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Do I really need to hire an immigration attorney to process my adjustment of status of immigration?

Muskegon, MI |

I am an immigrant to the US who have overstayed my visa alongside my family when we came here many years ago. My mother and sister received their Green Cards sometime later, but I did not because I was over 21 when they filed. I have just married a US citizen whom i've known since high school. We would like to start the process of filing for my green card, but the cost of hiring an attorney is pretty steep for us currently. My mother said she went through an approved agent of the USCIS when she did it, a paralegal, she said, and did not pay way too much. Question is, do I really need to hire an immigration attorney to go through this process? Thank you

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Attorney answers 6

Best Answer

You need to proceed with caution to be sure that the process is handled correctly. Just as with any profession, there are different price levels for different levels of expertise, knowledge, training, etc. In my opinion, immigration status is an extremely important part of a person's identity and ability to live and work in peace in the United States. It is not really possible to tell you whether or not you need to hire an experienced immigration attorney or not, because, without sitting down and having a thorough conversation with you about many different issues and potential problems, I don't know exactly what your possibilities for success are.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best.

(734) 369-3131. This communication does not establish and attorney-client relationship with the Law Office of Michael Carlin PLLC or any individual member of the office. Confidential information should not be sent through this form.


If cost is the issue, seek representation of a pro bono attorney or attorneys who help out at non-profit organizations. I will not recommend going with a paralegal or a consultant as any advice offered by them is unauthorized practice of law. Immigration laws can be complicated; it is best to seek help from licensed professionals.

This response is general in nature and cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. Any comments offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship. If you would like additional information based on this response, please contact my office at 510 657 7665 or 415 902 0832 to schedule a consultation.


There are substantive requirements and procedural requirements that need to be met. A missed detail or incorrect entry can result in delay, frustration, elevated stress and possibly denial. Hiring an attorney can provide relief knowing that someone is there to guide you through the process. This is all the more important given that you overstayed your visa. Call around or talk to legal aid if you are on a limited budget. Be aware that paralegals cannot give legal advice, attorneys can. Best wishes.

(626) 771-1078 Los Angeles Attorney Theodore Huang, Esq. This is not legal advice. No attorney/client relationship is established. Attorney Huang is licensed in MD; practice limited to federal law.


No you do not need a lawyer. You can handle the whole process yourself. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully. Check around though, some attorneys will put you on a payment plan.

The answer provided here is general in nature and does not take into account other factors that may need to be reviewed for a more precise answer. You should consult with an immigration attorney before taking any action. The answer here is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.


It is up to you whether you want to seek professionally competent help. Most people who work with an attorney do so willingly, and for a reason. Best Wishes!
Lalita Haran
13295 Illinois St., Ste. 128
Carmel IN, 46032
Ph: (317) 660-6174


It is very tempting to "just fill out the forms" and do it yourself, but I would strongly urge you to seek out low-cost representation by an attorney. I have seen countless people who have tried to go through someone who was not an attorney or BIA accredited representative, and who are now in very bad places. It's just not worth the risk. This is especially the case with adjustment of status. What's at stake is not just the money you paid. When an adjustment application is denied, people are generally put into removal proceedings.

Also, a note about "approved agents." I've never heard of one. The only people authorized to represent people with immigration are attorneys and Board of Appeals Accredited Representatives. Neither of these is an agent of the government. In fact I would run as fast as I could in the opposite direction.

Immigration law is one of the most complex areas of U.S. law. While it's seems like the cost of an attorney is steep, please consider the potential risk here.

*This is not intended as legal advice. Individuals should consult an attorney to review individual circumstances of their case.