The following is a list of the most frequently asked questions to immigration attorney Assad Hafeez of Sacramento California.
How much does an immigration case cost?
It depends on the kind of case and what is being requested of the immigration agencies and authorities. It also depends on how much work the immigration attorney anticipates and how much additional preparation may be required depending on the clients or people involved in a case. There are several things that have to be prepared for, or else the case success will be at risk. For example, does the petitioner (person seeking bringing in a friend or family member) have a criminal or legal history? That could affect the case. Similarly, if the person has previous marriages or relationships, or if the person previously petitioned another person, that too might impact the case. As for the beneficiary (person hoping to obtain a immigration benefit), the same factors are also important and can affect case success. The attorney also needs to know if there have been any other petitions filed for, or by the people involved in the case. Attorney needs to also know the immigration history, whether there have been any problems with the status or method that a person entered the US. An attorney thoroughly reviews the legal and immigration records to anticipate any potential issues that will be of concern to immigration authorities and agents and afterwards, presents the most effective package of materials and requests possible. The attorney typically does so in the most efficient, streamlined, and most persuasive way possible. Hiring an attorney is an investment and typically costs several thousands of dollars because of the level of preparation required, in addition to avoiding the common errors that non-attorneys make. Each case is unique, therefore a review of each case is required to better know how many people are involved, and their unique histories, which can affect the filing of the case and the level of work ahead. Very often, people may think a case is “simple” when upon further review, more work and preparation will be required.
How much does it cost to petition for my spouse, family member, son or daughter, or one of my parents?
This question is very similar to the one above, only the only additional aspect to mention is that the price tends to increase with the addition of each family member, because the attorney will have to prepare more requests and review more documents for each person involved. The full cost is a combination of the legal fee (what the attorney charges for his preparation and management of the case), the agency fees for every form involved, in addition to other added costs like any translation expenses, postage, or FedEx overnight shipments. Other similar costs can include credit card processing fees.
How much for an immigration attorney to represent me and file my immigration documents?
Can I pay for my case with an installment plan or payment plan? Or do I have to pay it all up front?
This largely depends on the specifics of your case. Removal or deportation cases are typically difficult to put on payment plans. Anything in immigration court for example requires generally lots of preparation and filings in a short amount of time, with uncertainty of the pace of proceedings for any given case, therefore it is essential to collect payment for the case in advance, rather than on a payment plan.
If so, when do you offer payment plans? And how much?
Some cases may be suited for a payment plan, however several thousand dollars must be paid up front to cover the anticipated resources that will be spent towards the case, once the attorney makes the initial commitment to take on the case. Hafeez is willing to work with you, depending on your budget.
Do you do cases for free or pro-bono?
Generally no, not at this time. Our office is a private firm and not currently in a position to do work for free as we do not get any support form the government, grants, or any charitable organizations. The only way we can sustainably provide services to the families and individuals that we serve is by charging for our services and time offered towards cases.
What is asylum? Do I qualify?
Can I move my case?
Yes, but it depends on each case and how close it meets specified factors. Moving a case that is under review by USCIS regarding immigration petitions is a bit different than a immigration EOIR court case. In the court case example, judges review materials to see if it would be fair and judicious to move a case, whether it could prejudice either the alien’s family or the government’s case. These requests involve technical motions, correspondence, or writings that are generally prepared by an attorney and mailed or sent to the appropriate officials and offices. They are not always granted, but with good evidence, preparation, and good writing, it is possible and can bring tremendous relief to families facing a case or matter in another state or jurisdiction.
Do you provide refunds?
Attorneys are not in the business of committing to cases and then issuing refunds. However, if there is an emergency or unanticipated event, talk to your attorney as soon as you can to see if you can work out a resolution. Assad Hafeez Esq aims to be reasonable. Share with him your concerns at the earliest possibility and he may be able to conclude the case on agreeable terms.
Can I bring my spouse over if I am a green card holder? If so how?
I have a criminal record. Will this affect my case? How? Can I still become a citizen, resident, get a green card, get my work authorization or work permit?
Criminal records, arrests, or accusations are generally considered adverse factors in an officer’s analysis of a request to immigration. They do not necessarily result in a denial, however they do affect the case decisions in that at least some officers may not be inclined to grant a request. Petitions could be denied or reliefs at court could be denied. Some requests may be impossible because the alien is no longer eligible. Depending on the category or seriousness of the offense, it can impact whether or not one can continue their life without being detained by immigration authorities or without being deported or removed from the US. Some crimes amount to Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT), while others are deemed Aggravated Felonies (AF), and some are also considered Crimes Of Violence (COV). Failing to report arrests, allegations, or convictions with requests to immigration can also pose tremendous consequences, for example create grounds for immigration fraud or other problems after the fact. There are lots of implications to having a criminal record and it is essential to speak with a qualified immigration attorney to plan your future ahead.
If I marry outside the US, can I bring over my spouse on a visitor status?
If I am here illegally, should I be working? Can I work?
I am legal, but I want to bring a friend over, can I do that? How?
How do I sponsor someone?
What if I am illegal and I have a child here, can I become legal or become a citizen through my child?
Under US law at the time of writing this (3/27/2019) if your child reaches the age of 21, your child may then be able to petition for your permanent residency. There are more details to this, however technically you might be able to legalize, speak with an attorney to see if a plan can be made via this option.
How do I file for my citizenship, naturalization, or green card permanent residency?
