In many instances, applying for a visa is a fairly straightforward proposition that does not require extra help from a paid professional such as an attorney. But there are times when it makes good sense to retain an attorney both while seeking to obtain a visa and after you already have a visa in hand.
While U.S. Customs and Immigration Services officials have streamlined the process for getting a visa in many instances, the paperwork, language barrier and special circumstances that some applicants face can be challenging. And the resulting missteps can be unfortunate and even dangerous when facing deportation or separation due to the failure to get or retain a valid visa.
An attorney can be well worth the fees they charge. In situations such as family-based petitions, the application can grow quite complex from the start. Hiring a professional at the outset should more than pay for itself in saved aggravation, concerns over an incomplete application or an application with an inadvertent red flag on it. Not only can an attorney ensure that all documents are filled out correctly and completely, doing so may mean that the application process moves more quickly, saving as much as two months in processing time.
Check Your Eligibility
Because lawyers also deal with visa issues every day, they can more easily spot grounds for inadmissibility that the average applicant may not even know about.
Some of these grounds of inadmissibility may include:
- Carrier of a communicable disease
- A significant physical or mental disorder
- Drug abuse and drug trafficking
- Multiple criminal convictions
- Participation in state sponsored terrorism, persecution, genocide or other crimes against humanity
- Violations of immigration laws
Even if you are flagged for one of these reasons, in some instances, a lawyer may be able to assist you in getting a waiver, aiding your entry into the United States.
Lawyers can also assist people seeking Temporary Protected Status which offers people from some countries the right to stay in the United States if going back to their own countries is considered dangerous. This might be due to a large scale natural disaster, civil war or any other ongoing armed conflict.
Countries that currently have TPS status include:
Check Your Eligibility
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
Many lawyers specialize in helping travelers secure visas and in all facets of immigration and immigration law. A good place to start looking if you are in need of the services of such an attorney is the American Immigration Lawyers Association, with a website located at http://www.aila.org.