Guide to Finding Virginia Immigration Lawyer

Guide to Finding Virginia Immigration Lawyer

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Guide to Finding Virginia Immigration Lawyer
The immigration process is daunting and carries tremendous risks for those that approach the process inadequately.  There are a number of forms to file as well as hearings to attend and other procedural matters.  Often this sort of immigration work but be completed within time constraints due to impending visa expiration and other deadlines that would have the immigrant  deported or subject to administrative penalties.  You will need a Virginia immigration lawyer to assist you with your case and review the necessary paperwork and petitions to work on your immigration case.  Virginia immigration lawyers can help asylum seekers, green card holders and those that seek naturalization.
How does a Virginia immigration lawyer help my case?
The Virginia immigration lawyer will give you an objective assessment of your case and if you may have violated American immigration law.  You will be able to work with this lawyer on the necessary documents or procedures as well as be aware of impending deadlines to avoid action by immigration authorities.  Those facing the immigration process on their own can expect delays from improperly filed documents or a lack of knowledge on specific aspects of the process.  A qualified Virginia immigration lawyer will not only assist you in the process, but will give a sense of security that your process will be handled by an expert.
What is a green card?
A “green card” is a certification issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services that signifies that an individual is legally allowed to be a permanent resident of the United States.  This proof of permanent residency must be carried by the resident, 18 years and older, at all times and failure to present a green card can result in federal penalties including a fine of $100 and 30 days in jail.  Green card holders may not vote, hold elected office or have jobs in the federal government.  Preferment resident must pay taxes and register with the Selective Service System.  A Virginia immigration lawyer can help you file for a green card.  Failure to hold a green card or valid visa will subject you to deportation.
What are the basic requirements for naturalization?
You must:
Be age 18 or older
Be a permanent resident for five years (although less for some individuals, such as asylum seekers)

o Or be married to a US citizen for three years
Have maintained a continuous residence in the United States
Be able to read, speak and write English
There are exemptions for permanent residents over age 50 or with a disability that hampers their ability to meet the aforementioned requirements.  Individuals that may qualify for these exemptions should consult the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website (uscis.gov) for details about these exemptions.
The naturalization process may begin for permanent residents after five years although those married to US citizens may begin the process after three years of marriage.  Additionally, members of the US military may apply for naturalization after one year of service while active or within six months of discharge.
Once you have confirmed that you meet the requirement for age and residency, you must file a Form N-400 Application for Naturalization.  The questions will ask you about your family, moral character and organizational affiliations as well as reaffirm your eligibility for citizenship. 
Finding a Virginia immigration lawyer
All active and practicing Virginia lawyers must be members of the Virginia Bar.  This ensures the Virginia immigration lawyer you work with will be regulated and adhere to the standards of ethics and professionalism.  You will be able to find a Virginia immigration lawyer through the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service.  You will be charged no more than $35 for an initial half hour consultation with the Virginia family lawyer.  This service operates from 9 – 5 on weekdays and there is no obligation for either the client or Virginia immigration lawyer to meet beyond the initial consultation, making this a low cost alternative to researching individual lawyers.
You will be able to receive information from the VRLS as the referral specialist will help you determine if you truly need a Virginia immigration lawyer.  Often your legal matter is simple and can be solved by working with non-profit legal clinics or with the government.  If this is the case, the VRLS will inform you of a possible non-lawyer solution.  You will also be linked to low cost and pro bono services if you demonstrate such need.
You may use this website to find an attorney using the Find Attorney function at the top of the page.
What must I do to have legal representation in matters dealing with my immigration status?
You may be represented by an attorney, at no cost to the US government.  This representative must submit Form G-28, Notice of Entry or Appearance as Attorney or Representative either with the Form N-400 or at the time of the applicant's interview.
What will I pay for the services of a Virginia immigration lawyer?
You will typically pay flat fees for non-hearing and court procedures.  This includes document and petition preparation as well as case evaluations.  Hourly fees may also apply, depending on the lawyer and the nature of the services rendered.  
You may have to keep the Virginia immigration lawyer on retainer if you will need the services of the lawyer on multiple occasions.  This is common in green card procedures that require multiple hearings and several documents to be filed as well as employee discrimination and other federal cases.  Retainer accounts are a trust account that the client fills and the lawyer bills for services.  The account is refilled at the discretion of the Virginia immigration lawyer.
There are free services as well as legal clinics available for immigration needs.  Pro bono services are limited and are served for individuals that demonstrate sufficient need.  Immigration legal clinics will dispense advice, prepare documents, but will generally not furnish you with legal representation.
Evaluating experience and professionalism
Many states with non-mandatory bar associations and codes of standard professional conduct will be plagued by exploitive and careless immigration lawyers.  As their clients are either lower income or in tenuous legal positions, they do not extend a normal standard of care that is expected by a lawyer to his or her client.  While this represents a tiny minority of lawyers, the risk of such issues should be noted.  If you ever face a situation where an immigration lawyer will charge excessive fees or coerce you into paying more for services, you must contact the Virginia State Bar.  This organization will have mechanisms to ensure that lawyers that engage in wrongdoing are properly sanctioned and held to a professional code of conduct.  Reporting an unscrupulous lawyer will prevent the victimization of other clients in the future.
What are questions to ask Virginia immigration lawyers?
Have I violated any immigration laws?
What are your fees and do you have alternate payment plans?
Can I please have all fees in writing?
Given my circumstances, can you estimate how long before I can file to become a US citizen?
Can we work out an alternate arrangement that suits my economic needs?
Will you be able to provide me with legal representation if I need it?
Those dealing with immigration matters, especially when federal authorities are involved will wanted the services of immigration lawyers in Virginia.  An immigration lawyer in Virginia will ensure that the process to file for a green card or naturalization is followed correctly and will avoid potential penalties against the client.  This means that the immigration lawyer in Virginia must be aware of all relevant deadlines and the proper procedure to fill out the forms.  Immigration lawyers in Virginia tend to deal with a number of immigration-related issues such as labor exploitation and coercion.  These specialized immigration lawyers in Virginia will be able to work with federal authorities and the courts to get you the justice you deserve.  Lastly, immigration lawyers in Virginia will be able to prepare documents for potential immigrants.  There are different forms and procedures that must be followed depending on the type of immigration.  A consultation with an immigration lawyer in Virginia will help you discover useful loopholes and laws that will expedite your immigration matter, such as speeding up naturalization for the spouses of US citizenships.

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