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Speed and accuracy of information between client and attorney is essential for the attorney to process your form applications efficiently to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) as well as having all the facts your attorney needs with which to design the right strategy, plead your case to USCIS, and minimize any unexpected situations that could come up as a result of misinformation. It is of crucial importance that the client realizes the serious impact that can affect their case outcome if factual information is withheld, mistaken, ignored or refusal to cooperate with this very important first step in the process to further their immigration goals and status.
Good supporting documents can make or break an application to USCIS. Depending upon the legal status being applied for, USCIS almost always needs certain major supporting documentation such as birth certificates, passports, entry documents, medical histories, financial statements, educational documentation, former immigration applications, notices or criminal records of if it applies. When you become a client, your attorney will recommend a course strategy based on your testimony and intake form information and will advise you of documents that he will need in the course of his representation. It is important that the client organize those documents and get them to the attorney in copy format as soon as possible so time is not lost calling the client and waiting for those documents to be delivered. Please leave your originals at home, unless specified by the attorney!
Here is a list of most of the documents that will be needed.
Identity - driver's license, birth certificates of client, client relatives, and family dependent children, marriage certificates, certificates of naturalization, divorce decrees and/or child support orders, social security cards, and I.D. cards.
Travel - documentation includes passports, entry documents, airline or ocean liner reservations, I-94's (Arrival-Departure Record Card), and/ or other visa entry documents.
Financials - tax returns (at least 5 years if been in the country legally or illegaly 5 years or longer.) bank accounts, pay stubs, w-2's, form 1090, other employment records and recommendations.
Educational Documentation - educational transcripts of adult clients and children as well as any other graduation or honorary certificates.
Medical History - medical records of adults and any dependent children, especially records that would prove financial hardship and/or medical disabilities.
Law Enforcement - proof of residential history, criminal records, court and hearing appearances.
Attorney / client contracts are important to sign because it requires both client and attorney to hold to a performance standard which protects and holds both the client and the attorney to certain responsibilities of performance in the course of the attorney/client relationship.
Most immigrants, unless one is part of a business or investor class, usually don't have all the money available to support attorney fees and government fees, depending what their immigration goals are. At Pacifica Legal, we are willing to work with our clients by providing an initial down payment or 35% of the balance and the rest in monthly payments. Your attorney will work out those arrangements at the beginning when you enter into an attorney / client agreement. It is important to your case management that your payments are made at the time scheduled in your attorney / client contract so that your attorney is enabled to perform his job and support his overhead expenses without distraction. The payments will be in writing within the agreement.
Consultation Credits - Any consultation fee that is charged will be credited against the balance of any service performed and outlined in the attorney / client agreement.
Since many immigrants know other immigrants that might need an attorney, Pacifica Legal even provides a referral incentive that allows a client 10% deduction off their outstanding balance up to 3 times if someone they know enters into an attorney / client contract for our services.
Form I-94 is a form used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to keep track of arrivals and departures of people who are not United States citizens or legal residents. This is one of the legal entry documents that can be used to support how one has entered the United States legally. See the following two links for more information.
United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS)
United States Customs and Border Protection
Check back for more FAQ updates as we are still compiling information to post here on our FAQ page that might prove helpful to our clients or any perspective individuals that may want the services of our attorney. If you have a question that you would like us to answer, please feel free to use our Contact page and we will evaluate the possibility of posting it on this FAQ page. Thank you!