The Process: How Does It Work?
Step 1 – Diagnosis of the Immigration Problem
Sometimes clients know exactly what they need. For example, a client from Canada may have married an American and wants to immigrate there. Pretty straight forward. On other occasions, however, especially when immigration matters have been botched up, clients don’t have a clear idea of what they need. An initial consultation is required to sort things out. Either way, you speak with one of our attorneys to determine what strategy would best address your immigration needs. Once the matter is discussed, you then make a decision whether you want to go ahead working with us.
Step 2 – Legal Services Agreement
Once we have agreed on an immigration strategy, we sign a legal services agreement. The agreement essentially says that the client is hiring the attorney to obtain the relevant immigration benefit, for example: permanent residence in the United States. The agreement summarizes the strategy agreed to, sets out how much it will cost and authorizes the attorney to act on the client’s behalf. The agreement is signed and payment is made by credit card or by check.
Step 3 – Intake Questionnaire
In order to prepare the immigration application, the client is asked to fill in a detailed intake questionnaire to be used by the law office in preparing all the documents. The client is also asked to collect all the documents necessary to be included in the immigration application package.
Step 4 – Preparation and Review of the Application
Once the law office has received the intake questionnaire and copies of all the relevant documents we prepare the preliminary draft of the package to be submitted. In this context we prepare all the forms, send them to the client for review and correction, and then include them in the package.
Step 5 – Submission of the Application
Once all the forms have been corrected, all the documents collected and copied and all the various job letters or other reference letters obtained the law office compiles the final complete package with an index and tabs to all the relevant sections. Mr. Semotiuk then undertakes a final review of the submission to ensure everything is complete. We then send the package to the client for final signature and then submit the package to the relevant Immigration Office.
Step 6 – Follow Up and Monitoring Progress
After the submission of the application in time the documents are reviewed by the Immigration Office. Often certain additions or corrections are requested. For example, a better copy of a birth certificate, or a translation of a document may be needed. Sometimes the Immigration Office indicates that it requires more evidence to support the contentions made in the application. For example, copies of transcripts from schools or letters from former employers confirming past employment may be requested. Our office works with you to make these corrections and to get the application back on track to get approved. From time to time we check in with Immigration and with the client to determine if progress is being made. Occasionally heroic efforts have to be undertaken to break through a log jam at the Immigration Office. We work with you whatever we encounter to ensure the matter is dealt with. Rarely, but it can happen, the entire application has to be re-worked and re-submitted. We do whatever is required to get the visa sought.
Step 7 – Approval and Follow Up
Once approval is obtained we forward the relevant document to the client and notify him or her of any future requirements that exist regarding the approval. For example, a work visa may expire in three years, a conditional green card may require a further application in two years to remove the condition or a permanent resident may want to apply for citizenship in a few years. We advise the client of what is required. Following conclusion, from time to time we stay in touch with clients to address any future immigration needs.
We will enter into a legal services agreement in which these costs and steps will be outlined and which we will sign. You will then fax the agreement, along with your credit card payment information to us. We will then send you an intake questionnaire for you to fill out for us to collect all the necessary information. Using the intake information, we will then prepare the application for your signatures.