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Lawyers, Visa Services & USCIS…The Truth

When it comes time to file a petition with USCIS for your K1 fiancé or CR1 spouse, you have multiple options on how to get the petition completed.

Many people ask themselves if they can do it alone. The answer is yes, provided that you do lots of research and make yourself aware of the requirements & the process. Failure to provide the required information or documents, in support of the petition, will undoubtedly result in either a rejection of the petition or an RFE (request for evidence). While an RFE is not a definite rejection, it is a temporary hold on the processing of your petition, until you get the required items needed for completion of the processing. You will also be given a specified amount of time in which you must get the info to USCIS, or the petition will be rejected. I’ve seen many people go it alone, only to get the RFE, simply because they did not do their homework. And to be quite honest, USCIS doesn’t care that you didn’t understand the process or requirements, because there are other options you could have taken to get it right the first time.

That brings us to the lawyers. Many people go to lawyers, for the simple fact that there is a belief that these people know everything, and since they come with a hefty price tag, they will always get it right. Not so fast!!

First, lawyers are only human, and humans make mistakes; this is found on both sides in the lawyer/client arena of US immigration, and the K1 fiancé visa service or CR1 spouse visa service. Second, lawyers are typically very busy, and your fiancé visa petition is tossed on the desk of an intern or legal assistant, who does not have the experience that the lawyer actually has. It’s basically like handing your petition to the neighbor you’ve never met, and asking them to prepare your petition, and telling them that they will only get a fraction of what you actually paid someone else to do it!! Yeah, that’s gonna turn out great!! Just wait a few months, and yep…here comes the RFE!!

Then there are the fiancé visa service agencies…

One thing that these providers have going for them (for the most part) is that this is pretty much all they do, handling fiancé visa petitions, spouse visa petitions, AOS (adjustment of status, i.e. green cards). Some of these companies are quite large, with large staff who are, you guessed it, paid an hourly rate. Turnover is standard in their staffing, and again, your petition is being handled by someone who knows they are doing all the work for a fraction of what you paid. Some of these companies handle thousands of petitions annually, with a fairly high rejection or denial rate. Now, I say fairly high simply because ANY failure is too much. There is no excuse for an incomplete petition being submitted to USCIS. I mean, many of these companies claim to be “experts”, right? And let’s not forget to mention the fiance visa service providers that are based outside the United States. These companies also claim to be “experts”, yet what they fail to mention is that fiancé visa petitions must be filed by the US petitioner (US citizen) in the US; they cannot be filed overseas, and cannot be filed at the embassy, which some providers have positioned themselves close to. Just because they are near a US embassy does NOT increase your chances of getting the service you need. The fact that they are overseas should be a red flag. Their first language is not English, so the phone support you need will be limited, as well as being limited to hours that most Americans reserve for sleeping!!

Then we have the smaller fiancé visa service providers. Typically, if they’ve been in business for a reasonable amount of time, yet remained small, they provide a much more detailed service, and don’t farm-out the petition to an hourly employee who won’t even be working for them when your interview time arrives. The smaller providers also pay more attention to detail, as they are not a fiance visa clearing house; many of the smaller service providers have also go through the same process, so they know exactly what needs to be done, and how important it is to get it right the first time.

At Visa Services International, we have remained small for those reasons, and after 14 years, we have never had a rejected petition or a denied visa at the embassy level. This success rate is not easy to obtain, (or retain), and takes hard work & diligence in doing things the right way, the first time. Over the years, we have had clients who went to lawyers…and failed; went to lawyers, and saw no action being taken for months…even after paying thousands of dollars for “professional” service. Some of our clients have used high-end immigration attorneys, and then came to us after they were failed by this “expert”. Where are these clients now? Happily together here in the United States, building their lives together and working on their future.

So the choices that have been outlined here are pretty much the only choices you have when faced with preparing & filing a petition with USCIS, and going with a lawyer or big-box visa clearing houses are honestly not wise choices. If you don’t want to do it yourself, let Visa services International get you the results you need, and let your immigration issues become our immigration issues.

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