Immigration lawyers help people navigate the complex process of obtaining a visa or citizenship. They also work with people who have been deported for violating immigration laws.
Much of the work involves submitting paperwork where even small mistakes can cause delays or ruin chances for success. Immigration attorneys have experience filing these forms correctly and on time.
In accordance with ethical standards of the legal profession and the Code of Professional Responsibility, maintains complete, thorough and accurate client records in a timely manner. Conducts independent and team case audits.
Remains current on immigration law, policies and procedures. Develops professional relationships with stakeholders including representatives from government agencies, Immigration Court and family members and caretakers of clients.
Provides legal consultation, advice and representation to low income immigrants and asylum seekers with cases pending at Immigration Court and the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Conducts outreach and public speaking events. Serves as mentor to staff and supervises interns, volunteers and pro bono attorneys.
Work may be stressful due to traumatic situations, cultural differences and the pressure to obtain immigration relief for people in need. Those in this career must be able to separate work from home and family life. Long hours are typical. Some immigration lawyers may work more than 80 hours per week.
Many people wish to change their country of residence, whether it be for socio-economic reasons or simply because they want to experience life in a new culture. However, there are often complex procedures and legal responsibilities that need to be fulfilled in order for these changes to be successful.
Immigration lawyers are able to advise people on these issues. They can help ensure that the information being provided to the government is accurate and consistent, which can prevent delays or denials due to legal technicalities.
Additionally, Immigration lawyers can work with people on obtaining advance parole, which allows them to travel outside the country without risk of being deemed inadmissible upon return. This is particularly important for those who are adjusting their status or going through removal proceedings in court. Attorneys who specialize in immigration law have a deep understanding of the laws that apply to these cases and know about any potential loop holes that could be used to a client’s advantage.
Many individuals seeking employment-based visas (or employers seeking to hire such individuals) require the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney. These attorneys help individuals navigate the complexities of the H-1B visa program, which allows American companies to employ foreign workers in jobs that require special skills not found in the United States.
Family-based immigration petitions can be complex, with a high chance of error (missing a form or failing to submit the required documentation can seriously hinder your chances of a green card). Your lawyer will make sure that all forms are filled out correctly and submitted on time.
Before hiring an immigration attorney, consult with several to compare their expertise and rates. Most lawyers offer free consultations, which can give you a good idea of how well they fit your needs and budget. Also, look for an attorney who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). This is a good indication that they stay current on immigration law and policies.
Immigration lawyers can help asylum seekers through the lengthy and complex asylum application process. This can include providing guidance on legal terminology and requirements, preparing applicants for their asylum interview and helping them understand their rights.
If an individual demonstrates they have a well-founded fear of returning to their country of origin, the government may grant them asylum. They must prove this to the satisfaction of an Asylum Officer. Immigration lawyers can assist with this process, including preparing the individual for their interview and ensuring that all relevant paperwork is filed on time.
An asylum lawyer can also provide representation during any hearings with the Asylum Office or Immigration Court. This can be a daunting task, as there are many opportunities for error in such proceedings. An experienced asylum lawyer can ensure that all steps are taken to protect the client’s rights and interests. This includes drafting briefs and arguing the case on their behalf.
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