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Nikkiss08

Meeting with an Attorney today

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Filed: Country: Canada
Timeline

I know a lot of you guys tackle this process w/o an attorney, but as one myself (with an entirely different practice area), I'm nervous NOT getting the advice of an attorney.

Are there specific things we should be asking? My husband is adjusting from a P-1 visa that expires in October. We've been married over 2 years, so we get to skip the conditional GC step, which is a nice bonus.

We'll likely proceed without an attorney, but I wanted to sit down with someone and get all my questions about the process answered. Of course I am now drawing a blank.

I dont think that there is anything unusual about our case, but I am definitely having major anxiety about screwing something up along the way and derailing the process.

So if you could have met (or did meet) with an attorney, what questions would you have asked?


Married June 28, 2008

---

AOS from P1

Day 0 (6/19/2012) Package Mailed via USPS

Day 2 (6/21/2012) Package Delivered

Day 8 (6/27/2012) Text/Email Notification that all Petitions Received

Day 8 (6/27/2012) Checks Cashed

Day 13 (7/02/2012) NOAs Received - Dated July 26, 2012

Day 18 (7/07/2012) Biometrics Appointment Ltr Recv'd (Dated 6/29/12)

Day 27 (7/16/2012) Biometrics Appointment

Day 41 (7/30/2012) Text/Email Notification of Interview

Day 69 (8/27/2012) Text/Email Notification of EAD and AP Approval

Day 72 (8/30/2012) Interview Date

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ireland
Timeline

I would ask:

- how much he charges, and does this include filing fees?

- if there is a problem (RFE, NOID etc), does it cost extra?

- how long he thinks the process will take.

- what you need to do (ie gathering birth certs etc).

I would also ask some "trick questions" to see if he knows what he is talking about, such as what his success rate is (if he says 100%, he is lying or new).


Bye: Penguin

Me: Irish/ Swiss citizen, and now naturalised US citizen. Husband: USC; twin babies born Feb 08 in Ireland and a daughter in Feb 2010 in Arkansas who are all joint Irish/ USC. Did DCF (IR1) in 6 weeks via the Dublin, Ireland embassy and now living in Arkansas.

mod penguin.jpg

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
Timeline

Have you read through the forms themselves along with the guides here on VJ? If so, that ought to be the basis for any questions that you might have. If it all seems straight forward then you will be likely able to complete the process yourselves.

This isn't about legal nuance (in most cases), it's about completing paperwork properly and waiting as the file moves through the various stages.

FWIW, I've been through this twice. First with an attorney who did nothing other than gather the needed info from us and complete the forms. (wasn't anything else for the atty to do) That resulted in a successful adjustment of status. Second time I followed the guidance here on VJ and went soup to nuts from K1 visa through Naturalization.

Edited by Anh map

I-864 Affidavit of Support FAQ -->> https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/immigrate/immigrant-process/documents/support/i-864-frequently-asked-questions.html

FOREIGN INCOME REPORTING & TAX FILING -->> https://www.irs.gov/publications/p54/ch01.html#en_US_2015_publink100047318

CALL THIS NUMBER TO ORDER IRS TAX TRANSCRIPTS >> 800-908-9946

PLEASE READ THE GUIDES -->> Link to Visa Journey Guides

MULTI ENTRY SPOUSE VISA TO VN -->>Link to Visa Exemption for Vietnamese Residents Overseas & Their Spouses

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
Timeline

I know a lot of you guys tackle this process w/o an attorney, but as one myself (with an entirely different practice area), I'm nervous NOT getting the advice of an attorney.

Are there specific things we should be asking? My husband is adjusting from a P-1 visa that expires in October. We've been married over 2 years, so we get to skip the conditional GC step, which is a nice bonus.

We'll likely proceed without an attorney, but I wanted to sit down with someone and get all my questions about the process answered. Of course I am now drawing a blank.

I dont think that there is anything unusual about our case, but I am definitely having major anxiety about screwing something up along the way and derailing the process.

So if you could have met (or did meet) with an attorney, what questions would you have asked?

This is a bureaucratic process - not a legal one. It doesn't become a legal process unless you're dealing with serious problems like deportation. There are no courtrooms or hearings, no judges, no motions - only forms and supporting evidence. Getting an attorney to help you read instructions and submit forms is comparable to getting a dentist to help you brush your teeth, or getting a doctor to help you apply a Band-Aid.

