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Many people often view an immigration lawyer and an immigration consultant as the same thing. In reality, these two services have some major differences. If you or a loved one is trying to decide between using an immigration lawyer or an immigration consultant to aid with their application process, here are the things you need to know/take into consideration:
What Is an Immigration Consultant?
An immigration consultant is an individual who provides assistance to immigrants. This assistance can be with filing applications, filing a petition, gathering the required documentation for their application, or helping to find a translator.
What Is an Immigration Lawyer?
An immigration lawyer acts as an advisor and counselor for foreign citizens and immigrants. They provide aid when dealing with visa applications, green cards, citizenship, and naturalization. Immigration lawyers represent their clients and help mediate communication between them and immigration authorities. They also represent their clients in an immigration hearing.
Immigration consultants in the United States do not have a certification process. This is because there is no standard a U.S. consultant has to meet. This means that an immigration consultant can have any range of experience; they could have years of experience, a background in immigration law, or they could have zero experience.
Immigration lawyers in the United States are required by law to be graduates from law school. They are also required to pass the bar exam as well as show competence in their chosen field of practice.
The main difference between an immigration lawyer and an immigration consultant is that the former is able to give you legal advice. They can also represent you in court and give you advice on how to best answer questions on your application and interview. If your application were to get turned down for any reason, they can help you with a petition.
What Kind of Services Can I Expect from an Immigration Consultant?
An immigration consultant is great if the only thing you are looking for is help with filling out the blanks in a pre-printed USCIS form. However, you need to know which information you need and be sure that you can provide it, as an immigration consultant cannot advise you on what to put on the form.
Immigration consultants can also aid in translating documents and ensuring that you understand exactly what is being asked and that your answers are understandable.
With this being said, it is illegal for an immigration consultant in the U.S. to perform any of the following:
- Represent you in court or in front of the USCIS
- Give you legal advice on which immigration benefit you can apply for
- Give you information or advice on what to say during an immigration interview
- Give you legal aid concerning naturalization procedures
What Kind of Services Can I Expect From an Immigration Lawyer?
An immigration lawyer can provide legal aid and advice throughout the whole process of applying for immigration. These services can either be helping you decide which immigration benefit to apply for, filling out a green-card application, going to court on your behalf if an issue arises, or helping you prepare for your immigration interview. Immigration lawyers can also help see you through the citizenship and naturalization process if that is your desire.
What Is Best for My Case?
If the only thing you are looking for is help with translation or filling out the documents, a consultant may be just what you need. If you want a strong team to help you through every step in the immigration process, you will want to invest in an immigration lawyer. The immigration lawyers at Hernandez Law Group, P.C. have been helping individuals achieve their dreams by providing unparalleled aid in navigating through the immigration and citizenship process. Contact our team today for more information and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to go over your case.