I am often approached by people to answer immigration questions, anything from the simple and basic question to the dire and extreme ones. Inevitably, the one thing I am always asked is, “Do I need an attorney to take care of that for me?”

Define “Need an Attorney”

The reality is that there are no requirements or regulations that require a person to have an attorney handle their immigration case, no matter if it is a simple visa application or a deportation case in front of a judge. The truth is anyone can file any application or immigration case without representation.

I suppose the real question behind the issue of whether someone needs an attorney is that we must define what need means.

A few weeks ago a former client of mine called me all upset because she filled paperwork out for the son of a family friend and he left the country, he went to Ciudad Juarez expecting to pick up his green card and he ended up being told that he could not come back inside the country because he triggered a 10-year bar.

My former client was very upset and did not understand because she was able to file a case for her husband and he was allowed in.  I explained to her that not every case is the same and one wrong move could mean huge consequences for the person involved.

You see, an immigration attorney will have the experience and practice to understand what an individual’s situation is and which forms to fill out. There are plenty of non-attorneys out there ready to fill out template forms without truly understand each individual’s case.

Attorneys Fix Problems

Most immigration attorneys end up taking cases that were started without the help of an attorney. So what could have been an affordable case is now a complicated mess. Too many people try to go at it alone and do not understand who qualifies for what and how they actually qualify.

Thinking you know how to handle a process is one thing, the reality of it is another.  In my opinion, immigration cases deal with a person’s life and are too complex and serious to go it alone.