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Questions to Ask an Immigration Lawyer

When you have an immigration question, it can be hard to find clear answers. There is conflicting and confusing information online, and the search process can be stressful. The best way to get reliable advice and guidance on navigating the immigration process is to book a consultation with an immigration attorney. Consultations allow you to speak with a lawyer to better understand your situation. But knowing which questions to ask can be difficult, especially if it is your first encounter with the immigration system. Here are a few questions to ask an immigration lawyer to help facilitate the conversation and reach an understanding:

How much experience do you have with immigration law?

Ask questions about your immigration lawyer’s background and experience. You may find an immigration lawyer who specializes in immigration law and is more knowledgeable about your particular case. Strong candidates should be able to articulate their areas of expertise and their ability to work on your case.

What options do I have under the current immigration laws?

It is important to first understand if you have a way to immigrate to or stay in the U.S. Sometimes there are multiple options, so the best follow-up question is, “What is the best strategy for me and why?” Experienced and reputable attorneys should be able to explain in clear and simple language why they recommend a particular path for you.

How do I get my criminal record?

Having a criminal history can affect your ability to apply for different forms of relief. Certified dispositions are documents from a courthouse that explain the final outcome of a criminal charge or a traffic ticket. In many cases, you can go to the courthouse in the city where you were arrested or received a citation to request certified dispositions. Your lawyer may be able to provide you with instructions on how to obtain those records. An immigration lawyer may also be able to guide you on filing an FBI request.

How do I get copies of my immigration or deportation records?

Ask your lawyer about filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the government to obtain all of the information pertaining to your immigration case. It is a useful resource to confirm if any petitions have been filed on your behalf or if you have ever been ordered to be removed by an immigration judge.

Is there anything else I should know about my case?

Every case is unique and some may be more complicated than others. Ask an immigration lawyer about any complications or concerns present in your case. It is also important to ask about any deadlines that you should be aware of. Meeting certain deadlines can be essential to the outcome of your case.

You should also ask an immigration lawyer if you can include family members in your immigration options. You may have children, parents, or other relatives in need of assistance, and your attorney can help you determine their eligibility.

If I have no current options, what should I do if I encounter U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?