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Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?

Nov 30, 2023

Learn when an immigration lawyer is worth it and when to file on your own.

With countless immigration laws to understand, and complex government forms to complete, you may be asking yourself: do I need an immigration lawyer? In many cases, immigration lawyers can play a critical role in helping individuals, families, and employers navigate the U.S. immigration system, ensuring that their rights are protected and helping them achieve their immigration goals in a lawful and efficient manner. 

An immigrant gets help filing taxes.

Let’s take a deeper look at when an immigration lawyer is worth it and how to enlist the best immigration help for your specific journey.

When is an Immigration Lawyer Needed?

If you encounter immigration issues that feel too challenging to handle on your own, you may want to hire an immigration lawyer. Immigration lawyers possess specialized knowledge of U.S. immigration law and can provide valuable assistance in the following types of scenarios:

If You Have Prior Immigration Violations

If your immigration situation is more complicated, involving factors like prior visa denials, visa overstays, or inadmissibility issues, an immigration lawyer may be helpful for you to navigate these complexities and find appropriate solutions.

If You’re Currently Out of Status in the U.S.

If you or a family member are currently out of status in the U.S., or have been living in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant, it may be helpful to enlist an immigration attorney’s help with your visa or green card application. Being out of status or undocumented may add a layer of complexity to your case that an immigration lawyer can help you overcome or determine the best path forward.

If You Have Criminal History

Any previous criminal charges or encounters with law enforcement can jeopardize your ability to receive certain visas or immigration benefits in the U.S., or sponsor a family member for a green card. In this case, an immigration lawyer can help you file any necessary waivers of inadmissibility to increase your chances of approval.

If You’re Facing Deportation or Removal Proceedings

If you are currently facing deportation or removal proceedings, or going through the immigration court system, an immigration lawyer can provide crucial representation, help you build a strong defense, and explore different avenues to prevent deportation.

If You Need to Expedite Your Application

If you’ve been waiting on an application update for a significantly long time, or you urgently need a decision on your case due to an emergency situation, an immigration lawyer may be able to help you expedite the process with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

If You Need Help Figuring Out Your Immigration Options

Figuring out the best immigration path for you can be difficult, especially when you have several different options to choose from. Enlisting an immigration attorney may be helpful for you to explore all of the options available and choose the best course of action for your immigration goals, your family, and what you value most.

Everyone’s immigration journey is unique, and with that may come specific legal questions about your rights and responsibilities. Immigration attorneys can answer your legal questions, provide legal advice on your unique case, and help increase your chances of reaching your immigration goals.

If You Need English Language Help During the Process

If you are unable to read documents in English, or communicate comfortably with immigration officials in English, it may be helpful to enlist a bilingual immigration attorney who can advocate for you during the application and visa interview process.

What if My Case is More Straightforward?

You’re not required to hire an immigration lawyer when applying for a visa or green card, whether you are currently in the United States or applying from abroad. If your case is straightforward, you clearly meet the eligibility requirements for the visa or benefit you’re seeking, and you have a clean record with no criminal history or past immigration issues, it’s possible to complete the entire process without legal representation.

Which Option is Best for Me?

Whether or not you enlist an immigration lawyer’s help for your immigration journey is a personal decision. Generally speaking, individuals with more complex cases (such as prior immigration violations or criminal history, as noted above) may benefit from the support of an immigration attorney. If you simply want extra peace of mind for your application, enlisting legal help may also be the right option for you. If you’re confident that your case is straightforward, and you can file your application without raising any legal red flags, an immigration attorney may not be necessary.

Boundless tip

If you’d like expert support and guidance for your immigration process, Boundless can help. For family immigration services, Boundless offers two service tiers with optional legal support — Essential (Guided Application) and Premium (Lawyer-Guided Application):

Essential Package

Guided application

Complete immigration application, delivered to your doorstep

Comprehensive review of all government forms and documents

Unlimited live support

Guaranteed approval, or your money back

Starting at:


or $120 /month

Premium Package

Lawyer-guided application

All Essential services and guarantees included, plus:

Attorney review and feedback for your entire application

Personalized interview preparation with an immigration attorney

Starting at:


or $108 /month

No matter which Boundless service you choose, you’ll always get hands-on guidance from our team trained by immigration attorneys and former USCIS officers. With over 90,000 visa approvals and ten years of experience, we know what it takes for you to succeed. Learn more about our top-rated network of independent attorneys here.

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