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My experience using a lawyer for K-1 visa

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So I used a lawyer for my K-1. Maybe a lot of you experienced this, as soon as you are engaged and the visa topic comes up, everyone is like "You should use a lawyer". There's some misconceptions that a lawyer would make it go faster (they "know" people), the paperwork is tricky and it needs to be perfect or we'll never be able to live together.

My fiance (USC) and pretty much all our family and friends agreed we need to use a lawyer. I wasn't keen on it (I like to save money). But I agreed so my fiance found one and booked to see em. For that week waiting for the appointment, I starting googling around, found VJ, printed off all the I-129f and got cracking, then ditto for Packet 3 stuff when that time came so I knew the process/paperwork. I even filled out my own paperwork ahead of time to compare and understand what is needed (*cough* control freak *cough*). When they were doing the paperwork, I'd get a list of all the information they needed, that corresponded what was needed on the forms.


+ If you hate filling out forms, hey, they do it for you. Pretty brainlessy simple. Hey, that G-325a.. they somehow got long entries typed in that I couldn't squeeze in when I tried doing it myself.

+ They organized everything perfectly and in the order the consulate wanted it in. At my interview, the interviewer was very impressed how my things were organized and made his life easy. Hell my life was easy. I just stuffed it into a folder and brought it there. The whole process seemed streamlined.

+ The amount of things I sent as evidence didn't seem much to what I see on VJ (no 100 pages of chat logs and 50 pictures) but lawyer knew what was required for a canadian/usc couple. We had boarding passes, passport stamps, flight interaries, a couple emails and like 6 pictures.

+ I could see if you had no time to do the paperwork, I did find there was less work if the lawyer did it (and if there was no revisions needed).

+ a sense of informational control - my fiance asked a lot of questions to the lawyer and felt more comfortable about the process vs. online forums/google advise as it came from a professional.


- I estimated for waiting for my fiance to have appointments, lawyer only working during business hours, revisions back and forth, it added maybe 3-4 weeks :blink: to our case than if we just hammered out the paperwork over a weekend for each round of paperwork. So much for having a lawyer "make it go faster". Also when I worked business hours I could never get a response to the lawyer in time before they leave for the day, thus adding more time.

- revisions were annoying. I mean, I put down XXXXXX and it is misspelled/wrong on the paperwork when the lawyer deals with it. Ya tell em, you wait, the next day or 2 they fixed it, you check it, theres more things wrong/or missed errors the first time. It happens when you do it yourself, but more likely you'll miss boxes vs spelling everything wrong that you'd never spell wrong (names, cities). The package I had for my interview had stuff missing/errors on it, with only a day until the interview! The lawyer however dealt with it efficiently and was wonderful to own up to it.

- communication was an issue. Maybe it would be easier if the lawyer was on the beneficiary's side? Communicated through email was tricky and time consuming.

- Using VJ I found helpful as I knew what fellow peeps (especially Canadians) had to deal with recently with wait times and using Igor's list to judge when my NOA2 would come (was pretty accurate in my case). Lawyer was not up to speed on wait times for my consulate in particular (don't blame them, they work with many other couples from other countries, not just Canada).

- cost. I don't know how much this costed and I dont' want to know but it was probably pretty bad. More money than a few weekends with paperwork, delivered pizza on both ends and skype calls.


We could of done it ourselves and probably would of went faster (in my opinion). But my fiance did enjoy just sending his info and sitting back letting it be taken care of as he had no time to do it personally (and was able to email tag/phone call during work hours vs. me who couldn't due to the nature of my work). From his end, it went well. But oddly, they made WAY less mistakes on his information vs. mine. Maybe it would of been reversed if the lawyer was in my country.

I hope that helps a few people who are new. I see a lot of "You don't need a lawyer!" stuff, but hey, it is a DIY minded forum, but maybe for some people they don't have the time or need to go this route due to their case.

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Thanks for your review!

K-1 Visa Timeline AOS Timeline

- Aug 31st, 2011 - Mailed I-129F package - May 29th, 2012 - Mailed AOS/EAD/AP package

- Apr 13th, 2012 - Visa received - Aug 24th, 2012 - Green Card received

ROC Timeline

- May 19th, 2014 - Mailed ROC package to CSC

- Aug 8th, 2014 - Green Card received

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