Anyway, if you feel you want a consultation with an immigration attorney then you should treat the first consultation like a job interview, and you are the interviewer. You should have at least a basic understanding of what you expect your attorney to do. Your job is to ask questions to determine if the attorney knows what they're doing. If the attorney suggests a course of action which you know is not completely legal then walk away - an attorney who is unscrupulous would be willing to screw you as easily as they would screw the US government. If the attorney suggests a course of action which you know has zero chance of success then walk away - they intend to milk you dry and then toss you aside.

If you really want to throw the attorney a curve ball, ask them for their opinion about a recent controversial ruling in an immigration case. You can read immigration lawyer blogs to find out which cases currently have immigration attorneys all excited. This will give you an idea if the attorney is keeping up with developments in their field of law. It might also give some insight into how the attorney thinks.

Also, I wouldn't tell the immigration attorney that you are also an attorney. They might be more guarded about showing their true colors.


12/15/2009 - K1 Visa Interview - APPROVED!

12/29/2009 - Married in Oakland, CA!

08/18/2010 - AOS Interview - APPROVED!

05/01/2013 - Removal of Conditions - APPROVED!

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Germany
Timeline

I think you received some excellent advice. Jim's, in particular, resonated well with me.

I recently went through the process and had many people tell me that I should consult with an attorney. However, after doing a lot of research on various forums and USCIS sites, I determined that adjusting status really had more to do with being able to fill out a bunch of forms that don't necessarily have the best instructions. Still, I figured that I should be able to do so. It took me one day to fill out all the forms, a week to obtain all my documents (I had to have translations), and then I distanced myself from the entire package for a few days and subsequently reviewed it with a fresh mind. Thousands of people manage to fill out these forms correctly every year and there is no reason that you can't. I think the most crucial part is making sure that you submit ALL required forms - I have heard of people submitting an I-485 without ever submitting an I-130, an action that landed them in deep, deep trouble. Of course, if you don't mind spending the money or don't have any time to fill out the required paperwork, a lawyer can certainly be a great help - as long as you understand that you are paying someone to fill out a bunch of forms.

In my opinion, a lawyer really only needs to get involved if you receive a denial or run into serious trouble along the way. And thus, my questions would probably focus on that potential part of the process. Make sure you understand the degree of experience your lawyer has with such cases. I am sure that he or she will eagerly tell you that they "do this" all the time - but make sure you discern whether "this" is just filling out paperwork or whether it refers to consultation in case of difficulties.

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My husband and I did talk to an immigration lawyer initially, but it was more to do with deciding whether we should do either K1 or CR-1, and if we decided to do CR-1 would it be ok for us to marry in the US while I was on VWP.

I understand your feeling that you want to make sure no mistakes are made in this process, but to be completely honest with you, speaking to that attorney was a complete waste of time and money. It was very quickly obvious that I knew as much if not more about the process than the attorney did, and at that time my knowledge was only coming from having read what is on the USCIS website. Maybe we just found a dud attorney. I can't remember the exact questions, and our case is different to yours, but they were along the lines of: explain the K1 process, explain the IR-1/CR-1 process, processing times for both, what documents/information is required, what do we need to do, what does the attorney do, questions about the legality of marrying on VWP, what do your fees cover (this was the kicker for us - they wanted, I think, $800 - and that was only to get through USCIS - once it was on to NVC/consulate then that would be more).

The fact is, attorneys do very little for straight-forward cases. You will still have to do all the leg-work in gathering the required documents. Besides gathering the documents, the only other thing to do is fill in the paperwork.....so as you can see, there really isn't too much that you need an attorney for.

I will make the assumption that you are more than capable of doing this on your own, seeing as I was able to get through the USCIS stage without any RFE's without any help (at the time we filed the I-130 I didn't even know about VJ either) - and I'm definitely no attorney!

In the end, if it will set your mind at ease, then speak to and/or hire a good attorney. But honestly, I really think you can save yourself the time and money and do it yourself.

I wish you well whatever you decide to do!


