Should I Hire An Immigration Lawyer To File My K1 Fiance Visa Petition?
Recently, I’ve received an email from a woman who was filing for a K1 visa for her fiance. She hired an attorney who filled out the paperwork but she chose not to review them before they were sent. Do you know what happened? The petition was rejected because evidence of meeting in the last two years was not submitted.So, before you hire a K1 attorney, read this post and then make a final decision.
When you first begin to think about what is required to submit a K1 visa petition, it can be daunting. There are many documents that need to be included: I-129F forms, tax transcripts, photos, passport pages and evidence of your relationship.
This can make anyone feel like running to their nearest immigration law office for help. Although this option may be useful to those who have more money than time, the majority of people can do it themselves.
You don’t need to know everything about immigration law to file your K-1 visa petition, you just need to know what the USCIS requires from you. This can certainly be done without an attorney but you should understand the entire process.
Better Chance Of Getting Approved With An Immigration Lawyer?
Whether you decide to hire an immigration attorney or submit the I-129F petition yourself doesn’t matter to the USCIS. As long as you have all the required documents and evidence, your petition has a high likelihood of being approved. An attorney can’t do anything that you can’t do yourself.
An Immigration attorney will ask you to gather all these documents for them to put together anyway. If you already know everything that is needed for the I-129F packet, why not do it yourself? By doing all the paperwork yourself, it allows you to be more prepared for the interview.
If you want to cut down on research time, I’d suggest you enroll in my free 6-week K1 visa course.
I’ve seen many couples complete the I-129F petition themselves and go on to get approved for the K1 visa. I know that the amount of paperwork can be overwhelming but if you take your time and stay organized, it shouldn’t be too difficult.
When I was putting together our I-129F petition, it took about 6 weeks to figure it all out and gather all the documents that we were submitting. Yes, it was time consuming and stressful but in the end, it was worth it.
K1 Denied, Should I Use An Immigration Attorney To Appeal?
If your K-1 visa application was denied, it is probably a good idea to get a lawyer involved if you are appealing the decision. Appeals can get complicated and have strict deadlines (30 days).
During the appeals process, you will be asked to state your case in front of an immigration judge and show him why the denial decision was wrong.
In most cases, however, it is better to reapply with more evidence or get married and file the CR-1 visa instead. The reason appealing the original decision made by the USCIS is fruitless is because the immigration judge usually does not overturn a denial.
There is also a hefty fee ($585.00) to appeal the decision which should persuade most people to just reapply instead.
The cost to hire an attorney to appeal a visa denial can be quite high. Below is an example of the fee one law firm charges just to help you fill out the forms and send it to USCIS. That’s $2,500 just to put your petition together and doesn’t include the USCIS processing fee!
Can My Lawyer Attend My Consulate Interview?
This will depend on the specific consulate but in most cases you cannot bring your attorney. Most U.S. consults have strict policies about who can attend a K-1 visa interview and only allow the sponsor and beneficiary.
There may be exceptions so you should contact your local U.S. consulate to find out. Some consulates don’t want anyone except the beneficiary applying for the K1 visa to attend the interview due to limits in seating capacity in the building.
An immigration attorney will not increase your chances of getting approved. K-1 visa approval is based on how solid your evidence is and your genuine relationship. I often hear from people who want to hire an immigration attorney because they feel that it may help their case but it really doesn’t. If you just don’t have the time to put together the petition, then it makes sense to hire a lawyer.
To increase your odds of getting approved, make sure that you supply as much relationship evidence as possible and have your fiance(e) go to the interview with you. Some people refer to this tactic as “front-loading” the case. Basically you want to include every single piece of evidence about your relationship as you can.
Immigration Lawyer Made A Mistake On My I-129F Form
If there was a error on your I-129F petition, you will receive a request for evidence (RFE) from the USCIS. Depending on what type of error it was it may not be noticed until the interview. This is obviously delay your approval by several weeks or months and you should respond to it as quickly as possible.
You will have a chance to correct it but do not send corrected forms until you receive the RFE. Why? Because the RFE will have tracking information so that your response is routed to the right person processing your petition. Just randomly sending documents to USCIS will pretty much guarantee that it will get lost.
You can also call the USCIS and see if you can send the corrected documents to them before it has been adjudicated.
Mistakes are not that big of a deal so don’t stress about it. However, if your lawyer made a careless error on your forms you may want to check them yourself before sending them off. I’ve seen visa denials because of the wrong box checked by an attorney. I’m sure this isn’t something that was intention but more likely carelessness.
Either way, mistakes can cost you big time. This is another reason I feel that it’s better to file your own K1 visa application. You’ll have no one to blame but yourself which ever option you take.
Final Thoughts on Hiring An Immigration Attorney
If you’re still on the fence about hiring an immigration attorney to put together the K1 visa application, I’d suggest interviewing a few of them. Don’t rush to hire someone just because you want to start this process now. Instead, talk to a few lawyers and see if they have a good track record with other K1 visa approvals.
Sometimes you can ask to speak with their previous clients to see if they were happy with the service. As I said earlier, using an immigration attorney will not guarantee K1 visa approval. You are paying someone else to put together the paperwork and give you information about the process. You can also find this information online as long as you rely on reliable sources such as www.uscis.gov.
If money is not an issue for you, hiring an immigration attorney will definitely take some of the stress off of you. They will guide you through the process and fill out the forms correctly (you should still review them). They are also familiar with issues such as criminal history, inadmissibility, and visa denials.