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Sorry if this has been posted before, I've searched but can't find a thread of someone asking the same question. Basically, what is your advice on a lawyer, is it needed or not necessarily? I was resigned to spending $2,000 on one, but after finding this site and talking with some people it sounds like it's not very necessary. I plan on being very thorough with my stuff so don't want to pay extra money unless necessary.

 

Thanks

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This question if often asked here.  It really depends on your situation and desires.  VJ is a self-help site with members willing to share advice and experiences to help other members, so if your case is fairly simple, I would say a lawyer is not necessary.  Some people feel having a lawyer will give them peace of mind while going through the process, so it is really up to you.  If you have questions while filling out your application, don't hesitate to ask them in the appropriate forums, and I am sure there are members that will be willing to give you advice.  If you have a difficult case, then you might want to hire a lawyer (criminal history of either party, previous overstays, or other red flags).

 

Good Luck!

 

 


Visa Received : 2014-04-04 (K1 - see timeline for details)

US Entry : 2014-09-12

POE: Detroit

Marriage : 2014-09-27

I-765 Approved: 2015-01-09

I-485 Interview: 2015-03-11

I-485 Approved: 2015-03-13

Green Card Received: 2015-03-24 Yeah!!!

I-751 ROC Submitted: 2016-12-20

I-751 NOA Received:  2016-12-29

I-751 Biometrics Appt.:  2017-01-26

I-751 Interview:  2018-04-10

I-751 Approved:  2018-05-04

N400 Filed:  2018-01-13

N400 Biometrics:  2018-02-22

N400 Interview:  2018-04-10

N400 Approved:  2018-04-10

Oath Ceremony:  2018-06-11 - DONE!!!!!!!

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A lawyer is not needed unless you have complicating circumstances or a debilitating fear of paperwork.


If it isn't difficult, it isn't worth it.

 

K1 process

9/24/15: I129f sent

9/30/15: NOA1

11/2/15: NOA2

Delayed processing due to work

3/15/16: Medical

4/28/16: Interview (approved)

Delayed entry due to work

8/12/16: POE Detroit

 

9/4/16: Wedding!

 

AOS process:

9/9/16: I485/I131/I765 sent

9/14/16: Received 3xNOAs by text/e-mail (day 2)

9/14-18/16: Received 3xpaper NOAs 

9/23/16: Received biometrics appointment letter (day 11)

10/3/16: Biometrics appointment (day 19)

11/4/16: EAD+AP approved (day 53)

11/16/16: EAD status changed to card shipped (day 65)

11/17/16: EAD/AP combo card received (day 66)

12/30/16: Notice of interview scheduled (day 109)

2/1/17: AOS interview (day 142) - APPROVED

2/8/17: GC received (day 150)

 

ROC process:

11/3/2018: ROC window opens

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12 minutes ago, Bill & Katya said:

This question if often asked here.  It really depends on your situation and desires.  VJ is a self-help site with members willing to share advice and experiences to help other members, so if your case is fairly simple, I would say a lawyer is not necessary.  Some people feel having a lawyer will give them peace of mind while going through the process, so it is really up to you.  If you have questions while filling out your application, don't hesitate to ask them in the appropriate forums, and I am sure there are members that will be willing to give you advice.  If you have a difficult case, then you might want to hire a lawyer (criminal history of either party, previous overstays, or other red flags).

 

Good Luck!

 

 

 

I assumed it was, just couldn't find a thread for it! I think ours will be a pretty straightforward case (lots of face time, I meet the financial requirements, she's not a murderer lol) but not sure if there really were any advantages to having a lawyer.

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Just now, useful89 said:

 

I assumed it was, just couldn't find a thread for it! I think ours will be a pretty straightforward case (lots of face time, I meet the financial requirements, she's not a murderer lol) but not sure if there really were any advantages to having a lawyer.

