How Much Does an Immigration Lawyer Cost?
An immigration lawyer is one who helps people from other countries become legal US citizens. People who want to work legally in the United States must go through a complex application process to become legal citizens. Oftentimes, this process is accompanied by a lawyer who will guide them along the way. Without the help of a lawyer, becoming a citizen will be a much harder and longer process. If you are late on one application or fill something out incorrectly, you may be rejected and have to start the process all over again. If you try to live in the United States as an illegal alien, your life will very tough. You will not be able to get a legitimate job, own a home or car, register your kids for shool, etc. Hiring a lawyer may be an expense, but the hassle that you are saved may be well worth it.
How much is it?
- Depending on the law firm, some lawyers are going to charge by the hour while others may have flat-rate packages. By the hour, plan on spending anywhere from $100 to $250 per hour for an immigration lawyer. If basic forms have to be filled out, this can often cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000. On the other hand, if the lawyer has to prepare a full visa packet, the costs can be anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000. If the case is complex, the fees can reach as high as $10,000.
- According to Nolo.com, the average lawyer will charge around $100 for the initial consultation and around $100 to $350 per hour. However, if there are flat rate packages, it can range from $700 to as much as $3,000.
- Immigrationlawnj.com claims that the process can range anywhere from $2,500 to as much as $10,000. The cost is going to depend on the type of case, lawyer, and the complexity of your case.
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What is going to be included?
- Before the attorney works on the case, he will require an up-front fee, also known as a retainer. Once this money is gone, they will require more before proceeding. Because you may not be a legal citizen yet, they have no legal guarantee of getting your money; this is the reason that they often require payment up front.
- An immigration lawyer can help get an employment based visa, family based green card, represent you in court and help fill out any necessary forms. Basically, he will be legal representation as you become a citizen in the United States. He will advise you on what papers you need to fill out, when to file certain things, what to say when being interviewed, etc.
What are the extra costs?
- The prices listed above are for the attorney fees only. The actual immigration process is an entirely separate cost.
- With most cases, an attorney will require a deposit and United States Citizenship fees to proceed with the case. USCIS filing fees can range anywhere from $0 to as much as $1,000
- per form. On average, most people who apply for a visa will pay upwards of $2,000. Refer to the fee chart below.
- Rush processing can cost an additional $500 to $1,000. Without the rush processing, it can take upwards of six months to process the forms.
- If an appeal, waiver or motion happens during the case, this can be an additional $1,000 to $6,000 on average.
- If a lawyer charges an initial consultation, this can cost $100 to $250.
- Adding additional family members to the process can increase the fees.
|Adjustment of Status||$1,000|
|Employee Green Card||$600|
|Family Green Card||$400|
NOTE: These are filing fees only and do not include lawyer fees.
Tips to know:
- Make sure you read the contract over before signing anything. It is important to know the amount for which you are going to be responsible before the lawyer works on your case.
How can I save money?
- Some immigration lawyers may offer a free consultation, while others may charge around $100 to $200 for a 20-minute consultation. Try to talk with at least three to five lawyers before deciding on one. Be sure to discuss their pricing and look into their experience. To find lawyers in your area, consider using services such as LegalMatch.com.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, check your local city or state to see what kind of low-cost resources they offer. Even if you cannot afford a lawyer, it never hurts to talk with one. Many are able to work around your financial situation.
- While it can be tricky, consider learning how to file the papers on your own. A lawyer is able to help you with the process; however, he will not be able to speed it up.
- Check for any available government assistance in the area of immigration.
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