Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer to Fill Out a Green Card Application?

Green card applications are not a walk in the park, they are complicated and sensitive legal documents that can affect your ability – or your spouse and children’s ability- to live and work in the U.S.

  • In fact, in June 2015, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services estimated that it takes an average of 6.5  hours required to fill out the new Form I-485 for permanent residence.
  • And you have to add supplements to the basic green card application form, which will add hours of your time to do it. If that’s a walk in the park, it’s more like a big game reserve in the wild.
  • I meet many clients who try to fill out green card applications on their own before they realize how complicated the process can be, and reach out to get help from an immigration lawyer.

Sometimes the delay of having to refile forms that were not correctly filled out in the first place can cost months of time away from a job, loved one, or family. While it is possible to download and file a green card application on your own, it can end up costing time, and causing errors that might ultimately affect your chances of getting permanent residency.

But don’t take my word for it: even a do-it-yourself legal applications and forms website calls immigration law “notoriously, insanely complicated” and suggests that it is better to look for the best immigration attorney you can find, saying:

“Even the simplest of U.S. immigration applications involves filling out some forms, and you will most likely be asked to follow some detailed instructions about gathering and including other paperwork and fees. Make a mistake, and you may find your application returned, delayed, or even rejected.

Immigration lawyers have dealt with this paperwork countless times before you, and have both the knowledge and the streamlined systems to prepare the applications smoothly. They have computer programs in which they can enter your information and spit out the forms in an instant. Hiring a lawyer can be well worth it for the peace of mind alone.”

Getting legal professional help from a top immigration attorney who can walk you through your green card application ensures that your form will be filled in properly the first time, without the worry. That’s not saying that complications still don’t arise, but with a top immigration law firm guiding the way, chances are you won’t be eaten by the wildlife while you are looking at the scenery.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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