USCIS

30 Nov 2010 - Sent I-130 to Chicago

1 Dec 2010 - I-130 received at Chicago

18 Apr 2011 - APPROVED!! NOA2 text and email

NVC

29 Apr 2011 - Case entered into the system/Case number assigned; Medical Exam in Sydney

30 Apr 2011 - Police Check Application sent

2 May 2011 - Called NVC and got Invoice ID number

3 May 2011 - Sent DS-3032 email

4 May 2011 - Received email reply from NVC for DS-3032; Received Medical Exam results

5 May 2011 - AOS invoiced and paid

7 May 2011 - AOS package sent; IV invoiced and paid

9 May 2011 - AOS package delivered to NVC according to tracking

20 May 2011 - RFE for missing IV package....still waiting on Police Certificate!

24 May 2011 - Received Police Certificate after 25 days (so much for 7-10!); IV package sent

27 May 2011 - IV package delivered according to tracking

8 Jun 2011 - RFE for original marriage certificate; requested supervisor review since we KNOW it was in the package!

30 Jun 2011 - SIF and CC - FINALLY!!!!

13 Jul 2011 - Interview date assigned! Scheduled for August 9th @ 10am

9 Aug 2011 - Interview - APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 Aug 2011 - Visa in hand

24 Aug 2011 - POE @ LAX

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Canada
Timeline

My husband and I also spoke initially to a US/Canada immigration lawyer in Toronto for a consultation. We were also debating between K1 vs CR-1, and ended up choosing K1. We thought the advice we got was helpful, but in the end we elected not to use an attorney, as we had a straightforward case with no complicating factors. We've heard that having an immigration lawyer can sometimes slow things down, just because the paperwork goes through an extra step before it goes to Immigration, or also gets back to you!

We had done our research beforehand, so wrote out a list of questions to ask him before we spoke with him. We asked him the pros and cons of K1 vs CR-1, typical timelines, and questions about crossing the border during the K1 process.

In retrospect, we're glad we did not use an attorney (K1 + AOS would have probably cost us $6000 in legal fees alone, not to mention $2000 for K1 + AOS expenses, plus the expenses to visit each other during the K1 process), as we saved a lot of money. However, there were times when having a (good) immigration lawyer would have saved us some time and headache (having someone who knows exactly what to do, which paperwork to obtain, what to take to medical, etc etc can be invaluable). I remember before the K1 interview, and before submitting Packet 3 for K1, as well as before submitting AOS, sitting in the study surrounded by huge piles of papers...I also had to spend a lot of time looking up things on VJ.

Good luck! It is something that anyone can do themselves (provided they have a straightforward case), but sometimes not worth the headache and time. It really depends what you prefer.

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Filed: Country: Canada
Timeline

Thanks for the information and suggestions. We were offered a free consultation as a professional courtesy as the immigration attorney is a friend of a colleague of mine.

I actually found the meeting very helpful. She was able to answer some specific questions I had about the I-131 (and all the other documents, of course). She was also very candid about her personal and professional experiences. In addition, she settled a disagreement between my husband and I regarding travelling to Canada now that we have decided to proceed with his paperwork, but prior to actually filing. He didnt see an issue with it, but I did. It was very helpful to have an uninterested third party agree with me--not just as a "see, i told you so", but from a legal standpoint.

The firm's typical rate for "simple" cases such as ours is about $2000 exclusive of filing fees, obviously, which seems to be on the low end around here, and if we decided to use them, that rate would be further reduced as an additional professional courtesy.

Ultimately, we elected not to have them prepare the paperwork, because like a lot of you indicated, we still have to do the leg work and all they would be doing is filling out the forms, which we are more than capable of doing. I really appreciated the fact that the attorney point blank said that the paperwork is not difficult, it's simply time consuming and she confirmed that we are more than capable of filling in the blanks ourselves.

If nothing else, the meeting was a confirmation that we were on the right track and for the 2 hours we spent talking about the process, it was well worth it in my opinion.

So again, thanks for the advice! I'm sure I'll become a more active poster in the coming weeks and months as we really dive into this process!


Married June 28, 2008

---

AOS from P1

Day 0 (6/19/2012) Package Mailed via USPS

Day 2 (6/21/2012) Package Delivered

Day 8 (6/27/2012) Text/Email Notification that all Petitions Received

Day 8 (6/27/2012) Checks Cashed

Day 13 (7/02/2012) NOAs Received - Dated July 26, 2012

Day 18 (7/07/2012) Biometrics Appointment Ltr Recv'd (Dated 6/29/12)