Each of these three require different forms. For example, citizenship and naturalization requires preparation and sending of the form N-400 with the appropriate supporting documents and government fee. A green card petition or request for permanent residency, that requires preparation and sending of the I-485 form, along with the appropriate supporting documents and payment of the government fee. It is easy to make several errors during any of these submissions or to include information that will not help the case, therefore it is wise to hire a licensed and qualified attorney for this process.
How much does an attorney cost for any of these?
Another attorney costs less or is free, why not the same for your office?
There are some groups or attorneys that either provide free consultations or may be able to work on a pro-bono basis, or otherwise do not charge for work, preparation, or interviews. Assad Hafeez is not one of those attorneys because he provides a valuable service to his clients. Hafeez cannot do this without charging for his services, as he does not have any kind of charitable, nonprofit, or government support.
What methods of payment do you accept?
Cash or credit card. Credit card payments are accompanies by a processing fee of 2.95% but extends an ease of payment and convenience to clients. Hafeez can coordinate these payments remotely, by phone, online, or receive payment in person.
What is required to become a citizen?
Generally the key elements include having “Good Moral Character” which depends on your legal history, and generally 5 years physical presence within the US. If you have anything in your legal history, from criminal arrests or accusations, or even different civil or tax disputes, please discuss these with your attorney because it requires special preparation to have an opportunity of success.
What is the Freedom of Information Act or FOIA?
What is the A#, A Number, or A File?
What is required to become a green card permanent resident holder?
What are the government fees?
How long does a case take?
Why is it so expensive?
What is covered under the lawyers fee?
Why are the government fees so expensive?
Are there ways to expedite the case?
Can I get a waiver or exception to the rule?
What is the I-130?
This is the form used to demonstrate Qualifying relationships for the purposes of immigration.
What is the I-485?
This is the form used to request permanent residency in the US or to otherwise request a “green card”.
What is the I-601A or I-601?
This is a form used to request forgiveness or pardon or to waive the grounds of inadmissibility for an individual. If a person is granted it, they can reenter or be admitted into the US, when otherwise they would not have been able to. Without this, many would not be able to return to the US, after leaving to perform Consular Processing from outside the US.
How does one qualify for a waiver to the grounds of inadmissibility or I-601 or I-601A?
One must demonstrate that extreme hardship would occur to a qualified family member, which could be demonstrated from a variety of different theories, but hiring an attorney for this is essential because he will ask questions to get very familiar with the family member needs and history in order to plan and provide the best evidence to show sufficient hardships on the proper family members, should there be a separation of the family members from each other. An attorney is essential to strategically plan and present and also write effectively to the preferences of the agency officers.
What happens if the government, USCIS does not get my petition or submission?
USCIS or immigration could deem your request or petition abandoned or otherwise deny it.
Why are attorneys so expensive?
Because they have specialized training and knowledge that can avoid a substantial number of errors, mistakes, and unique problems in the immigration process. They have the same training and thinking that officers and their supervisors will have, the people that decide immigration cases on a daily basis. Because attorneys provide large value and the preparation and submission of cases takes significant time, energy, and resources, the price that attorneys charge for their services tends to be fairly high. Their services are truly an investment that is made to avoid as many horrible mistakes, delays, or unnecessary problems as possible.
Does the fee include government?
The legal fee does not include additional costs like government fees. Government fees are separate from the legal fee or price paid for attorney services and representation.
Does it include translation?
The legal fee does not cover translation costs, these are separate and additional costs.
Does it include postage or FedEx?
No the legal fee also does not include postage or FedEx costs, this can vary on a case by case basis as it can be difficult to estimate or anticipate how heavy submissions will be, or to know in advance exactly how many pages will be submitted for each case. FedEx costs can be anywhere from $40 to $100, or to several hundreds of dollars depending on each project.
Do attorneys help? Are they worth it?
Yes. Attorneys help meticulously prepare and demonstrate how their clients are qualified and should earn the requested immigration benefits, and do so to the satisfaction of immigration judges and officers. A great immigration attorney does so in a concise and efficient manner; through clear and professional writing. A great attorney also leverages research skills, so that all submissions are very credible, believable, and otherwise well-supported, so that when an officer shows the manager a request, that manager can justify their approval on the case to others in the department, due to the attorney’s well prepared materials and evidence in support. Submissions that do not meet that standard will have a much more difficult time of approval from government agents, judges, and staff.
What are the biggest risks of not using attorney?
Non-attorneys in all shapes and forms tend to lack legal training, therefore they will tend to submit things that are unrelated or unnecessary for an immigration request, or possibly leave out essential details that can harm or destroy the case. When it comes to an interview or court situation, the officers involved have legal training and ask questions that result in legal events or conclusions, based on the answers or responses of people subject to the interview or proceedings and all words said or omitted are “under oath” and subject to the law of perjury. Therefore it is very easy for non-attorneys or people without legal training to get into lots of trouble, very quickly, whether they are aware of it or not. And officers can take advantage of these situations knowing that people are unaware of the process and meaning of things. In addition to all of this, non-attorneys are more likely to make simple errors that will otherwise confuse officers, or otherwise delay the case, or result in a inclination to deny the request due to an appearance of poor preparation.
Are my odds greater of getting approved with attorney?
What does the attorney do different when filing petition or preparing the case?
How does attorney help at the interview?
How does attorney help at court?
Can I do a master calendar hearing by myself?
Can I do the first court day by myself?
Can I do a merits hearing?
Can I do the individual hearing?