In 2019, the USCIS Chicago Field Office received 12,635 family-based Adjustment of Status applications. This means that roughly 243 applications were submitted per week.
Many of these applications are put together and submitted without the help of an immigration attorney. Why not? Well, legal fees may be one reason. The cost of many basic immigration applications can be a few thousand dollars. The USCIS filing fees, alone, aren’t cheap, and not all immigrants are financially stable enough to afford an immigration lawyer.
We aren’t saying that all of the 12 thousand plus Adjustment of Status applications that were submitted without the help of an immigration attorney were denied, but they certainly weren’t all accepted. In those cases, many applicants who’ve been rejected, or received an RFE (Request for Evidence), rush to hire an immigration lawyer to see their application through successfully. This is because a denial can have severe implications on an immigrant’s future status.
At that point, applicants begin to understand that they should have hired an immigration lawyer from the start. Here’s why:
- You have limited time. Trying to put together a complex immigration application from scratch will take up a lot of your time, and without the necessary knowledge and experience, a rushed application will have a much smaller chance of success.
- You may not know your rights. A seasoned immigration lawyer will know when and where to be a buffer between you, the USCIS, and the adjudicating officer. Sometimes, it’s better to say less.
- Your intentions are good, but you may create legal issues for yourself or your family in applying. Nothing in the immigration process is as straight-forward as you may think. What you understand as information you need to provide, as suggested by the USCIS and all other interpretations of their policies you can find online, may actually get you in trouble.
- Without an immigration lawyer, there’s a good chance your application will take longer to process. Especially over the last few years, new policies and bureaucracy have slowed the family-based Adjustment of Status process. Immigration lawyers know when and how to navigate through such delays.
At the end of the day, if you’re considering whether or not to hire an immigration lawyer for your application, whether you’re on the petitioner or beneficiary side, it’s always a good choice to play it safe and hire one. As a law firm that specializes in immigration, we’re not sharing this advice because new clients generate income – we don’t do it for money. We help our clients legally secure their places in this country they call home. We care. Give us a call if you or someone you know has any immigration needs. Even if you choose not to hire us, we will still point you in the right direction, because we care about you.