Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 20, 2013

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Getting the best legal help you can when facing an immigration issue is a must. But cost is also a factor. If you are facing an immigration problem, you are most likely wondering, “How much are immigration lawyer fees?” The best answer is it depends. Every immigration lawyer has their own way of setting fees and expenses associated with their representation. Some focus on an hourly wage, while others charge flat fees for certain tasks. When you are deciding which attorney to hire, you will also want to inquire what other costs are associated with their representation. Examples of other costs include filing fees, copying expenses, and paralegal labor. Asking for specifics will give you an idea of which attorney may be trying to overcharge you. In addition to how the attorney does business in general, other factors can influence an immigration lawyer’s fees.

Location and Complexity of Your Case

Where the attorney is located and the complexity of the issues you need help with will also affect how much an immigration attorney will charge you. Some attorneys charge as little as $500.00 plus filing expenses for simple procedural filings. However, more complicated tasks, like getting a green card, can run up to $3,000.00. If there are several complex issues and the need for multiple hearings, the amount of attorney’s fees could climb into the thousands. 

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Affording an Immigration Attorney – Payment Plans & Cutting Costs

If you cannot afford an immigration lawyer’s fees, you still have some options. The first is to work with the attorney to set up a payment plan. Several years ago, many lawyers did not accept payment plans or credit cards as forms of payment. Today, more attorneys advertise payment plans with regular payment drafts taken from credit or debit cards. The second option is to hire the attorney for consultation services, but do most of the work yourself. Instead of paying a paralegal to fill your name in on a form, you may be able to work out an agreement with an immigration lawyer where you complete the paper work, but have the attorney review the work at an hourly rate. This can help you significantly reduce expenses for more routine immigration issues. This may not work for more complex issues where you need legal representation to be fully engaged in your issues. A third option is to inquire if you are eligible for waivers of certain filing fees with the United State Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you don’t have to pay a filing fee, you may have more funds available to pay an immigration attorney.

If self-help and cost reduction strategies still keep you from obtaining counsel, you may want to visit the article regarding legal aid for immigration issues. Also note that even if you have the funds available, an extremely expensive attorney does not necessarily equate to a high quality lawyer. You may want to review the tips for hiring an experienced immigration attorney. With more payment and hiring options available, take the time to find the right attorney at the right price.