Do I need an immigration lawyer?
Lawyers cost money and not everyone can afford to pay them. The law does not require a lawyer to represent you in any immigration matter, even in a deportation hearing. You are legally entitled to handle all aspects of your case yourself.
However, hiring a qualified lawyer is likely to greatly increase your chances of getting the immigration benefits you are claiming. Immigration law is very complex, and serious problems often arise in places where a person without special training (even a lawyer from another area of the law) would never suspect.
When do you not need an immigration lawyer?
There are several factors that together may lead you to believe that you either do not need a lawyer, or you need something less than full representation. Some of these factors are listed below:
You speak and read English fluently.
The legal research you need to do is not particularly extensive (in other words, you do not have to become an expert to maximise your chances of getting immigration benefits).
It turns out that you are entitled to the benefits you want.
You have no criminal record, no history of problems with US immigration authorities (overstaying your visa, expulsion and so on), and the stakes are low (for example, you qualify for a work permit so that your spouse can earn a little more money).
Even if a few of these factors are about you, the problem is that you may need a lawyer to examine your case and determine whether you need his services – it may not be as simple as it sounds. Keep in mind that there is almost no situation where hiring an immigration lawyer will not at least improve your chances of getting the benefits you want.
Do I need full legal representation for my immigration case? Anbandling
Legal representation is a spectrum. At one end of the spectrum is full representation for an elderly client who cannot even read the immigration forms in English, for example. At the other end of the spectrum are cases where the client prepares the immigration application entirely on their own and the lawyer reviews it and corrects mistakes before handing it over to US immigration authorities.
In between these two extremes is what is called partial representation, a procedure designed to save the client money by delegating only specific tasks to the lawyer. The process of replacing full representation with partial representation is called “anbandling. The legal costs that you save by using anbandling will be equal to the volume of aspects of your case that you are prepared to handle yourself.