This FAQ section is meant to provide answers to common questions we encounter about our immigration practice.
1) What types of immigration cases do you take?
We are equipped to take any type of immigration-related case including Lawful Permanent Residency (Green Cards – via family-based or employment-based petitions), Naturalization applications, temporary work visas (H-1B, L, O, P, etc.), and any matter in Immigration Court (removal defense, bond hearings, etc.).
2) Do you charge for the initial consultation?
For the first 10 minutes or so of the initial telephone conversation, we will gather information from you to determine both (1) if we can help you, and (2) if you are a good fit with our firm. These first 10 or so minutes are free of charge. We cannot give legal advice during this first 10 minutes.
If we schedule a subsequent consultation, we will charge $190 per hour, with a 30 minute minimum. That means that if your consultation lasts only 30 minutes, you pay only $95. If your consultation lasts only 10 minutes, you still pay $95. We accept cash, checks, and credit/debit cards (Visa/MasterCard only).
3) Do you accept cases outside Washington State?
Yes; immigration law is a matter of federal law, not state law. Any immigration lawyer in any state may practice immigration law in any other state in the United States. However, if your case involves appearances in Immigration Court in a state other than Washington State, we suggest that you retain an experienced immigration attorney who can easily make appearances in that court.
4) What is your attorney fee for your legal services?
Each immigration-related matter we handle requires a different fee. During our consultation and after analyzing your case, we will provide you with a price quote for your particular situation. For most immigration-related matters, we will charge a “flat fee,” meaning that you will know exactly how much you will have to pay, with no surprises. Hourly fees are rarely used in immigration-related matters, but if we do require an hourly fee, our rate is $190 per hour. Usually only those cases where there is no clear end in sight will require our attorney work to be done by the hour.
1) My spouse, child or family member is in the U.S. illegally. Is it possible for you to make them legal?
Yes, this may be possible. Your family member may be able to get his/her green card in the U.S. or through a U.S. Consulate abroad. Each case is different, and we must evaluate your unique circumstances before giving legal advice.
2) I am in the U.S. but I entered without inspection. Can I become “legal”?
It may be possible for you to gain some type of lawful status even though you entered without inspection. In 2012 a new program called “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (“DACA”) was implemented which allows certain young individuals to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”).
3) My U.S. citizen spouse is in the military and is going to be deployed abroad. Can I receive expedited Naturalization?
You may be able to receive expedited Naturalization, but there are a number of other requirements you must meet in addition to being the spouse of a U.S. citizen military member. For example, you must declare that you will live with your spouse abroad (where s/he is deployed) for at least one year. Not all spouses are eligible to live with their deployed military spouses, since many are located on ships, submarines, etc.
1) I received a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court. Will I be placed in Removal Proceedings?
If you received a Notice to Appear (“NTA”), then you are already in removal proceedings. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for certain forms of relief, including Cancellation of Removal, Withholding of Removal, Asylum, or Naturalization. If you have a criminal history, it is important to have an immigration lawyer evaluate whether there is any relief available to you in spite of your past criminal conviction(s).
2) I am in Removal Proceedings, but I have a criminal conviction on my record. Will I be eligible for any forms of relief?
If you have a criminal history, you may become ineligible for many forms of relief from removal depending on the nature of your criminal conviction(s). Before we can assess your case, we will need to see a certified copy of the “judgment and sentence” and other relevant court files from the court that convicted you. Sometimes individuals with an “aggravated felony” (a federal term of art that can include numerous state-level crimes) can file a “post-conviction petition” with the court that convicted them to have the sentence reduced to less than one year, which can be enormously beneficial with regard to immigration, as it may mean that they become eligible for relief from removal.