Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘American Immigration lawyer’

5th June 2011

This posting discusses the issues associated with retaining an American attorney to assist with the K-1 visa process. Those thinking about retaining assistance in the K-1 visa process are well advised to conduct thorough research prior to making any irrevocable decisions.

The K-1 visa is a non-immigrant US fiance visa which was intended to be used solely by the foreign fiances of American Citizens. The K-1 visa allows the foreign fiancee of an American Citizen to enter the United States for a period of 90 days of the purpose of marriage. Those who do not marry their American fiance after 90 days in the USA will be required to depart from the USA. Readers should bear in mind that the entrant to the United States on a K-1 visa who marries their loved one must undergo the adjustment of status process in order to gain lawful permanent residence in the U.S.A.

The purpose of this article is to provide insight to Americans about the perils of dealing with non-licensed individuals who purport to be qualified to practice United States Immigration law (or any American law, for that matter) . Pursuant to 8 CFR 292.1 only a qualified lawyer licensed to practice law in at least one U.S. State or Federal jurisdiction is entitled to engage in the receiving of client fees in connection with the practice of United States immigration law. Therefore, those not so qualified must either fit within a narrow exception to the aforementioned rule lest their behavior be deemed to be illegal. It should be noted that attorney-client confidentiality is a significant issue which should be considered when ascertaining the credentials of those claiming qualification in United States immigration matters abroad as there are many so-called “visa agents” or “immigration consultants” claiming qualification to provide services in connection with U.S. immigration. Attorney-client privilege is not extended to those not qualified as an American attorney and therefore discussions with unqualified individuals are likely not privileged communications. Meanwhile, some individuals brazenly, albeit falsely, portray themselves as American attorneys when, in fact, this is simply not the case.

For all of the reasons outlined above it should be noted that only a competent licensed attorney from the United States should be retained to assist prospective clients. Readers should understand that this message is not conveyed as an advertisement of this particular blogger’s services, as this is not this blogger’s intention in creating this posting. Instead, this post should be viewed as a reminder to readers that this decision should be made by prospective clients after serious contemplation and thorough research of all possible candidates for an attorney position. Attorney-Client relationships are not “one size fits-all” and neither is quality legal service. Therefore, the public should conduct research before coming to an informed decision about hiring an attorney.

For related information please see: K1 Visa Thailand or K1 Visa Cambodia.

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25th March 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) may be changing some of the procedures associated with the processing of immigration petitions pertaining to the application for issuance of the CR-1 visa, IR-1 visa, K-1 visa, and K-3 visa filed by United States Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. To quote directly from a recent USCIS Memo posted on ILW.com:

This memorandum provides guidance to USCIS service centers regarding changes in the handling of all stand-alone I-130 and I-129F petitions filed by petitioners who have been convicted of any “specified offense against a minor” under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (“Adam Walsh Act” or “AWA”) and related issues.1 This memorandum applies only to petitions that are adjudicated at the service centers and not to petitions adjudicated at USCIS field offices.

Generally I-130 petitions (the categorical designation used to refer to the petition for a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa) are processed by the USCIS Service Center designated by the lockbox upon receipt. In some cases, it may be possible to process an I-130 petition at one of the various USCIS field offices located abroad, such as the USCIS office in Bangkok. The I-129f petition (categorical designation used to denote the US fiance visa or K1 visa) can only be processed at a USCIS Service Center in the USA as the field offices overseas do not process such petitions as of the time of this writing. To quote further from the previously mentioned memorandum:

USCIS will centralize at VSC all files currently at service centers if the service center adjudicator has made a preliminary determination that the petition warrants review as an AWA-related case. The VSC will serve as a central clearinghouse for inquiries from Federal, State, and local agencies regarding AWA-related cases that are pending or were recently adjudicated at one of the four service centers [hereafter referred to as “originating service center” or “sending service center”]. While AWA-related cases require special handling, the decision to centralize AWA-related adjudications at the VSC will affect caseloads at other service centers only minimally.

Clearly, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is making policy changes in an effort to take steps to more efficiently process cases requiring further scrutiny pursuant to the Adam Walsh Act (AWA). In a way, the Vermont Service Center’s role in AWA-related cases is somewhat similar to the role of the National Visa Center in the overall US visa process as that agency is tasked with acting as a sort of clearinghouse for visa applications arriving from USCIS and being processed out to a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. Although, NVC is under the authority of the Department of State whereas the Vermont Service Center (like the other USCIS Service Centers) is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS.

For related information please see: Adam Walsh Act.

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5th October 2009

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service adjudicates many applications for US Immigration benefits. As a result, they deal with a large number of government forms. A form that is quite familiar to United States Immigration Attorneys is known as the G28. The G28 is the form which puts the United States government on notice that a licensed attorney has entered his or her appearance in the case. According to recent statements from USCIS, the current G28 is to be phased out and replaced by a new version.

According to a recent government press release:

“USCIS will provide a 30-day grace period for the Form G-28, until Oct. 30, so that Forms G-28 currently in the mail will be considered valid when received at the USCIS Lockbox facility or USCIS Service Center. After Oct. 30, any prior versions of the Form G-28 that are received will be considered invalid. All Forms G-28 filed before Oct. 30, will be honored for previously filed cases as long as the Forms G-28 were properly completed by an eligible attorney or accredited representative. The new Form G-28 is not required for receiving updates or interviews unless a new attorney is representing the applicant.”

Usage of form G28 is a method of detecting whether one is dealing with a licensed attorney as opposed to a “visa agent” “visa consultant” or an out and out fraud claiming to be an “immigration lawyer”. The G28 can be useful for weeding out impostors because it requires that the attorney provide his or her state of license. Other forms in a visa application will likely require the attorney’s license number. Although there are some refugee and other non-profit agencies entitled to represent clients before USCIS, these groups are not allowed to profit from said representation. Therefore, the only paid representative that will be recognized by USCIS for matters in the USA is an attorney licensed in a United States jurisdiction.

For those who are not licensed to practice law in the United States, filing a G28 on behalf of another could be construed as the unauthorized practice of law due to the rule that only attorneys are qualified to represent clients before the Immigration service for profit.

The grace period mentioned in the quote above means that at the time of this writing there are approximately 25 days left to use the old G28 form. Bearing this in mind, it may be better to simply begin using the new form as soon as possible in order to forestall a rejection of the form due to expiration.

For more information please see K1 visa application

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