Working through the paperwork and processes associated with getting a Green Card can stump even the best educated minds. Those who aren’t familiar with the United States government, how the U.S. legal and immigration system works, or who are limited in their English skills can face an uphill battle when it comes to applying for a Green Card. And if the particular circumstances surrounding your situation are challenging or complicated, the task can be even more daunting.
If that’s the case, then it may be time to seek out an attorney to help guide you through the complexities of becoming a lawful permanent resident.
The range of services an attorney can provide you with may be as simple as completing application forms on your behalf, all the way to representing you at hearings and interviews or when your application is denied.
Check Your Eligibility
Only attorneys or an accredited representative can give you legal advice about what forms you’ll need to submit or what your immigration options are. And only an attorney or a Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative can represent you legally when dealing with USCIS. Before doing so, they must file a Form G-28 with any applications you submit.
Finding an attorney should not be a particularly difficult process. There are several sources you can access to help you with this task. The United States Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals keeps a website listing free immigration legal services providers by state. It can be accessed at Justice.gov.
Similarly, the American Bar Association also has a website that lists members by state, providing you with additional options for legal representation. It can be found at AmericanBar.org.
Before you retain an attorney, you should make sure they are eligible to practice any U.S. state, territory or commonwealth and that they are not under any court order restricting their practice of law. Also verify that the attorney you are considering is a member in good standing of the state bar association where they are licensed.
You can also have someone from a BIA recognized organization represent you (these might include non-profits, religious groups, social service or other charitable organizations), or a law student or law graduate represent you if they are being supervised by an eligible attorney. The BIA also maintains a website of accredited organizations and representatives also on Justice.gov.
Check Your Eligibility
Friends or relatives or business associates may accompany you to your interview, but they will be required to file a statement acknowledging that you personally requested them to be at your interview and they were not paid a fee to do so. Be aware that in some instances, officials may decline these individuals to appear with you at your interview.