Today, there are more options than ever to find someone to help you apply for a Fiance Visa or Marriage Visa. There are discount visa processing companies located in virtually every country in the world, numerous attorneys and law firms, friends who have gone through the immigration process and claim to know something about it, and yourself.
Processing your visa paperwork is a very important step to insure that you and your loved one can stay together and become the family that you want to be. No matter who you hire, great care must be given to your application to make sure it is done correctly and timely. And regardless of who you hire, it’s an expensive undertaking. For sure, there are differences in the fees charged by the various service providers for their work, but when you add in the filing fees, its expensive no matter who you chose. I guess what I am trying to say is that this is no time to be “penny wise and pound foolish”. You will always get what you pay for. The lowest that I have found for the discount Fiance or Marriage Visa processing companies is around $500. That’s really cheap. The most expensive I have found for a law firm is around $2700. I think something like $1000-1300 for the legal work is fair.
The question you should be asking yourself is not who is the cheapest service provider, but who provides you with the best value for your money. To determine this, you have to understand what it is you should be looking for and what level of service and care do you really need.
In my opinion, the most important factor to consider when choosing who to represent you to help you obtain a Fiance or Marriage Visa is trust.
You should hire someone who is trust worthy. Attorneys, not the discount visa processors, are licensed by the Bar of their State and subject to the rules of Professional Responsibility and Ethical Conduct. Violating these standards will subject the Attorney to discipline and possible loss of his or her license. This framework of rules for the Attorneys to follow was designed to protect clients from fraud and poor work product. This should be important to you when you are seeking to have work done on your behalf. Before hiring an Attorney, check to see whether they are in Good Standing with their State Bar Association. I have a link on my home page that takes you directly to the Ohio Supreme Court’s web page so you can check on my good standing. If you’re thinking of trying to save money and not hire an Attorney, you will likely have nowhere to go to check the background of the people who you are thinking of doing business with. A BBB sticker isn’t good enough.
Another closely related issue to trust is accountability. If mistakes are made by an attorney, he or she is accountable for their work and when working with a lawyer, you always have recourse to address their mistakes. An Attorney is duty bound to perform his or her work at a very high standard. If the Attorney’s work falls below the acceptable standard, then you can complain and get help resolving your matter by contacting the Attorney’s Bar Association. You don’t get this same level of trust or accountability with the discount visa processing companies that offer visa processing at extremely low prices. Trust and accountability are worth a lot.
The next big factor to consider is experience. As an experienced Attorney, I know how confusing the process can be and how difficult it can be to work with the various governmental agencies involved in applying for and getting a Fiancé or Marriage Visa. Familiarity with the forms is important, but filling out the forms is only a small part of what your service provider should be doing for you. The entire process must be fully understood and keeping up with changes in the process is a must. USCIS, the National Visa Center (NVC) and our US Embassies around the world are always making changes to the forms they accept and their application steps and requirements. If experience doesn’t matter to you, then save the most money you can and do the work yourself. You are allowed to represent yourself.
Another factor you should consider when choosing who to help you obtain a Fiance or Marriage Visa, is who exactly will be doing the work? I recently reviewed a popular web site for a discount visa processing company with great prices. The web site showed a picture of their office with several cubicles behind a glass reception area that was obviously designed to show the viewer that they were a legitimate company with lots of employees. I guess the impression that they were trying to convey is that they must be a successful company to have such nice office space and room for lots of employees. When I looked at the picture, I couldn’t help but wonder who would be sitting in the cubicles doing the actual work. Who would these people be? What would you know about them? Would they be Attorneys? No way. Instead, I bet they are clerical workers hired by the hour to sit and fill out your forms. Will you ever get to meet the people assigned to your case? Can you speak with them if you have a question? Would they have the authority to pick up the phone and speak with you if they had a question about your paperwork, spellings, discrepancies in your official records, or if they had a question about your background. Or are they just an hourly worker looking for a pay check who might just fill in your forms as quickly as they could and move on to the next file? Whoever they are, would you feel comfortable giving someone you don’t know your most private information.
You should also consider the time it will take to do your work, but finding the fastest service provider should not be your focus. Everyone wants their case to be processed quickly, but to do it right and to give it the care and attention that it needs, takes time. I don’t promise the fastest service and the most experienced Attorneys usually don’t. Rushing through all the documents, forms and paperwork can lead to careless errors, which in turn, can delay the process for longer than it should normally take. Hire someone that will tend to your matter at an efficient pace, but carefully.
Lastly, call a few of the firms and companies advertising their services. Call them up and see who you get to talk to. Here is where you have to trust your own judgment. Is the person you are speaking with the person who will do the work? Do you get a good feeling when talking with them? Do you feel you can work with them and call them anytime you might have questions? Will they be responsive to your calls after you have paid them? If so, you have found a good person to work with.
You are welcome to call me anytime to discuss your immigration plans. You can always reach me toll free at 1-888-515-3529. I wish you well and I hope that you make a good choice for you and your family.
Attorney Jeff Pettys