I am an Australian national, recently married to a United States citizen and currently residing in Las Vegas, NV with my wife as a tourist. I have no criminal history and am trying to have this application submitted to the USCIS by February 25th as this is the end of my stay in the US. Primarily, we are wondering if we should expect a clear advantage of hiring professional legal representation over my submitting the paperwork and application ourselves. Could I expect a faster approval perhaps? Should I expect my attorney to offer insights and advice I would not otherwise be able to find on the USCIS website, or other supporting online material? - My query here is of course not meant in any disapproving discourse of hiring a lawyer, simply to have the advantages of doing so clear to us.
It's certainly possible to do it yourself. However, in addition to the substantive requirements, it's also important to satisfy the procedural requirements. Unfortunately, the USCIS also makes mistakes which lead to delays and possible Requests for Evidence. Also, your plans may change mid-course and an attorney can help you analyze how changes could affect your application. Lastly, an attorney can prep and be present for your interview which is reassuring. Having an attorney help you navigate these obstacles is a stress-reliever. Best wishes.
A good lawyer is your insurance policy to ensure that you make zero mistakes and to properly prepare you to be successful at the interview. If you have the money, hire a good lawyer. If the money is not there, prepare to put lots of time in to assure that you have a decent understanding of the rules and requirements.
My colleagues provide excellent advice as to the pros and cons of going it pro se (alone). Another middle option, is to draft all of the forms and consult with an experienced immigration attorney before filing. The attorney can review your package and provide you with a legal opinion as to what issues, if any, arise from the overall application. Good luck.
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