I am writing this post because I was contacted by someone who was considering submitting an I 129 petition as the first stage of the K1 fiance visa process and asked my opinion on this topic and I thought it deserved a full answer.
It is a question that I think many people ponder before they embark on the process, but before I go through the pros and cons of do I need a lawyer, I will tell you what my wife (finance the time) and I decided with regard to this matter and why we came to the decision that we did.
Basically, we decided against getting a US Immigration lawyer for three reasons.
- Firstly, I have several years of experience of working with immigrants to the UK, which is not the same as US immigration, but similar enough to give me confidence in dealing with the USCIS procedures.
- Secondly, we would have struggled to afford the expense of a lawyer, even if we wanted to.
- Thirdly, there were no particularly
difficult complications that we could foresee, for example, I do not have
a criminal record, I’d not been turned down for a US visa previously, and we
felt able to demonstrate that we were in a genuine relationship.
Pros of getting a Visa Lawyer
- If the visa lawyer is any good, he or she will know the procedures and legislation inside out. They will also have experiences of dealing with glitches and major problems.
- The lawyer can give you general advice on things such as time schedules and filling in the application forms, collecting evidence for your I 129 etc.
- The visa lawyer can help you with complications, such as past criminal records, concerns over medical conditions, or visas being refused in the past.
- The lawyer can deal with the USCIS authorities on your behalf.
Cons of getting a Visa Lawyer
- The expense is the main thing that puts people off getting legal advice. Getting a lawyer can be expensive. You might need one, however, if there are complications, such as a criminal record, or there have been visa problems in the past.
- It is possible that having a visa lawyer might slow the process down slightly. For instance, if you send your application forms to them to be checked before they are sent on to the USCIS, it might several days onto the overall processing time. They could also save you time, however, by preventing mistakes!
- If you are in doubt, you can always enquire to find out how much a visa lawyer is likely to cost you and what services they offer in return. You can always say no.