My wife entered the US illegally when she was 11 years old. Now she is 20 and I am 21 and we have a 6 month old son and we are married. I know the first step is to fill out the I-130 form. But after that gets approved to fill out an I-601 form? I would like to know if I should consult a lawyer or do it myself. A lawyer wants to charge me $1200 for the I-130 form and i still would have to pay for $420 for the petition fee and charge me $3000 for I-601 and I still would have to pay $585 petition fee.
Yes, you need to file the I-130, get it approved and notify NVC that you will be filing an I-601A Provisional Waiver and NOT the I-601. This is required because she entered illegally. I strongly suggest that you hire an experienced Immigration Attorney to help you with your Waiver. Waivers are complicated as they require preparing a brief with supporting documentation to show that you would suffer Extreme Hardship (Financially and Emotionally) if your wife has to wait 10 years.
The fees that the lawyer is charging are very reasonable, especially for a Waiver.
However, I strongly suggest you consult with an Immigration Attorney as there may be a way to avoid having to proceed with the Waiver route, since she entered when she was 11.
The prices you mentioned are not unreasonable. The I-130 visa petition you might be able to file by yourself if you cannot afford the attorney fees. The I-601A is something you definitely need an attorney's help with. I have clients come to me often that have filed I-601s by themselves or using an unlicensed immigration consultant because it was cheaper than an attorney. Their I-601s were denied, and now they want to appeal the denial. Remember that you only get one chance to file an I-601A. If it is denied, you cannot file another I-601A. You better do it right the first time and use an immigration attorney that has a proved track record of success with extreme hardship waivers. It sounds like you have a good case, but only the right attorney can present the case in a way that the USCIS officer will understand the strain your young family is under and feel sympathy for you.
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