Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer?
The United States has a vibrant and diverse culture because of its long history of welcoming foreign nationals to its shores to live and work here. Immigrants from every country seek permanent residency and, in many cases, U.S. citizenship for a variety of reasons, but whatever the reason, the individual immigrant will in every instance have to deal with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), the U.S. government agency that is charged with the processing of immigrant and non-immigrant benefits provided to visitors to the United States. (The functions performed by the BCIS were formerly performed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
Whether you will need an immigration attorney will be determined by your reasons for entering the United States and your background. If you just want to visit, you may not even need a visa. Check with a U.S. consulate or embassy in your country to determine the visa requirements. Many individuals who immigrate based on family relationships negotiate the process without an attorney. If you are coming to the United States as a result of a job offer from a U.S. employer, your prospective employer will probably either hire an attorney to do the work or use someone on staff with specialized training in immigration procedures. In many instances, you may consult an attorney because you are overwhelmed or frustrated by the process of obtaining a green card and have been unable to obtain assistance from the BCIS (or the former INS).
If you are uncertain as to whether particular reporting or registration requirements apply to you, if you fear that there is something in your background that may prohibit you from obtaining a green card, or if you have been contacted by a U.S. government immigration enforcement agency and threatened with deportation, it is well worth it to seek advise from an attorney before further contact with the government.