You will only get anecdotal stories here.  Sometimes lawyers are helpful, and sometimes they can do more harm than good.  When I did my wife's (fiancé at the time) K1, we also had a very straightforward application and I actually had a lawyer look over the package before I sent it in.  He was a friend of my cousin and he told me there was no reason to use him or his firm for this application as it is simple.  I appreciated that as it saved me a lot of cash, and with the help of the VJ community, we have gone through the AOS and now ROC steps with little difficulty.

 

Good Luck!


Visa Received : 2014-04-04 (K1 - see timeline for details)

US Entry : 2014-09-12

POE: Detroit

Marriage : 2014-09-27

I-765 Approved: 2015-01-09

I-485 Interview: 2015-03-11

I-485 Approved: 2015-03-13

Green Card Received: 2015-03-24 Yeah!!!

I-751 ROC Submitted: 2016-12-20

I-751 NOA Received:  2016-12-29

I-751 Biometrics Appt.:  2017-01-26

I-751 Interview:  2018-04-10

I-751 Approved:  2018-05-04

N400 Filed:  2018-01-13

N400 Biometrics:  2018-02-22

N400 Interview:  2018-04-10

N400 Approved:  2018-04-10

Oath Ceremony:  2018-06-11 - DONE!!!!!!!

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If you are good at following directions, all you need is listed in the guide. It's overwhelming at times, so take a deep breath and come back with questions if you have any.

 

Here's the K1 guide http://www.visajourney.com/content/k1guide

 

All guides are located at the top of this page, on the menu underneath the logo. 

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I've read multiple incidents here on VJ where lawyers actually made mistakes that ended up setting back the whole processing and resulting in more time and money. So, ironically sometimes having a lawyer ends up being a negative and not a benefit.

 

If your case isn't complicated and you have enough time to deal with the paperwork/research involved, it's worth doing it yourself. If you do go with a lawyer, make sure it's someone experienced and trustworthy.


03639.png                  

                  🇷🇺  ♥  CR-1 via DCF in Moscow! ♥  🇺🇸

Spoiler

26-Jul-2016: Married abroad :3
21-Dec-2016: I-130 filed at Embassy
29-Dec-2016: I-130 approved! Yay! 

17-Jan-2017: Case number received :]

21-Mar-2017: Medical Exam completed

24-Mar-2017: Interview - approved!

29-Mar-2017: CR-1 Visa received (via mail)

02-Apr-2017: USCIS Immigrant (GC) Fee paid

28-Jun-2017: Port of Entry @ PDX

21-Jul-2017: No SSN after three weeks; applied in person at the SSA

22-Jul-2017: GC arrived in the mail

31-Jul-2017: SSN arrived via mail, hurrah!

                     I-90 GC Replacment (for Erroneous GC)

Spoiler

22-Jul-2017: GC arrives in the mail – middle name is cut off 😕

01-Aug-2017: Sent in I-90 online via website

05-Aug-2017: Biometrics scheduled

23-Aug-2017: Biometrics done @ USCIS office; kept GC!

16-Jul-2018: RFE for supporting docs!! D:<

31-Jul-2018: USCIS Appointment at local field office..

22-Aug-2018: Mailed GC back to USCIS in response to RFE

29-Aug-2018: GC received by USCIS

17-Sept-2018: Received CORRECTED GC in the mail! Finally!!

 

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We did not use a lawyer either, and got approved for my fiance's K1 Visa last month.

With that being said, our case was very easy: never married previously, no dependents, no criminal records, plenty of in-person meetings with proof, plenty of finances, and a low immigration risk country in Canada.

I think using a lawyer for immigration would be akin to using a CPA to file your US taxes.  If you have one job, not many assets or dependents: filing your taxes on your own is pretty easy.  Conversely, if you own a business, have employees, have rental properties, a house, an ex-spouse - it would be wise to use a CPA.

If you would consider your relationship with your fiance pretty straight forward, by all means, you can do it on your own.
 


