Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you wondering whether you need an immigration attorney, how to select an immigration attorney, or how attorney service fees work? Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive.

Do I need an immigration attorney?

As every case is different, it’s difficult to say in an FAQ whether you would need an immigration attorney for your particular circumstances. It’s best to schedule a consultation with us so we can discuss your case and the cost of our services. We offer in-depth knowledge in many areas of immigration law, including marriage and family immigration, employment and business, and a variety of other visas, such as J-1 waivers. If you feel you could use assistance in one of these areas, please contact us.

What if you are unable to accept my case?

If your case doesn’t fall within our area of knowledge or we feel unable to handle your case, we’re happy to provide you with a referral to another qualified firm.

What is AILA?

AILA stands for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, a national organization that is comprised of over 15,000 law professors and attorneys who practice and teach immigration law. Members of AILA work to support the mission of:

  • Promoting justice
  • Advocating for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy
  • Advancing the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice
  • Enhancing members’ professional development

Although it’s not necessary to hire an attorney who is a member of AILA, membership in the organization demonstrates their commitment to staying current with the latest changes in immigration law. At Ranchod Law Group, we closely monitor and review materials and updates from the AILA.

Why do I need an attorney—can’t I just do my own research on the internet?

Although there are some good immigration resources online, relying on them could cause issues for your case. For example, if you file a poorly prepared immigration petition, it could delay your case or affect your chances of getting it approved. The information online could also be outdated or may only apply to the case that is discussed on the forum or blog. Immigration law is very complex; in addition to its complexity, it’s constantly changing. By working with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney, you’ll have the benefit of working with a dedicated attorney who has a comprehensive understanding of the most current immigration laws and how to apply them to your case.

How are immigration attorney fees charged?

Typically, immigration attorneys charge on a flat or fixed-fee basis, while others charge an hourly rate. At Ranchod Law Group, we charge a flat fee for most standard immigration services. With a flat fee, the client agrees to pay a set amount of money for representation on a particular issue, such as securing a J-1 waiver. Flat fees can be very beneficial because they allow you to understand the costs upfront and budget accordingly. For more difficult cases or ones that require more time than usual, we may charge an hourly fee.

Which factors determine the price of an attorney’s fee?

There are a couple of factors used to determine the price of an attorney’s fees. The first factor is the complexity of the case. The more difficult a case is, the more time an attorney will need to spend on it. The second factor is the experience and reputation of the attorney. You can expect to pay higher attorney fees for a lawyer who has 20 years of experience and knowledge in immigration law versus one who has only a few years of experience.

Is there a difference between fees and costs?

“Fees” are the amount you’ll pay for the time an attorney and their staff spend on your case. However, you’ll also be required to pay “costs.” These include additional fees for photocopies of documents, express mail, filing fees, and similar expenses. If you’d like to have a breakdown of costs and fees, please ask us what’s included in the quoted fee, as well as an estimate of other expenses included in the costs.

How should I choose an immigration attorney?

If you’re considering hiring an attorney, it’s always recommended that you do some research on their background and the background of the firm to make sure they have the experience needed for your case. You can do this by checking the information on their website and calling the local State Bar. You can also check the State Bar’s website for the attorney’s name.

Once you’ve found an attorney you’re interested in working with, you should schedule a consultation and get a written quote for the fee they would charge for your case. By scheduling a consultation, you’ll have a chance to meet the attorney, discuss your case, and ask any questions you have.

Taking these steps will allow you to make an informed decision on whether the attorney, their firm, and their fees are right for you. Since the attorney(and their firm) can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case, it’s always best to research as much as possible before
selecting one.

What are immigration consultants?

Immigration consultants offer immigration services, often at a low fee. For clients who have budget concerns, immigration consultants can be an attractive alternative to working with an immigration attorney. However, it’s important to realize that immigration consultants *are not* licensed immigration attorneys. Not only are they not authorized to provide legal immigration advice, but they often don’t have the experience, education, or ethical obligations required by the State Bar Association.

This means that working with an immigration consultant instead of an attorney could have negative consequences for your case; your case could potentially be delayed, or worse, mistakes could be made that hurt your chances of receiving immigration benefits. Some immigration consultants have also accepted client fees and then failed to deliver their services. The issues with immigration consultants have become so serious that many states now have legislation regarding them in place.