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Patrick Long Law Firm, PC.

There’s particularly a problem for people from Spanish-speaking cultures because there’s confusion around what a notary is. In a lot of Spanish-speaking countries, a notary is often an important and well-educated person who has a lot of the same abilities and skills as a lawyer. In America, that’s not the case, and there are a lot of scam artists trying to take advantage of that. Notaries will try to sell legal services. For that reason, make sure, before you hire someone, that they’re an actual lawyer and not a notary because it’s not the same thing here that it might be in your country.

Even once you’ve determined the person is an actual lawyer, look at the level of experience and knowledge they have. Immigration is complicated, so it’s not for someone who just dabbles in it a little bit at a time. When you have an issue as politicized as immigration, with laws constantly changing, every case will be different in a way that is not true in other areas of the law.

The smallest details can make a huge difference in your case, so you need someone who is detail-oriented and who understands that those details really matter. I’ve mentioned, for example, that having a criminal record can be a problem, but it’s actually a lot more complicated than that. Whether a criminal record is a problem and what type of problem it will be depends not only on the specific crime, but also what you’re applying for. Certain types of convictions can automatically disqualify you from certain kinds of immigration status. Even just being charged with certain crimes can be a problem. It could disqualify you, or the official who is adjudicating your application can look at the fact that you’ve been charged and exercise their discretion in not giving you status. Again, the details can matter tremendously there.

One thing that comes up a lot in removal proceedings is that only certain types of crime make people removable and that a crime has to have the elements set out in the statute. It’s not even just a question of whether what you did complies with the statute—it’s whether the thing you’re convicted of automatically requires the jury to find that you violated the relevant federal statute. In some cases, the state’s statute and the federal statute don’t match up, so something that looks like it could get you deported might not, for example. A lawyer who doesn’t fully understand those little details will not be able to give you the best representation.

Do A Lot Of Individuals And Families Try To Go Through The Immigration Process Without Hiring An Attorney First?

Many try to handle their own cases, and I would say that that is a mistake. You might be able to get away with it for some simpler processes, like getting a visitor’s visa, but anything more complex, anything that will be scrutinized in more detail, could present challenges. I see a lot of people try to save money by doing it themselves, but it ends up costing them more money because they create problems that they originally wouldn’t have had, meaning they’re not just paying me to view the form anymore. Now, they’re also paying me to apply for a waiver because they committed fraud in the initial application or something along those lines. I definitely, therefore, recommend at least consulting with an attorney, even with a simple matter. A lot of things look simple and then turn out not to be, so it’s best to have an understanding of what you’ll need to do going into the process.

What Are Some Of The Common Mistakes Someone Might Make If They Attempt The Immigration Process On Their Own Or Hire An Unqualified Professional?

One mistake I’ve seen people make is not being fully honest with the government. You have an obligation to disclose the answers to the questions that they ask you. An experienced and competent attorney can help you manage how you’ll answer questions and present negative information in the best light as possible. Either way, you can’t hide information. One thing to keep in mind if you’re tempted to do that is that the government knows a lot more about you than you think they do. If you’re hiding something, they’ll find out about it.

The second mistake is not understanding the limitations on what you might be eligible for or what waivers you might need in order to become eligible. Again, eligibility for anything is complicated. If you have any kind of criminal record, that might disqualify you from what you’re looking for, or it might require you to get a waiver. The same goes if you’ve ever been in the country illegally, if you’ve ever worked illegally, or if you’ve ever been deported. If you lack an understanding of what you are and are not eligible for, you can waste a lot of time and money applying for things you aren’t eligible for. In some cases, if the government finds that you filed a frivolous application (meaning an application that you were not qualified for) and that it was clear there was no valid legal claim at all, then that can actually penalize you and make you ineligible to file valid claims in the future. Make sure you understand what you are and are not eligible for before you apply for anything.

For more information on Immigration Law in Massachusetts, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (617) 718-5550 today.

Patrick Long Law Firm, PC.

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(617) 718-5550

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