If you need help navigating the complexities of the United States immigration system, it’s highly recommended that you opt for an experienced immigration lawyer. But how much does it cost to hire an immigration lawyer? Here, we’ll explore the costs associated with professional legal assistance, as well as ways to keep those costs well within your budget.
Understand the Factors that Determine Cost
The cost to hire an immigration lawyer can vary significantly based on the complexity of your case, the attorney’s experience level, and the geographic region you live in. More complex cases such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and visa applications may require more hours from the attorney than simpler cases like green card renewals or citizenship applications. Be sure to ask your potential lawyer about any potential additional charges or fees associated with their services.
Know What Types of Fees to Expect
When you hire an immigration lawyer, the attorney should be upfront about what types of fees will be expected. Generally, attorneys charge a flat fee for certain services like Visa applications or green card renewals. Other services may require more involvement from the attorney and thus require more hours billed by the hour. Be sure to ask your potential attorney if they charge a flat fee, by the hour or a combination of both. Knowing what fees to expect beforehand can help you set a budget for your legal needs.
Consider Other Costs Associated with Hiring an Immigration Lawyer
Besides the attorney’s fee, you may also be responsible for other costs associated with your immigration case. These could include filing fees paid to the government and translation fees for documents not written in English. Your lawyer will also be transparent about any additional costs that may arise during the course of your case, such as travel expenses incurred if you are required to attend a court hearing or other legal hearing. Knowing what costs to expect can help you prepare financially before filing a petition or application.
Research Possible Payment Plans or Sliding Scale Fees
Before signing a contract or agreeing to any legal fees, make sure to ask about any payment plans or sliding scale fees the immigration law office may offer. Sliding scales allow you to pay less for your legal services, depending on your individual financial situation. Researching these options before consenting to an agreement can save you money and provide you with ample time to budget better for your legal expenses.
Ask Your Attorney for an Itemized Cost
It’s important to understand the exact costing associated with your immigration case before signing a contract. Request an itemized list of fees and services from your attorney before agreeing to any legal fees. When asking for an itemized list, clarify to the attorney what tasks fall into the hourly charge so you don’t get overcharged or pay unnecessary fees.