If you have immigration questions, you may not think they’re serious enough to contact an attorney – but you still need to get some information. So how do you get information on U.S. immigration law without hiring an attorney? Here’s what you need to know.
How to Get Free Immigration Law Advice From Qualified People
Although there’s no shortage of “advice” online – especially as it relates to U.S. immigration law and all the policy changes that have taken effect over the past few years – it’s important that you get your information from a credible, knowledgeable source. For most situations, that means talking to an attorney.
But you don’t have to hire an attorney to get more information. In fact, there are three simple ways to get solid (and current) information on U.S. immigration law:
- Read immigration lawyers’ blogs
- Get information directly from government sites, such as USCIS and the State Department
- Schedule a free consultation with an attorney
Here’s a closer look at each.
Getting Information from Immigration Attorney’s Blogs
Skilled attorneys know that they provide a valuable service – and that their service isn’t degraded in any way by helping people who may not be ready to hire a lawyer (or who may not be able to afford a lawyer). These attorneys generally maintain blogs that are filled with information you can use to work on your own immigration case or to get the most current and factual information available.
A good immigration attorney’s blog will feature a wide range of information, including things like:
- How to choose an immigration lawyer if you need one
- Things you need to know if you’re in removal proceedings
- FAQ on asylum
Getting Information Directly From the U.S. Government
The U.S. government isn’t known for its efficiency, but its agencies have websites related to immigration, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State. Although these sites can be difficult to navigate, they’re designed to provide people with information about visas, family immigration, green cards and other immigration-related issues.
You can also use U.S. government websites to find specific forms, which you can download, fill out and print to submit to the appropriate agency.
Pro Tip: If you’re searching for U.S. government websites, know that they usually end in .gov (rather than .com). You can also search on military affiliated websites, which end in .mil, or on accredited educational institutions’ websites, which end in .edu.
Scheduling a Free Consultation With an Experienced Immigration Attorney
Most skilled immigration attorneys offer free consultations. During your consultation, you can explain your specific situation to an attorney; the attorney will ask you some questions and give you advice – and if you and the attorney are a good “fit” for each other, you may choose to hire that lawyer to help you with your case.
A free consultation with an immigration lawyer typically goes this way:
- You call, have a videoconference or meet in person to explain your situation.
- You can ask the attorney questions about your case specifically.
- You may also ask about the attorney’s qualifications and experience – which you’ll definitely want to do if you’re considering hiring a lawyer to help you with your case.
- The attorney will review your circumstances and ask questions to get more information.
- The attorney may offer you some advice and outline a strategy that can help you get the best possible outcome.
- You have a chance to decide whether you want to hire the attorney. You don’t have to decide on the spot, either. You can make a decision later.
Many people choose to consult with an immigration lawyer before filing any petitions with the government. That’s because U.S. immigration law is notoriously complex – and one simple mistake can drag a case on for months or years. In the worst cases, an improperly filed petition can result in a denial.
Where NOT to Get Information on Immigration Law
It’s always okay to read the news to get the latest information on immigration law so you can decide how it may impact your case – but it’s not okay to get information from sites that are less than reputable or that have a partisan (political) slant. Some sites pass themselves off as “news” when really, they’re propaganda machines. You should only get your news from nationally recognized sources that reliably provide factual content.
Sites to avoid when you’re researching U.S. immigration law include:
- Wikipedia and other sites that users can edit
- Sites with obvious political leanings in either direction
- Opinion sites that provide insight into feelings rather than facts
You should also avoid getting immigration advice from people who don’t work in immigration law or for government agencies that handle immigration issues. Every case is unique, so although it’s okay to take in other people’s personal experiences with U.S. immigration law, you shouldn’t take advice from anyone who isn’t qualified to give it.
5 Reasons to Book a Free Consultation With an Immigration Attorney Now
There are some circumstances that may make it necessary for you to work with an attorney. If you’re facing any of these issues, you may want to consult with an immigration lawyer immediately:
- Legal proceedings when you are an undocumented immigrant, you’re in the U.S. on a visa or you hold a green card
- Application denial for a green card or citizenship
- Removal proceedings, or a notice from the U.S. government that says you are subject to deportation
- Moving to the United States for a job (or you work for a company that wishes to hire foreign talent)
- Investing in a U.S. business, which may make you eligible for a special type of visa or green card
These are all urgent scenarios, but for many people, the main reason to book a free consultation with an immigration attorney is for peace of mind. When you work with an attorney, you know that there’s an experienced person in your corner – someone who’s been through the immigration process with others and who knows how U.S. immigration law works.
You don’t have to hire an attorney – when you get a free consultation, it’s just that: free, with no strings attached. You can use the opportunity to gather more information about your case. You can also take that time to find out whether the lawyer you’re talking to is a good fit for you; you’ll be able to feel out whether you communicate well with each other, whether the attorney seems genuinely interested in helping you, and whether the attorney is confident that you’ll get the best possible outcome.
Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you choose to hire an immigration lawyer for help on your case – but it never hurts to get a free consultation to gather information. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” The attorney you consult with may be able to give you insight that you need to put in a successful petition and get the immigration decision you want.
Ready for a Free Consultation With an Immigration Attorney?
If you’re thinking about coming to the U.S., you’re in removal proceedings or you have questions about an immigration case you’ve already started, we may be able to help you. Call our office and schedule your free consultation now.