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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Legal > Immigration Attorney

Immigration Attorney Cost


How Much Does an Immigration Attorney Cost?

 
low costDo-It-Yourself: $2,000+average costMedium: $3,500+high costHigh: $6,000-$12,000+
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People seeking work visas, legal resident status or US citizenship must go through a highly detailed application process, and often choose to be guided by an attorney specializing in immigration law. What used to be the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is now known as the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Typical costs:

  • An immigration attorney may charge an hourly rate of $100-$300 or a flat fee covering specific services. Some immigration attorneys charge $75-$150 for an initial 20-30 minute consultation.
  • Charges for assisting in filing basic forms for an ongoing immigration case may run $300-$700, plus the USCIS fees. Attorney's fees for preparing a full visa packet average $2,000-$3,000, but can run $4,000-$12,000 or more, depending on the nature and complexity of the case, the location, and the attorney's level of experience.
  • A retainer is an up-front fee you pay to hire an attorney. Generally the retainer is either a percentage of the agreed-upon flat fee or the equivalent of several hours work. A lawyer on an hourly basis deducts that rate from the retainer as the work is done; when the retainer is gone, you are billed for more money.
  • Some work-visa applicants hire an immigration attorney for an hour's consultation at $100-$300, then file the paperwork themselves using the forms and other resources provided by the USCIS[1] . Often an employer will assist with the visa process.
  • While many applicants use the services of an immigration attorney, it is possible to navigate the complex system on your own. The paperback US Immigration and Citizenship[2] is available for $16 and Nolo Press offers books on immigration, visas, green cards and citizenship for $26-$40.
Related articles: Criminal Attorney, Divorce, Will

