The paperwork for K1 (fiancé) and IR-1/CR-1 (spouse) visas appear very difficult at first glance. There are many forms to fill out with detailed questions to be answered and supplemental information to be attached. It looks nearly impossible for the average person to tackle. That’s why one of the most asked questions related to these visas is “Do I need a lawyer?”. Fortunately, the answer is fairly simple.
You need a lawyer if…
In certain situations, you should most definitely consult a good immigration attorney. You speak with a good lawyer if your foreign partner has:
- overstayed their visa to the United States
- earned a ban to the United States for any reason
- a long, violent or sexual criminal history
- any other red flags
“Any other red flags” may include such things as having come to the U.S. as a fiancé or spouse of someone else in the past or having an illness that may prevent him or her from immigrating. Think like an immigration officer and go over your case with a fine-toothed comb: do you see any red flags? If anything stands out to you, it is worth consulting a lawyer. When you speak to a potential lawyer for your case, make sure to ask them about their experiences handling cases like yours.
You might want a lawyer if…
It is what it seems: the paperwork and document collection for the fiancé and spousal visas takes a lot of time. If you are short on time but not short on money, you may want to hire a lawyer to manage the process for you. When I was investigating immigration lawyers, I found that most charged between $3,000 and $4,000 for the K1 visa. Be careful, though: not all lawyers are good lawyers. Word of mouth is a great way to find an attorney. Ask people you know if they’ve used any immigration attorneys in the area and what they thought of them.
You shouldn’t use a lawyer if…
There are certainly reasons not to use a lawyer. The most obvious reason is financial. The visa fees are high and hiring a lawyer will add thousands of dollars to the cost. Also, each lawyer handles many immigration cases and can’t focus all of their energy on your case. If you do your own paperwork, however, you can focus all your energy on it and control every detail.
If you decide to take on the visa process without professional help, you should be following VisaJourney’s guides exactly.