K-1 Visa Journey

11/14/2016: K1 Visa Application Mailed To Dallas Lock Box

11/17/2016: K1 Visa Application Received Date

11/22/2016: Check Cashed By US Dept of Homeland Security

11/22/2016: Received NOA1 Text and Email - USCIS California Service Center

11/23/2016: Received NOA1 Hard Copy In The Mail

02/07/2017: Received NOA2 Approval Online - 77 Days From NOA1 Date

02/11/2017: Received NOA2 Hard Copy In The Mail

03/03/2017: Case Received By NVC

03/08/2017: Called NVC And Received Case # and Invoice # - CEAC Website Shows Case Is "Ready"

03/09/2017: Downloaded Packet 3 From Canadian Consulate Website - Emailed Packet 3 at 12:30am PST

03/09/2017: Received Return Email Packet 4 at 1pm PST

03/09/2017: Scheduled Interview Per Packet 4 Instructions

04/19/2017: K1 Visa Interview At Montreal US Embassy - Visa Approved - 148 Days From NOA1 Date

04/26/2017: CEAC Status Changed From "Administrative Processing" To "Issued"

04/28/2017: Visa In Hand

05/28/2017: POE Peace Arch Crossing - Blaine, WA USA - Experience Was Very Friendly And Welcoming

07/14/2017: Wedding Day

 

AOS Journey

08/19/2017: AOSEAD, AP Mailed To Chicago Lock Box

08/29/2017: Check Cashed By US Dept of Homeland Security

08/30/2017: Received NOA1 Text and Email For AOS, EAD, AP

09/05/2017: Received NOA1 Hard Copies In The Mail For AOS, EAD, AP

09/19/2017: Biometrics Completed

09/26/2017: USCIS Website Shows "Interview Ready To Be Scheduled By USCIS"

11/20/2017: Received EAD and AP Approval Letters

12/04/2017: Received EAD/AP Combo Card

12/07/2018: Received Text notification AOS interview has been scheduled

01/09/2019: AOS Interview Date

 

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If your case is simple (and it sounds that way), then a lawyer isn't needed and may be more hard than good. You would just be telling them information that they then fill into the forms...it's just one more spot for things to go wrong. If there were some concerns/complexities with your case, then having a lawyer can come come in handy.


Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/17/18: Approved

10/24/18: Green card produced

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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If your case isn't complicated by a criminal past etc I see absolutely zero reasons to put your future in the hands of someone else.

 

Most often people who hire lawyers end up not understanding the immigration process at all, they just put everything on the lawyer and when the lawyer fucks up they don't realize until it's too late. "Oops, we got denied. Our lawyer received an RFE letter and never mentioned it to us!", it happens more often than you'd think. 

 

Know the whole process yourself, do everything yourself, you're safer that way.


K-1: 12-22-2015 - 09-07-2016 (260 days)

AP: 12-20-2016 - 04-07-2017 (108 days)

EAD: 01-18-2017 - 05-30-2017 (132 days)

AOS: 12-20-2016 - 07-26-2017 (217 days)

 

ROC: 04-19-2019 earliest filing date

 

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17 minutes ago, Scandi said:

If your case isn't complicated by a criminal past etc I see absolutely zero reasons to put your future in the hands of someone else.

 

Most often people who hire lawyers end up not understanding the immigration process at all, they just put everything on the lawyer and when the lawyer fucks up they don't realize until it's too late. "Oops, we got denied. Our lawyer received an RFE letter and never mentioned it to us!", it happens more often than you'd think. 

 

Know the whole process yourself, do everything yourself, you're safer that way.

Yeah I certainly prefer entering info myself on forms rather than someone else who isn't really connected emotionally. My case should be straightforward so shouldn't really need a lawyer

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3 hours ago, KimchiLumpia said:

We did not use a lawyer either, and got approved for my fiance's K1 Visa last month.

With that being said, our case was very easy: never married previously, no dependents, no criminal records, plenty of in-person meetings with proof, plenty of finances, and a low immigration risk country in Canada.

