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Answering Common Immigration Process Questions Helping Individuals Achieve Their American Dream

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You’ve probably heard the phrase, “The American Dream.” If you are a permanent resident of the United States, you may be wondering how you can pursue that dream and become a citizen. On the other hand, if you are currently residing outside the United States and are planning to move here, you may be asking yourself if it is even possible to pursue citizenship at all.

crowd immigrants holding a US flag

Fortunately, the answer to both of these questions is yes! The process for obtaining U.S. citizenship is relatively straightforward, but there are some requirements that must be fulfilled in order to be eligible.

To help you in the process, we’ve answered some of the most common questions about the immigration process. If you wish to be guided on your application, keep reading. 

How much does a green card cost? 


If you’re interested in obtaining a green card, it’s important to understand the associated costs. In 2022, the government filing fees for a family-based green card are $1760 for an applicant living in the United States or $1200 for an applicant living outside of the United States. This fee is mandatory and must be submitted with the application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that there may be additional fees for biometrics, medical exams, and other supporting documents. 

Learn more about the total cost of getting a green card. 

How much does a US immigration lawyer cost? 


If you choose to work with an immigration lawyer, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $600 per hour. This cost can include consultation fees, court proceedings fees, and other fees associated with the immigration process. It’s important to keep in mind that the total cost of hiring an immigration lawyer can vary depending on the complexity of your case, the experience of the lawyer, and the amount of time and work required to successfully resolve your immigration matter. 

Do I need a lawyer for a green card? 


The answer to this question depends on your individual circumstances. While you are not required to hire a lawyer to file for a green card, many people choose to do so to ensure they are properly following all immigration laws and regulations. Hiring an immigration lawyer can help increase your chances of success in the immigration process and provide peace of mind. If you do choose to work with a lawyer, it’s important to research and compares different immigration lawyers to find one that best suits your needs. 

What’s the difference between Immigration Attorneys & Immigration Paralegal? 


An immigration attorney and an immigration paralegal are both professionals involved in immigration law, but there are differences in their qualifications, responsibilities, and services offered. 

Immigration Attorney:

  • An immigration attorney is a licensed attorney who has completed a law degree and passed the bar exam.

  • Has the ability to provide legal representation in immigration court and handle immigration cases before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and other government agencies.

  • Responsibilities include preparing and filing immigration applications, representing clients in removal proceedings, and providing legal advice on immigration-related matters.

  • Can provide a wide range of immigration services, including family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, asylum, and naturalization.

Immigration Paralegal:

  • An immigration paralegal is a professional who works under the supervision of an immigration attorney and assists with immigration-related tasks.

  • Does not have the ability to provide legal representation in court or before government agencies.

  • Responsibilities include preparing immigration forms and documents, conducting legal research, and assisting clients with immigration procedures.

  • May also offer additional services such as document preparation, translation services, and visa processing.

While immigration paralegals play an important role in the immigration process and can provide valuable support, they cannot provide legal representation or offer the same level of protection and representation as an immigration attorney.

Can an immigration lawyer speed up the process? 

Compared to the usual DIY where you are responsible for gathering the right documents, filing the correct forms, and navigating the system yourself, an immigration lawyer can definitely help to speed up the process. Immigration lawyers are knowledgeable in all aspects of immigration law, so they know what documents you need to provide and which forms to submit. They can also help you make sure that your application is properly completed and filed correctly. Thus, preparing your case faster and minimizing potential delays that could arise from mistakes or incomplete information. An immigration lawyer can also help to ensure that all deadlines are met and be available to answer any questions you have along the way. Additionally, they can represent you in court if necessary and provide legal advice on other related matters. 

What disqualifies you from getting a green card? 


It is important to be aware and understand that some criminal convictions may disqualify you from getting a green card. This includes: 

  • Aggravated felonies: These are serious criminal offenses that can include any felony offense as defined by federal law, including murder, rape, and certain types of fraud.

  • Crimes of “Moral Turpitude”: This category covers a range of crimes that involve intentional dishonest behavior or intent to harm another person. Examples include theft, perjury, kidnapping, and accessory to murder.

  • Illegal drug involvement: If you were involved in selling, manufacturing, or trafficking illegal drugs, this could disqualify you from getting a green card.

It’s important to remember that these are just some of the criminal convictions that can negatively affect your chances of obtaining a green card. It’s best to consult with an immigration lawyer to learn more. Ultimately, understanding what criminal convictions may impact your chances of getting a green card can help you make informed decisions and avoid any potential roadblocks in the future. 

What is the fastest immigration process?


Are you looking for the fastest way to immigrate to the United States? The fastest way to immigrate is through marriage to a U.S. citizen. Typically, this process can take from six to nine months, after which you will receive a temporary green card. After two years of proving the validity of your marriage, you may be eligible for permanent green card status and eventually full citizenship.

Keep in mind that while being married to a U.S. citizen is the fastest way to immigrate, it is still important to understand all of the requirements and potential roadblocks along the way. It’s best to consult with an immigration lawyer or preparer prior to beginning this process in order to ensure that you are prepared.

Helpful article: Can an immigration attorney speed up the process? 

What are the requirements to become a U.S. citizen?


Before applying for U.S. citizenship, there are certain requirements you must meet in order to be eligible: 

  • Be at least 18 years of age and have held a green card for five years, or three years if filing as the spouse of a U.S. citizen

  • Be able to demonstrate continuous residence and physical presence in the U.S. for at least 3 months prior to filing

  • Have a basic understanding of the English language, including reading, writing, and speaking

  • Possess knowledge of U.S. government structure and history (also known as civics)Be of good moral character, and do not have any trips outside of the U.S. for 6 months or longer

  • You must also meet certain financial requirements, including having the ability to support yourself and your family financially in the United States.

By meeting your requirements, you can start your journey to becoming a U.S. citizen. Be sure to consult with an immigration attorney or a lawyer so you can be confident that you are guided through the process correctly and understand all of the steps necessary to complete your citizenship application.

The Bottom Line


Immigrant attorneys and lawyers can help you understand the requirements for getting a green card or becoming a U.S. citizen, and how your credit score may affect your application. Make sure to take time and research all the requirements and consult with an immigration lawyer or preparer before filing any paperwork. 

We hope that we answer some of the questions you may have about the requirements for getting a green card or becoming a U.S. citizen. If you have any more questions that you want you to want to discuss in detail, make sure to contact us at Westover Law Firm. We have immigrant attorneys and lawyers that can help you understand the process and make sure your application is successful.

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