing forms without a professional reviewing it
- You have enough money in the bank that lawyer fees aren’t a big deal
If you can say Yes to any of the statements above, go ahead and hire an immigration lawyer. Be sure to ask for a free consultation to make sure you are comfortable with them before paying them.
Who Should NOT Hire An Immigration Lawyer?
- You are able to read and understand instructions
- You are comfortable completing your own forms
- You do not have the money to spend on a lawyer
- You have the time to learn about what’s required
If you can say Yes to any of the above statements, you should not hire an immigration lawyer. You can submit your own I-129F or I-130 petition and save thousands of dollars.
I know it seems scary now when you have no experience and don’t know anyone personally that did it. But believe me when I say I’ve been there and came through the other side in one piece!
You can do this! 👍
Related Podcast: Should I hire an immigration lawyer?
File Your Own Spouse Visa Without an Immigration Lawyer?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you CAN file your own CR1 spouse petition!
The process only seems scary because you don’t have the knowledge just yet. Think about when you were young and in school, didn’t math and science seem hard?
What happened at the end of the school year when you passed your math test? It wasn’t so scary anymore now was it?
US immigration is very similar. You have to get comfortable by reading about what’s required and how the process works. Knowledge will help to feel comfortable and confident.
Take me for example.
When I first started my own US immigration journey, I was a little intimidated with the process.
So much paperwork, so many rules, so much evidence! It’s no wonder people run to immigration lawyers with their checkbooks open!
You don’t feel confident in your ability to complete the paperwork properly because you don’t have the experience.
This is simply not true! You can certainly submit your own petition and you don’t need a law degree to do it. You need a willingness to learn about the process and take action.
If you are serious about submitting your own CR1 spouse visa application, check out the Migrant Academy! It’s an online course platform that offers live office hours, a community of couples and an intuitive visa case tracker that let you know when you should be approved.
File Your Own Fiancé Visa Without an Immigration Lawyer?
Petitioning for your foreign fiancé isn’t rocket science.
It’s a step-by-step process that everyone has to complete the same way. Sure, your case is unique based on your circumstances but the same rules apply to everyone.
Whether you are a US petitioners submitting your own I-129F or your are an immigration lawyer submitting it for your client. There is nothing special that anyone can do to get approved.
Some people think that hiring an immigration lawyer will speed up the processing of their I-129F petition.
Let me tell you now, this is not true!
An immigration lawyer doesn’t have special connections within USCIS. Heck, they don’t have any special tools they can use to get your case to the front of line.
Trust me when I say this, you can petition your fiancé without forking over thousands of dollars to an immigration lawyer.
Your Options For Filing The K1 or CR1 Visa
- You can do your own research about the process. This will take some of your time but if money is tight, this may be the best option for you.
- You can join the Migrant Academy and take online courses on the K1 fiance visa and CR1 spouse visa. This saves you a hundreds of hours of research and allows you to get answers from an expert quickly. Enrolling in a course will also allow you to understand the entire process from petition to visa issuance and beyond.
- Paying for automated online software to take your answers to a ton of questions and pasting it into a form that you can print out and mail to USCIS. This option is good if you have trouble understanding the questions on the form. This type of help isn’t personalized and it only takes your answers and pastes it to a form. This can be risky if you make a mistake without understanding the process.
- You can hire an immigration lawyer to complete the I-129F or I-130 petition for you. I still encourage you to double check the information you provided to them to be sure they completed the form correctly. This options can be good for those who have the money but very little time to do it themselves.
If you are serious about submitting your own K1 fiancé visa application, check out the Migrant Academy! It’s an online course platform offering live office hours, a community of couples and an intuitive visa case tracker that let you know when you should be approved.
How Much Does it Cost To Hire an Immigration Lawyer?
The cost of an immigration lawyer can vary based on State, experience, and visa type.
But, there is no sugar-coating here: lawyers are expensive! They went to school for years and years and have a ton of student loan debt, how else could they pay it all back?
Sometimes it seems as if immigration lawyers get clients based on fear.
The fear of being deported back to your home country
Fear of having your visa denied by the US consulate or embassy.
And fear of being banned from entering the United States.
I prefer to use hope and knowledge to encourage you to submit your own petition. Those are not simply words, I truly mean it! There is no space for fear when you have hope and knowledge.
How Much Does An Immigration Lawyer Cost?
I previously wrote about the cost of an immigration lawyer and how much the average one asks for to submit the spouse visa petition or fiancé visa petition.
- I-129F Petition
- Attorney Fee: $2500
- USCIS Fee: $535
- I-130 Petition
- Attorney Fee: $2500
- USCIS Fee: $535
- Department of State Fees: $665
- I-485 Application
- Attorney Fee: $1850
- USCIS Fee: $1,760 (I-130: $535; I-485: $1225)
- I-751 Application
- Attorney Fee: $1600
- USCIS Fee: $680
As you can see, the cost to hire an immigration lawyer is quite high! Not many couples will be able to afford to hire one and that’s okay. I’d say that most couples are able to submit their own petition.
What You Get From An Immigration Lawyer Free Consultation
So, what exactly happens during an immigration lawyer free consultation?
You will get an appointment usually 15-30 minutes long where the lawyer will ask you about your potential case and background. They want to see if you would be the right client for them.
Good lawyers will answer your questions honestly and not simply to get you to pay them.
This is when you want to ask as many questions as possible during your free consultation. Since you are not yet a client they may not be able to answer all your questions or give you specifics but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Questions To Ask During Immigration Lawyer Free Consultation
- What areas of immigration law do you practice?
- How long have you been in practice?
- Have you successfully had cases similar to mine?
- What are my chances of approval?
- How available will you be for questions?
- What is the process of hiring you?
- Will you help me at the interview?
The list above are just some examples of questions that you could ask an immigration lawyer. You should ask whatever questions that you feel are important for your case.
Remember, you should be comfortable with the person you hire if you decide to hire a lawyer.
However, if you choose to submit your own petition, consider the Migrant Academy. This makes do-it-yourself fiancee visa and spouse visa so much simpler, less time consuming and stressful.
Final Thoughts: Immigration Lawyer Free Consultation Worth It?
If you are still on the fence, ask yourself this one question:
Are you comfortable taking control of your own case and doing what’s necessary to get approved?
The reason this question is important is because it will help you decide whether you should hire an immigration lawyer or submit your own K1 or CR1 petition.
Ultimately, it will be your decision which path you choose. But, think twice about making a quick decision without thinking about how this will affect you emotionally and how it will affect your relationship.
Stress is real. You will likely face it while waiting on your spouse visa or fiancé visa application to be approved. It’s how you deal with the stress and long waiting periods that will make or break you.
I’ve been where you are now and I made my decision altering considering the amount of time and money I had at the time. I don’t regret my decision to submit my own K1 visa application.
We got approved and it made us so much stronger as a couple.
I believe you can successfully get approved for your own K1 or CR1 visa and if you’re ready to get started, come check out the Migrant Academy and let’s get on the right path together!
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.