It seems easy to think about the prospect of immigrating to a new country and starting a new life altogether. However, the reality especially hits hard when you start to factor in all the costs and expenses you’ll need to push through it. Before migrating overseas, money is an essential aspect you have to keep in mind, especially since the immigration process can be quite costly. After that, you’ll also have to think about living expenses which you will need for your day-to-day.
This is also the exact reason why some people tend to be adverse to hiring a US immigration attorney to help with their application. While it’s true that these professional lawyers assist you with your visa applications like spouse visa or student visa, among many other things, many are still discouraged by the additional cost that comes with hiring lawyers.
However, hiring a US immigration lawyer to help you throughout your immigration experience offers perks that far outweigh its costs. Considering the complexity of the immigration system, you’d want to have a professional to rely on when it comes to understanding legal matters and someone to offer you valuable advice when making important decisions.
If you’re still on the fence about hiring an immigration attorney, here is a breakdown of the usual costs associated with hiring one.
Hiring immigration lawyers
Contrary to initial perception, immigration lawyers aren’t the most highly paid professionals among attorneys. Immigration lawyers recognize the challenges that come with obtaining a visa and legal entry to the US, which is why they tailor their rates according to the client’s specific needs. As the years pass, many have adopted a tradition of charging flat fees instead of hourly rates, though you might still see other attorneys practice the latter. Nonetheless, this means that even though your lawyer spends many hours defending your case to the immigration authorities and there are no issues, you’re not obligated to pay extra for their service.
The first question that comes to mind when hiring immigration lawyers is: do you need to pay for the consultation?
When you’re still in the process of interviewing and choosing the lawyer best suited to your situation, you will initially need to schedule consultations with more than one lawyer. For this reason, expect to pay an initial fee of around $100 to 400 for it.
However, there are still some lawyers who offer consultations for free. But this has drastically changed over the years since some realize that they can’t afford to spend their time like this, considering that numerous immigrants tend to have no remedy or visa available to their case. This means that the lawyer often gets stuck with no work despite giving an initial consultation for free.
When looking for a prospect layer, be ready to pay an appropriate fee for the consultation but do away with signing contracts before you feel sure that you have indeed found the right lawyer for our case. You’ll need to consult with at least two or more lawyers first before making a final decision. You’d want your application to be in the right hands so that your payment will be worth it.
Immigration Attorneys Usual Rates
Lawyers who go by an hourly rate charge around $100 to $350 per hour usually. However, the fees for hiring immigration attorneys usually vary and aren’t often hinged on a fixed rate. This varies depending on your location, your situation, or the lawyer’s credibility. For instance, immigration attorneys’ typical rates vary by region in the US. Because of this, you might find it helpful to compare prices from different areas.
The fee range for a fiance visa in Northern California, for example, ranges from between $740 to $2000. This isn’t inclusive yet of the application adjustment status that you will need afterwards. Meanwhile, a typical marriage-based application can cost you roughly $800 to $400 in the same region.
For those who are in deportation court proceedings, immigration lawyers tend to charge you depending on what they think needs to be done. These may include filing motions, representing you in court, bond hearings, negotiating with government lawyers, and filing several applications for relief from deportation, among many others. The total fee for this situation is at least $1 500 minimum, but complex cases can shoot as high as 10 000. Expect to pay additional fees if you need to appeal your case further, as this would entail more services from your immigration lawyer.
Keep in mind that attorneys who work under large law firms will charge a lot more than independent immigration lawyers. This is because big law firms tend to have overhead costs that they require to recover, which are then passed to clients like you. But these large law firms also hire competent lawyers with their firm’s resources and full support so you can guarantee quality services regardless.