I think using a lawyer for immigration would be akin to using a CPA to file your US taxes.  If you have one job, not many assets or dependents: filing your taxes on your own is pretty easy.  Conversely, if you own a business, have employees, have rental properties, a house, an ex-spouse - it would be wise to use a CPA.

If you would consider your relationship with your fiance pretty straight forward, by all means, you can do it on your own.
 

Congrats on your K1 visa! Hopefully we're there at that stage someday hehe. Our situation should be like yours afa overall factors, except she's from a bit of a high-risk country but that should be mitigated because she's the she not a he (the country has a high instance of love rat men but not women). Thanks for the input

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I got through the entire process using this website and google -  and without hiring a lawyer. That being said, I am a lawyer. Ha.  

 

But seriously, a good lawyer may make a difference if you are in a hurry and want to make sure you dont make any mistakes and delay your application in any way. But I really dont think a lawyer will make or break your application (meaning, be the difference between acceptance and denial), if you are a semi-meticulous person and not trying to perpetrate a fraud. And its true, some lawyers suck. So try to get one who knows what he/she is doing.  

 

Good luck!

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If you are capable of following relatively simple instructions, then you don't need a lawyer.

 

The process can seem daunting, but it really isn't too difficult. The most time consuming part is getting all the information together, and documents (birth certificate, divorce certificates, etc, passport stamps etc to show meetings). Even if you go via a lawyer, he/she is going to ask for all of that, and it'll still be down to you to provide it.

 

We got through the k1, and later AOS (green card) without having a lawyer. We didn't have any RFEs (requests for further evidence) as we double and triple checked that we'd sent everything they asked for in the forms etc. Just fill in the forms, and ask here if you get stuck. Not only will you save 2000 bucks but you'll have the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Edited by Limey

--- k1 visa ---
Texas Service Center (Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here)
I-129F sent: 12 Aug 2014
I-129F NOA1: 15 Aug 2014
I-129F NOA2: 2 Mar 2015 (199 days from NOA1) **No RFEs!**
NVC Received: 19 Mar 2015
Case#, IIN, BIN assigned: 19 Mar 2015
NVC Left: 20 Mar 2015
Consultate Received: 23 Mar 2015
Package 3 Received: 26 Mar 2015
Medical: 10 Apr 2015
Packet 3 Sent: 10 Apr 2015
Packet 4 Received: 23 Apr 2015
Interview Date: 8 May 2015 (Approved!!!)
Visa Issued: 14 May 2015
Visa in Hand: 19 May 2015
Entry to USA: 5 Jun 2015
Married: 21 Jun 2015

---Adjustment of Status---
Sent I-485, I-131 and I-765: 7 Jul 2015
NOA1 for I-485, I-131 and I-765: 14 Jul 2015
Email notification that I-765 was approved: 12 Sep 2015
Email notification that I-131 was approved: 15 Sep 2015
Email notification that EAD/AP combo card was mailed: 15 Sep 2015
EAP and AP combo card received: 18 Sep 2015
Green Card Received: 3 Dec 2015 [ :)] Previous letter stated interview requirement was likely to be waived

 

---Removal of Conditions---
Sent I-751: 13 Oct 2017
NOA1 for I-751: 23 Oct 2017

Biometrics: 20 Nov 2017

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I sometimes wonder if a psychiatrist might be needed more than a lawyer, for us that have been waiting 4 months just for NOA2.  


Click here to see my detailed timeline and experience.

 

 

I-485/I-765 Sent :

I-485/I-765 Received Date :

I-485/I-765 NOA1 :

RFIE (Birth Cert, Translation)

Biometrics : 

RFIE Received :

I-765 Approved :

I-485 Interview Date :

I-485 Approved :

Received Green Card :

 

2017 Oct 06

2017 Oct 10

2017 Oct 13

2017 Nov 03

2017 Nov 06

2017 Nov 17

2017 Dec 18

2018 Aug 08

2018 Aug 08

2018 Oct 23

Distance is to love like wind is to fire… it extinguishes the small and kindles the great!

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