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White House & United States Flag

“Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave. O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave” – U.S. National Anthem

US Passport

“We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” – President Jimmy Carter


“…with liberty and justice for all.”

The process of completing immigration forms can become downright overwhelming. Some of the information can be confusing and difficult to interpret. When you’re filing important, time sensitive forms required to become a U.S. citizen, need help determining which type of visa is best for your situation, or need assistance handling unexpected issues that come up during the filing process, the smartest thing to do is consult with an expert. An immigration attorney can help you navigate immigration laws and policies so that you make the best decisions.

When you make the decision to hire an immigration attorney, finding a qualified, competent attorney should be priority. You’ll find that as with any other profession, some attorneys are more experienced and better qualified than others. When dealing with the complex and sometimes changing U.S. immigration laws and policies, finding the most experienced counsel is in your best interest. If you’re thinking about hiring an immigration attorney, here are a few practical tips to help you make the best choice:

Get a Recommendation from a Satisfied Client

Ask friends and family for recommendations. Be sure to specify that you are looking for an attorney who specializes in immigration law. Even if your friends and family haven’ dealt with immigration first hand, they still may be able to connect you with someone who has retained the services of an immigration attorney.

Don’t Make a Decision Based Solely on Rates

You don’t want to base your decision on the rates an attorney charges. Attorney rate charges are all over the map determined by a number of things: location, specialty, years of experience, etc. Some rates are fixed, some hourly and others require a retainer.

There is nothing wrong with minding your budget and choosing the professional services you can actually afford; however, keep in mind that an attorney charging lower fees may not have the experience, staff and equipment to provide exactly what you need. Also an attorney charging higher rates is no guarantee of legal competency.

Ask Whether or Not the Lawyer Will Handle Your Case Personally

Some attorney’s offices will immediately turn your case over to a junior attorney, paralegal or trained assistants once they take you on as a client. That means you may never deal directly with the attorney again. This doesn’t mean that your case will not be handled in the most professional manner; but if you prefer to work directly with the attorney, you should communicate this early on.

Check Credentials

You can do this by contacting the local state bar to determine if the attorney you’re considering is licensed and in good standing. You can also learn whether or not the attorney you are considering has ever been subject to disciplinary action.

Search the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Website

The AILA is an association of members who are lawyers and attorneys who teach and practice immigration law. You can search the website ( by area to find someone closest to you in your city. If you get referrals from other sources, you can use the website to look them up to see whether they are members.

Attorney Rizvi is a Houston immigration lawyer. She provides legal assistance in a variety a fields, including immigration & nationality law, wills & estate planning and business transactions. For more information please visit