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How to Hire a Bergen County Immigration Lawyer

 immigration lawyers

When it comes to filing for any immigration benefits there is a substantial amount of paperwork involved.  It would seem that everyone would hire a lawyer to process an immigration case, but that is not what always happens.  In many places such as Bergen County, New Jersey, there is a teeming "quasi" underground business of immigration forms preparation.  In may instances, these business call themselves immigration consultants or Notario Publicos, and some even hide under the guise of travel agents and translations services, and other such businesses.  They all charge less than licensed Bergen County immigration lawyer, but they are unable to provide the service of a true immigration lawyer.

Immigration Consultants

In Bergen County, New Jersey, as in other cities and states there are many such immigration consultants who offer to help obtain legal residency. Some of them are honest and hardworking and limit their work to forms preparation without to resorting to making believe that they are licensed New Jersey Immigration Lawyers. Some of the consultants are former employees of the Immigration Service or were U.S. consular employees.  As there is NO LICENSE for immigration consultants and NO EXAMINATION needed, you can imagine the inconsistency in the quality of the work.  Consultants, unlike a licensed Bergen County Immigration Lawyer are not subject to discipline by the Bar Association and normally cannot be held for damages for their work product.

One thing for sure, the immigration consultants, are not permitted to appear at an immigration hearing to represent a client.  Not only can they not appear in front of an immigration examiner, they are not permitted to represent anyone in immigration court.

And there is no guarantee that when they complete the immigration forms that they know how to conduct a proper review, the way a licensed Bergen County Immigration Lawyer would do, to prevent needless complications and possible deportation action.  To make a complaint against an Immigration Consultant click here .

Notario Publico

In the United States, Notaries are authorized to compare signatures and certify "notarize" that the signature on a form is that of the person who is named on the form, take oaths, or certifying a copy of paper.  But that is not so in many foreign countries.  In Latin countries, Notarios hold an esteemd position very similar to lawyers.  The Notario prepares documents, and reviews their execution and in some countries may have the power of law.

New immigrants get confused and believe that an American Notary has the same power and place in our society as that of a Notario  in their country.  The immigrant believing that a Notatio is like a licensed lawyer, hires the Notario and in many cases, find themselves in "hot water."  In the United States most anyone can become a Notary Public, by filling our an application and taking a very simple test.    To make a complaint against a Notario Publico click here.

Travel Agencies and Translation Services

There are some travel agencies and Translation services that go well beyond their corporate charter.  They engage in similar activities, that the Notario Publico and the Immigration Consultants are doing by acting like a licensed Bergen County Immigration lawyer.  However, in most every case, these agencies do little more that type up the immigration forms,not knowing what the immigration service in truly asking in each question. In many cases, their clients do not get the "Green Card" they they believed was forthcoming, instead they receive a Notice to Appear" for a deportation hearing in Immigration Court.

How to Select a licensed Bergen County Immigration Lawyer

There are good reasons to hire a licensed Bergen County Immigration Lawyer  to handle your case. If you run into any problem during  the process, you will  need legal assistance to resolve it. If your immigration situation is complicated, there is even a greater reason to hire a licensed Bergen County immigration lawyer. 

If you're going to hire an immigration lawyer, you need to do your research. A good lawyer will be worth every penny you pay him, but  a poor one may may wind up  adding  to your problems and costing a lot more in the long run.


Here are some tips to help you during your search.

  • Get references. Ask friends, family, or colleagues if they know any good immigration lawyers.People are quick to recommend a good lawyer and even quicker to badmouth  a bad  one. Be careful however, as no two cases are alike, so if your friend had a very simple case, it does not mean that the lawyer has experience with a complication one. Also try to find out about the lawyers personality.  Some layers have good beside manners, while others are gruff and demeaning.  You have to find a lawyer that fits well with your personality. Make sure the lawyer is a member of  AILA. Search for a lawyer on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) website. AILA is a  primary  association of immigration lawyers and attorneys, so you can be reasonably sure that  you're speaking to  someone who understands immigration law and policies. While membership in AILA is not a mandatory to practice immigration law, membership can be a good indication of a lawyer's level of commitment to the practice.
  • Find articles written by the limmigration lawyer or writen about him/her.  Search the internet for articles written about this Bergen County immigration  lawyer.  Make sure these articles are favorable.  Look for articles this Bergen County immigration  lawyer has written and read them. In this way you will find out how the lawyer thinks and the depth of his knowledge.
  • Make a short list of Bergen County immigration lawyers . Interview the  lawyers to find one who matches your needs. Ask  about their experience. Find out if they have worked with your type of case before. Immigration law is a complicated specialty, so you'll want a lawyer who is experienced with your specific type of case.  At the consultation you will be able to determine if the lawyer is understanding, listens to your problems. answer your question clearly Look for  whatever traits you like to see in your lawyer.  Make sure that he has many years of experience.Compare fee schedules. Some lawyers bill  hourly while others charge a flat fee. Find out  if there are additional costs such as postage, mailing fees or long distance charges. In many cases immigration work can be estimated fairly accurately. Others are quite difficult to predict. An immigration  lawyer is more likely to charge an hourly rate for a deportation case, and a flat fee for family related matters.
  • Verify credentials. When you believe that you've found a lawyer you feel comfortable with,  you should find out if the lawyer is licensed and not under disciplinary action.  This link will help you do this. 
  • Get a Retainer.  You should always receive a retainer from the lawyer, which will clearly state the legal fees and other charges and the manner of payment.

  • Make sure the person  running the office is a lawyer. Notaries, consultants, or others who are not licensed as a lawyer at times pretend to be a licensed Bergen County immigration lawyer.  Sometimes they are lawyers, but form another country, sometimes they are American lawyers that have lost the license. Look for the lawyer's license on the wall. Some licensed lawyers may not display their certificates, so ask if the person is a lawyer. Look at the business card from the office. Make sure it says that the person is a lawyer or attorney, not an immigration consultant or Notario Publico.

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Moses Apsan and his staff, based in New York City and Newark, NJ provide exceptional legal services throughout the world, in all aspects of immigration to the United States, including non-immigrant (temporary visas), immigrant visa (Green Card) and deportation defense. In addition Mr. Apsan, has been practicing Bankruptcy law and Divorce laws for over 30 years, He was the President of the Federal Bar Association, New Jersey Chapter (1997-2002). He speaks Portuguese and Spanish..
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