What should be included:
  • The USCIS provides a brochure on resources for new immigrants[3] written in English or 10 other languages.
  • The American Immigration Lawyers Association lists immigration basics[4] and provides a brochure on avoiding scams.
  • Some types of visas have annual quotas; your attorney should be able to tell you how many (if any) of a particular type of visa remain at the time that you want to file your application.
Additional costs:
  • Your lawyer's charges do not include USCIS filing fees[5] of $0-$1,000 per form; total application fees for a visa average $2,000.
  • Typically visas take 4-5 months to process; "premium processing" in about 15 days costs an extra $1,000.
Shopping for an immigration attorney:
  • The University of Wisconsin--Madison gives an overview of how to locate and evaluate an immigration attorney.
  • The American Bar Association[6] links to legal resources by state, including free or low-cost legal help, the bar association to check that a lawyer is licensed in that state, and referrals to local lawyers. Referrals are also available through The American Immigration Lawyers Association[7] .
  • Your attorney should give you a written schedule of fees; read it before signing and keep a copy for your records. Be sure you understand exactly what is included for the fee; for example, will the attorney accompany you to hearings or just prepare the paperwork? If you need to appeal a decision, is the appeal included or will there be an additional charge?
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Should I fire my attorney?
Amount: $2,500.00
Posted by: gwd1162@gmail.com in Danbury, CT.Posted: August 18th, 2013 04:08AM
Firm: ExnerAdditional Services:
I paid this attorney $2500 up front, now I am concerned.
So far I was given a long list of home work for me to do much of the info gathering, including tracking down difficult records.
Then I tried to contact the attorney for a question on the birth cert I received from the Philippines, cause the first name was wrong on the cert. Probably easy to fix but my calls were not being answered until I complained to the secretary. After which 20 minutes later magically kid called me back to ask if I found the info I needed. Apparently this kid is handling my case, not the attorney I hired, probably an intern.
I feel very uneasy now because of the amount I spent. I don’t feel like I am getting my money’s worth if I have to do all the foot work. I am busy trying to hold my own job to pay this fee. Is this normal for me to do the research?
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Removal Proceedings in detention center
Amount: $2,000.00
Posted by: D.M. in Washington, DC.Posted: June 3rd, 2013 11:06AM
Firm: Potomac Law Firm, LLPAdditional Services:
My wife was deteined having a final order. The attorney in charge of the case released her without bound compensation and she's now at home. They presented a motion to reopen the case. We were so happy.
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Criminal Charge and Removal Proceedings
Amount: $1,400.00
Posted by: Ms. Perez in Arlington, VA.Posted: April 24th, 2013 09:04AM
Firm: The FitzGerald FirmAdditional Services: Green card and citzenship
My son found himself in legal trouble with local police and ICE filed a detainer. I was recommended Mr. FitzGerald and it worked out wonderfully. He is very affordable and is an excellent criminal attorney. After getting the criminal matter reduced to a non-deportable offense he worked it out with immigration where my son was in a position to apply for an adjustment of status and was green card eligible. His email in viccenterhelp@gmail.com and he is well worth it!!
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Removal proceedings
Amount: $8,000.00
Posted by: Omar Mohamed in Minneapolis, MN.Posted: April 23rd, 2013 02:04PM
Firm: Nsajja Law FirmAdditional Services:
I was in the middle of deportation and tried to fight case myself. A friend gave me the number of Nsajja Law Firm. I was skeptical until I met her. she was able to straighten my case out and is always available to answer my questions.
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Complete Visa Package
Amount: $5,000.00
Posted by: Jennie Ward-Moore in Gatlinburg, TN.Posted: December 28th, 2012 12:12PM
Firm: Accurate Immigration SolutionsAdditional Services: Green Card and Citizenship
This company was amazing. They pushed our application for Visa through within 9 months. They also were able to help my sister with her citizenship. Money was well worth it. There were no hidden fees. Their email is abwbs@yahoo.com
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Adjustment of Status
Amount: $850.00
Posted by: Brian Martin in Fairfax, VA.Posted: November 11th, 2012 08:11PM
Firm: Conde Legal SolutionsAdditional Services:
I found Conde Legal Solutions online. The young lady that runs this web site is not an attorney but she is very knowledgebale with the immigration process. She used to work with lawyers and was looking into law school. Anyways she helped me bring my girl friend from Peru and got her a green card. Best of all she works remotely online and her fees are really reasonable. "Just be open minded."
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A long journey to Citizenship
Amount: $10,000.00
Posted by: WS in Wilmington, DE.Posted: November 17th, 2011 02:11PM
Firm: Gary Pasricha + Anna & AnnaAdditional Services: Posting on NY Times
Changed my status from overstay student visa to US Citizenship. Journey started in 2001 when Pres. Clinton had 245i for all the immigrants needing to get a legal path.
Got my Green card in 2005 and citizenship in 2010 :) all added up around $10 Grand ! it is the well worth 10 Grand i've ever spent in my life
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Professional, reliable and affordable attorney
Amount: $500.00
Posted by: Raul Estrella in Stamford, CT.Posted: June 17th, 2011 08:06AM
Firm: Mary Polanco Vozza, (888) 791-7933Additional Services: Real Estate, Wills, Personal Injury
Attorney Vozza was very pleasant and professional. I was able to get my H2B Visa within three months. I didn't know where to begin and she walked me through the process. Thank you for your services!
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Factually inaccurate Article
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Ali7 in Brooklyn, NY.Posted: March 26th, 2011 06:03AM
This post is factually inaccurate, most immigration attorneys bill between $250-$450/hr or do a flat fee. This is because they spent between $100-$300K and 3 years in law school. Also, the people that claim to use a notario or do it themselves may be misleading. That is great if it worked out but many notarios/consultants are frauds or incompetent with anything but the most simple and straightforward case, they also run into the problem of practicing law without a license, which is illegal and ICE/USCIS often find out, which can effect your good moral character finding. Some people are successful doing it themselves but many make crucial mistakes which compromise their case and they must pay much more in the end. I would highly recommend hiring an attorney from the start.
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Immigration Attorneys
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: Jeff C in Nashville, TN.Posted: July 20th, 2010 09:07PM
Firm: Did it myselfAdditional Services: AC tranlation svc Bangkok Thailand
No one really needs an immigration attorney. I did all my Thai wifes paperwork myself, it's really very simple, just takes a little time, follow the instructions, be accurate. My Thai wife filled out all of her paperwork in Thailand without an attorney, we went to the interview, all went well, we did all her I765 work permits, permanent resident card applications, and never saw the first attorney. This attorney thing is just for desperate people who are fearful of the system. NO attorney is needed. Try it and see! And even if a mistake is make, you simply get it sent back for your correction, and the process goes forward, that may cause about a 2 week slowdown. But we have encouraged others NOT to use an attorney, and six couples we know all came through without an attorney, smelling like a rose. NO ATTORNEY NEEDED!!! Can I get an amen?
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Professional fee
Amount: $600.00
Posted by: Jon Lewis in Sacramento, CA.Posted: April 29th, 2010 02:04PM
Firm: Professional Immigration Services.Additional Services: complete
P.I.S. is not a law firm but a consulting office. They were able to file a complete adjustment of status packet for $600.00 + Immigration fees. The chief consultant is a former Immigration Officer and Immigration Supervisor with exceptional knowledge of the immigration process.
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Great price for asylum
Amount: $2,200.00
Posted by: Oliver in Washington, DC.Posted: August 7th, 2009 02:08PM
Firm: Mensah Shoemaker & Dzubow, PLLCAdditional Services:
Attorney Jason Dzubow prepare my asylum case for $2200. He was very nice and did a great job - I won my case. Thank you.
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Immigration Change of Status
Amount: $2,500.00
Posted by: Louise Moreno in Hartford, CT.Posted: April 13th, 2009 12:04PM
Firm: Margaret Jordan-AddoAdditional Services:
Started Case in 01/08, case was denied due to Lawyer sending wrong affidavit of support 1-130, suppose to be 1-864, not on a timely manner. Now trying to blame client, instead of making the correction and sending it in on time.Trying to get money back
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Incompetent & Irresponsible Attorney's
Amount: $10,000.00
Posted by: Munna in Germantown, MD.Posted: July 26th, 2007 12:07PM
Firm: Richard W. Moore, Marks & KatzAdditional Services: Filing(s)
Attorney Richard W. Moore,Jr. Towson, Maryland charged $2,500.00 to process my Asylum claim.

Attorney Jay S. Marks of Marks And Katz, Silver Spring was replaced in the above matter, and work authorization filings for more than $7,800.00, responds only 2 out of ten times. No relief.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=db...
  2.  www.amazon.com/U-S-Immigration-Citizenship-S/dp/157860169X/sr=1-1/qid=1167370824/ref=pd...
  3.  www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=f2...
  4.  www.ailf.org/imms/im_legal.asp
  5.  www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=db...
  6.  apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
  7.  www.ailalawyer.com/
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