What are Immigration Lawyer Prices?
“How much do you charge?”
“What is your price?”
A percentage of phone calls and emails to my immigration law firm begin this way.
The word “price” is notable because lawyers use the word “fee.”
I believe that many of our clients who speak English as a second language just say “price.”
“What are Immigration Lawyer Prices?”
In any event, I find it interesting because sometimes the person calling is
- In jail or
- Stuck in another country or
- Has not considered the return on investment if the case goes well.
But you hear everything, after nearly two decades exclusively practicing immigration law.
My reply often has to do with how you should not “shop” for attorneys.
Yes, budget is a factor when seeking legal advice.
But much like the person who never brags about what a great deal he got from the doctor who saved his life, one should focus on other issues besides “immigration lawyer prices.”
Like “what’s your success rate?” (see http://immigrationlawnj.com/what-percentage-of-immigration-cases-do-you-win/)
However, since so many folks ask, I will do my best to give some answers.
Please understand that we provide many immigration services.
And every time you tell me that your case is routine, I will say “no such thing.”
NOT with ever-changing laws, rules and court decisions, as well as different types of views affecting the decisions made by Immigration officials in charge of your case.
Here are a few reasonable fee ranges (“prices”)
Warning: the case may be done at an hourly rate, although most immigration lawyers do go with flat fees.
Also a firm in New York may charge more than one in New Jersey which in turn might be more money (but not always) than a North Carolina immigration office.
And the Midwest or Deep South or California firms might each have their own sense of what the market will bear.
Final thought before getting into fees:
I have not raised my “immigration lawyer prices” in many years – and in fact have reduced certain fees as have many businesses while the economy got tougher – since I know that folks have budgets.
Reasonable fee ranges appear below (not including government filing fees, courier/copy costs and administrative charges):
Travel expenses are also separate for cases further from our office than local matters.
These also do not take into account “group rates” set for companies or institutions seeking a discount based on higher volume.
*Green card through marriage including preparation of all paperwork and attorney representation at interview (which is crucial in nearly all cases)
- Between $2500 and $4000
NOTE: I have seen people who paid as little as $1000 and as much as $10,000 in marriage cases. I will not comment as to these numbers other than to say “sometimes you get what you pay for, and other times you just pay.”
There are many people who seek our services after having bad experiences with attorneys who charge too little or too much.
*Green card through employment sponsorship including executing forms with Labor Department and/or US Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Between $5000 and $9000
NOTE: obviously in some employment cases, recruitment costs can be high and are separate from legal fees.
*Citizenship including preparation of all paperwork and attorney representation at interview (which is recommended in many cases)
- Between $1200 and $2400
NOTE: in certain citizenship matters, waivers are needed for medical disability and in other naturalization cases, there may be problems with the applicant’s history with Immigration or law enforcement agencies. These cases might require adjustment of fees due to complexity of case.
*Defense in removal (formerly called deportation) proceedings
-between $5000 and $10,000
NOTE: when an individual is detained, the cases must be done at a much faster pace since the courts do not give the multi-year adjournments commonly seen in non-detained matters. And consider the stakes.
If you win your freedom, there is no “price tag” that can be placed on this outcome.
Some lawyers treat Immigration Court like Traffic Court and charge in the same fashion.
This practice is not best, as a speeding ticket has a very different impact on your life compared to being thrown out of the US.
*Motions, appeals and waivers
-between $1500 and $6000
NOTE: this last area of law encompasses a wide range of cases. There’s a host of different offices and courts that rule on appeals, motions, and waivers. Moreover, a variety of grounds exist for these types of arguments. Some require heavy research on novel issues.
*The above list did not take into account a number of immigration cases, such as work visas.
Employment visas such as H-1B often carry government filing charges that exceed legal fees!
Nor did it factor in certain aspects of cases that I always look at, when evaluating a case, such as representing:
(a) Victims of violence;
(c) The elderly;
(d) Disabled people.
In these most sympathetic matters, discretion plays a large part in setting a fee.
When possible, we will take on certain cases pro bono.
Finally, the specialized area of federal immigration litigation is too broad an area for commentary in this article.
LAST NOTE: these fees are general, and we may adjust due to certain circumstances.
Please look carefully at who you hire.
With the downturn in the economy, many lawyers have decided to take on immigration as a “new venture.”
Some of these attorneys are literally handling their first immigration cases in the last year or two.
There is no substitute for experience, skill AND caring about you, all of which take precedent over making a fee.
(Fees always subject to change depending on circumstances)