Green Cards (Common)
National Interest Waivers
Professors & Researchers
Executives & Managers
PERM Labor Certification
Investors (EB-5 visas)
Family (Spouse, etc.)
Work Visas (Common)
O-1 Extraordinary Ability
TN Canadians & Mexicans
J-1 Visa Holders
Nurses & Physical Therapists
Frequently Asked Questions About Attorneys & Fees
The cost of immigration services can be confusing, as the cost of legal services may vary widely. This page answers some of our clients' most frequent questions about selecting attorneys and legal fees.
Whether you need an immigration lawyer to handle your immigration matter is difficult to assess without being an experienced immigration lawyer. Generally, it is best to contact an immigration lawyer to explain your circumstances, and determine how much it would cost to have the lawyer help you. If you truly cannot afford a lawyer, most lawyers will refer you to a bar association or other nonprofit agency that can assist you for free or for a reduced rate based on your income.
Whether you need a Peng & Weber lawyer depends on who you are and what you need. If you are looking for the cheapest lawyer you can find, we are not it. We provide high quality services at a fair fee. We do not provide cut-rate service at a cut-rate fee. On the other hand, if you are looking for a law firm with a substantial experience in permanent residency applications, achievement-based immigration (aliens of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors or researchers, national interest waivers, or J-1 waivers) or other areas of business immigration law (H, L, O, TN visas, labor certification, etc.), then you should definitely consider us.
Peng & Weber lawyers can also assist your company, your family, or you in many other areas of U.S. immigration law. We strive to achieve excellence in all of the immigration matters we handle. If you ask us to assist you in an area in which we do not feel we can provide you with the highest quality service, we will gladly refer you to someone who specializes in that particular area of immigration law. If you would like more information, please contact us.
AILA is the acronym for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, a national organization of immigration lawyers. Whether you need a lawyer who is a member of the AILA depends. Being a member of AILA does not automatically make someone a competent and experienced immigration lawyer. On the other hand, the absence of AILA membership does not automatically indicate a lack of competence or experience in immigration matters. Immigration matters can be, however, very complex, and being a member of AILA at least demonstrates a serious effort on the lawyer's part to stay current on the latest changes in immigration law.
Why would I need an attorney if so much information is available on the Internet?
The Internet is a great resource for information about immigration. However, relying on information contained in a website or trying to file your own immigration petition can cause serious problems. Filing a badly-prepared immigration petition can delay or even destroy your chance at obtaining immigration benefits. Immigration law is complex, complicated and constantly changing. Your application for immigration status requires a comprehensive and current knowledge of immigration law, and the experience to determine how the laws apply for your particular situation. An immigration attorney such as Peng & Weber has the necessary expertise to ensure that your petition is complete and well-prepared.
How do most immigration attorneys charge for their services?
Immigration lawyers usually charge fees for their services on a flat or fixed-fee basis. Others charge purely hourly rates. Yet others charge a combination, depending on the circumstances. With flat fees, the client agrees to pay the attorney a set amount of money to represent the client with a particular immigration issue, such as a labor certification application or a petition for H-1B visa status. The benefit of this fee structure is that the client knows the legal costs from the start and can budget accordingly.
How does Peng & Weber charge for immigration services?
Our fees vary depending on the complexity and type of immigration case. For most standard immigration services, Peng & Weber charges a "flat fee" for our services For difficult cases, or where the time involved in a case may vary, we may establish an hourly fee. Our firm has years of experience and expertise in immigration law to ensure that your case is handled effectively and efficiently. If you would like more information on how Peng & Weber can provide immigration advice to you or your company, please contact us.
What factors determine the fee an immigration attorney will charge?
There is often a wide fluctuation in the fees charged by an immigration attorney. Several factors determine the appropriate fee, including the complexity of the case, and the attorney's experience and reputation. The more difficult the case, the more time an attorney would have to spend on it and therefore a higher fee would be involved. Another factor is the attorney's experience and reputation in the field. One would expect to pay more for an attorney with twenty years of experience in the field rather than one with only two years of experience.
What is the difference between "fees" and "costs"?
"Fees" are the amount you will pay for the professional time spent by the attorney and staff on your case. In addition to the "fees" for professional services, you will be asked to pay for "costs." Costs include any filing fees charged by the U.S. Immigration Service and may include other things, such as express mail, photocopying, long-distance charges, etc. You may ask your attorney what is included with the quoted price, and an estimate of the other expenses that are not included.
What information should I get about an immigration attorney?
You should research the background of the attorney and firm you are considering hiring to ensure they have a good reputation and the experience to properly handle your case. You can check their website, and call the local State Bar or check the State Bar's website for the attorney's name. Once you have identified an attorney, you should request an initial consultation with the attorney and a written price quote for your case. A consultation will provide you with the opportunity to meet with the attorney, to learn more about the firm and ask questions about its services. The bottom line is that you need to make an informed and reasoned judgment about the attorney and the fees that are being charged.
How do I choose the right lawyer for me?
You may wish to meet with two or three immigration attorneys to develop a better sense of what fees and costs are reasonable. While the fees quoted vary, you should be wary if there appears to a wide discrepancy between the fees quoted. In addition, while an immigration consultant may seem like a less-costly alternative to hiring an immigration attorney, you should be aware that you could be putting you and your family's future at risk. Please do your homework when selecting an immigration attorney.
What is an immigration consultant?
You may find that there are numerous "Immigration Consultants" who offer their services for immigration. Often, but not always, the fees that they charge are low, making these services appear attractive if you require immigration help but are concerned with the amount of money involved. However, you should be warned that immigration consultants are not licensed immigration attorneys, and are not authorized to provide legal immigration advice. Immigration consultants often do not have the necessary experience or education, and do not have the ethical obligations imposed by the State Bar Association.
The consequences of hiring an immigration consultant may be extremely unfavorable. Filing a badly-prepared immigration petition can delay or even destroy your chance at obtaining immigration benefits. In many cases, immigration consultants have accepted money and then failed to provide any service at all. The situation has become so serious that the U.S. Congress has proposed legislation that would make certain fraudulent immigration consultant practices a criminal offense. Many states vigorously prosecute immigration consultants.