Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer? The Pros and Cons

March 31, 2023
3 min

Whether or not you need an immigration lawyer for your marriage-based visa application will depend on your circumstances. If, for instance, you have previous violations on your record, and you’re worried about how they could affect your case, it might be a good idea to get an attorney. But if there aren’t any complicating factors, you could probably complete the process without legal aid. 

Ultimately, it’s your choice because, in the end, the U.S. government doesn’t require you to hire a lawyer for visa purposes. That being said, navigating all the regulations, forms, and fees can be nerve-wracking and confusing without an experienced professional guiding the way. 

In this article, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of hiring an immigration attorney for your marriage-based visa application. At the end, we’ll suggest a middle path between doing it yourself and taking on legal representation.

Couple in Lawyer Office

The Pros

Here’s a few of the benefits of hiring an immigration attorney:

You are far less likely to omit important documents. Forgetting to obtain necessary information can result in a Request for Evidence (RFE), which can lead to delays. 

You can avoid errors. The tiniest mistake — like failing to satisfy the photo requirements or forgetting to sign a form — can result in a failed visa application. By having a professional double-check all the forms and criteria, you can prevent an unnecessary denial.

You can get situation-specific advice. Everyone’s circumstances are unique. If you’re applying for a marriage green card, you and your spouse will need to prove that your relationship is authentic. It can be stressful figuring out precisely what types of evidence you need for your particular situation. With a legal expert at your side, you’ll have someone who understands the standard of proof and who can help you determine which documents you need to collect.

You’ll have much higher chances of success. With someone crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s, you’re a lot more likely to achieve a successful outcome. While the professionals handle all-things immigration, you can devote your time to planning your new life in the United States.

The Cons

Although attorneys provide a lot of advantages, they come with some baggage. Here are a couple drawbacks:

A lawyer might be unnecessary. If you have a straightforward case, and you feel up to the task of collecting all the necessary documents, you may not end up needing a lawyer. Hiring one, in this case, could be a waste of money.

Attorneys can be expensive. It’s unlikely that hiring an attorney will hurt your case. The big question is whether or not you can afford their services. Rates will vary from person to person, but in general, legal representation isn’t cheap. Shelling out this kind of money can be counterproductive for people trying to save funds for their life in the United States. If you can afford it, and you feel like having legal representation will increase your quality of life, then by all means. But if you feel like the expense outweighs the benefits, you might want to find another way. 

The Middle Path

Hiring a lawyer might end up being cost-prohibitive for a lot of people. But doing everything by yourself (even with the help of a spouse) can be extremely draining. What if you miss a document? Or a signature? Luckily, there is a third option. There are companies that can help increase your chances of success while reducing the high costs associated with legal representation. 

Our partner Boundless helps you build a tailored visa plan for every step of the process, from forms to your immigration interview. Use the code BLCOURTLY and save $150 on Boundless' core services, including visa applications for the K-1, CR-1, and AOS routes, valid through December 31st, 2023. Get started today.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

Get Married