Many of my clients ask if it is necessary to have an attorney assist them with a particular application or if they can self-file an immigration application. Before you make the decision regarding whether you should self-file or retain an attorney, consider the following.
Many factors that are looked at by the various agencies involved even in a “simple” I-130 are not all apparent from the simplicity of the forms.
For example, do you know that as a sponsor, your taxes as well as your co-sponsor’s taxes are scrutinized for accuracy?
Did you know that your immigration application can sometimes have an impact on your non-immigrant visa? A small irregularity in any of the forms or supporting documents can throw off the whole application.
Here is a situation that is highly unfortunate, but not uncommon: Someone is a beneficiary of a long awaited application, such as a brother-sister application. Due to an irregularity, they get a Request for Evidence (RFE). The RFE does not state any specifics and simply says “Please submit all supporting documents.” The petitioner ignores it as a “Standard letter” due to the vagueness of the language. The application, which has been on hold for years and years, is now denied. A 30 day window is given for an appeal.
This is usually the point at which the client finally decides to seek attorney advice. The problem is that the attorney cannot file an appeal since an appeal is most appropriate for a LEGAL error. It is usually not filed for correcting your own failure to submit a requested document or a correct document. However, as a last resort, to avoid having to wait in the line again and filing a brand new petition, the clients want to try whatever is possible. Now, even if the attorney decides to file the appeal to test it, a number of problems remain. 1) The appeal may not be approved 2) The attorney fees will likely be very high due to the short time window available and the intensity of preparation required for an appeal and 3) The appeal takes a long time to be adjudicated, and can result in MANY sleepless nights for the clients.
The remedy? Get your self-filed applications double-checked. A small investment in your immigration applications is an investment in YOUR FUTURE. Many of us would gladly pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in our education, and yet we risk all of our futures for a couple of hundreds of dollars by failing to contact an attorney for assistance before filing.
As an attorney, the worst feeling is the feeling of being helpless to help a client. I wish to avoid this disaster for all those I can, and therefore we offer a “review-only” service along with our regular immigration law services in order to ensure that you are able to prevent a problem before it occurs. We can review applications for anyone who has internet and can upload necessary documents by email. Therefore, while we are located in Chicago, IL, it is not necessary for the client to be local in order for us to review an application. Give us a call if you are interested in finding out more information at 773-825-8695.