Immigration assistance is available through government agencies, nonprofit organizations, free legal clinics, and immigration attorneys who specialize in handling immigration matters. The best source depends on an individual situation; some people may simply need basic help for free through the government, while others with more advanced cases may need paid legal representation. When seeking immigration assistance, people should watch out for scams like bribes, claims of being able to resolve immigration matters for a flat fee or within a set time period, or unlicensed people offering legal services.
Government immigration agencies usually offer assistance with locating and filing paperwork, finding embassies, and related topics. While they cannot offer legal representation to people who need help immigrating, immigration counselors can assist people with preparing application packages and can provide immigration about the process and what to expect. People with straightforward immigration needs, such as skilled professionals relocating to meet demand, can often get all the help they need through the government. Government representatives can also assist people with filing claims regarding legal violations, as in cases where immigrants feel they are experiencing discrimination.
Nonprofit organizations can offer assistance with locating lawyers and navigating the immigration process. Many of these groups offer services for free or at low cost through government-recognized advocates. They also tend to focus on specific immigration matters, like helping asylum-seekers. People with very specific immigration needs may find nonprofits helpful. If an organization cannot offer help, it may have a referral to a more appropriate group.
Free legal clinics are another resource for immigration assistance. People with limited income can get free help from licensed attorneys or law students working under supervision. The amount of assistance available varies. These attorneys can help people facing civil or criminal suits, such as people worried about deportation or undocumented immigrants who are trying to transition to a legally documented status.
Immigration attorneys also maintain their own practices and provide immigration assistance. They charge fees for their services and can be expensive, but also offer continuity of care to their clients and have experience with complicated and challenging cases. When looking up an attorney for immigration assistance, people should always ask for the attorney's bar number so they can look her up to see if she is in good standing, and review any complaints against her. Attorney rating services can also be helpful for people preparing to hire an immigration attorney, so they can get information about how effective an attorney is in court, and what kinds of cases the attorney can help with.