Day 27 (7/16/2012) Biometrics Appointment

Day 41 (7/30/2012) Text/Email Notification of Interview

Day 69 (8/27/2012) Text/Email Notification of EAD and AP Approval

Day 72 (8/30/2012) Interview Date

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Filed: Timeline

I did went to a lawyer before i file my aos app, first thing i ask is if my case is complicated, how long would it take to process, what are the things im loo king forward too, what happens on the interview. When he said its a very easy case of adjustment of status i then call uscis to ask what forms to fill out and how much eveb though i ask that to the lawyer too, then i read the instructions over and over to make sure i understand it right, vj forum is also a big help


Our AOS Journey

March 4, 2011 Mailed 1-130 and AOS at the Chicago Lockbox thru USPS express mail

March 07, 2011, 9:44 am Delivered at Chicago Lockbox

March 25, 2011 NOA hard copy received

April 1, 2011 got an RFE for sponsors tax returns

April 15, 2011 biometrics appointment

May 12, 2011 rfe sent via usps priority mail

May 16, 2011 rfe recieved at lees summit

May 19, 2011 text/email notification rfe being reviewed

May 20,2011 I-485 touched/updated

May 27, 2011 Email/txt EAD Card Production

June 1, 2011 Email/txt notification for AOS Interview

June 3, 2011 Email notification EAD Card was mailed

June 7, 2011 EAD Card Received

July 6, 2011 AOS Interview *APPROVED*

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Thanks for the information and suggestions. We were offered a free consultation as a professional courtesy as the immigration attorney is a friend of a colleague of mine.

I actually found the meeting very helpful. She was able to answer some specific questions I had about the I-131 (and all the other documents, of course). She was also very candid about her personal and professional experiences. In addition, she settled a disagreement between my husband and I regarding travelling to Canada now that we have decided to proceed with his paperwork, but prior to actually filing. He didnt see an issue with it, but I did. It was very helpful to have an uninterested third party agree with me--not just as a "see, i told you so", but from a legal standpoint.

The firm's typical rate for "simple" cases such as ours is about $2000 exclusive of filing fees, obviously, which seems to be on the low end around here, and if we decided to use them, that rate would be further reduced as an additional professional courtesy.

Ultimately, we elected not to have them prepare the paperwork, because like a lot of you indicated, we still have to do the leg work and all they would be doing is filling out the forms, which we are more than capable of doing. I really appreciated the fact that the attorney point blank said that the paperwork is not difficult, it's simply time consuming and she confirmed that we are more than capable of filling in the blanks ourselves.

If nothing else, the meeting was a confirmation that we were on the right track and for the 2 hours we spent talking about the process, it was well worth it in my opinion.

So again, thanks for the advice! I'm sure I'll become a more active poster in the coming weeks and months as we really dive into this process!

Sounds like the meeting set your mind at ease...so yes I would say the meeting was worth it!

I'm sure you will be fine, and there is some valuable information to be found here on VJ, but as a word of advice....as with anything - don't always take what is written on here as gospel. Much of what is written on here is based on opinion and personal experience (my posts included) and sometimes well-meaning people just get things wrong. What worked for us may not always work for you. So do your research (I'm sure you have plenty of experience with that lol!) and you will be fine!

Good luck!


USCIS

30 Nov 2010 - Sent I-130 to Chicago

1 Dec 2010 - I-130 received at Chicago

18 Apr 2011 - APPROVED!! NOA2 text and email

NVC

29 Apr 2011 - Case entered into the system/Case number assigned; Medical Exam in Sydney

30 Apr 2011 - Police Check Application sent

2 May 2011 - Called NVC and got Invoice ID number

3 May 2011 - Sent DS-3032 email

4 May 2011 - Received email reply from NVC for DS-3032; Received Medical Exam results

5 May 2011 - AOS invoiced and paid

7 May 2011 - AOS package sent; IV invoiced and paid

9 May 2011 - AOS package delivered to NVC according to tracking

20 May 2011 - RFE for missing IV package....still waiting on Police Certificate!

24 May 2011 - Received Police Certificate after 25 days (so much for 7-10!); IV package sent

27 May 2011 - IV package delivered according to tracking

8 Jun 2011 - RFE for original marriage certificate; requested supervisor review since we KNOW it was in the package!

30 Jun 2011 - SIF and CC - FINALLY!!!!

13 Jul 2011 - Interview date assigned! Scheduled for August 9th @ 10am

9 Aug 2011 - Interview - APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 Aug 2011 - Visa in hand

24 Aug 2011 - POE @ LAX

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