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Do I need a lawyer for a K1/K3 Fiance/Spouse visa or I can wing it myself? [2011.03.19]
   Many people, if not the majority, try to go through the entire fiancé/spousal petition process without the help from an immigration attorney.  The needed information is readily available on the internet.  Filling up forms and collecting all documents is hardly a rocket science.  In general, everything the Petitioner (US citizen) and the Beneficiary (foreign spouse) need is:
1.    Proof of Petitioners status.
2.    Biographic information for both Petitioner and Beneficiary.
3.    Photographs.
4.    Evidence of Valid Marriage in case of Spousal (K3) petition or evidence of Valid Relations in case of Fiancé (K1) petition.
5.    Supplemental Evidence of Valid Marriage/Relations.
6.    Any Divorce or Death certificates from previous marriages.
   What could possibly go wrong, resulting sometimes in 40% of visas being rejected?  Never mind rejections.  Even more often applicants get slammed with lengthy delays.
   Simply put, the package prepared without an experienced immigration attorney could lead to many kinds of upsets.  An attorney is like any other trained professional.  Day in and day out they prepare millions of forms and letters.  They know how to easily spot mistakes.  They know what is needed, and what could disappoint an immigration officer.  They know what level of proof is required to demonstrate a bona fide marriage.
   Think health.  Many people try to treat their symptoms on their own with quite an impressive rate of survival.  If things get more complex than a cold, everybody runs to see a doc.  Apparently, risks of self-treatment outweigh financial worries.  Even high levels of medical malpractice do not deter people from frequenting doctor offices.  If you skip on a doctors visit, you might end up incapacitated or even dead. 
   Attorneys are a lot like doctors.  Except, if you skip on immigration attorney your health stays the same.  You endanger your foreign spouse or a fiancé instead.  They are far enough.  You will not face their wrath if you fail their immigration.  Or you face a long distance rage and just shrug it off.  Could that be a reason for people skipping on immigration attorneys more often than on doctors? 
   Any person could take on getting their fiancé or a spouse across the border without a legal help.  Many succeed, and tell stories, minimizing the difficulty of the entire process.  Those who crash would no doubt like to turn the time back and hire an immigration attorney.  However, recovering the lost time or fiancé is much more difficult than spending on attorneys fees.  No attorney would be able to help you with that
   Finally, a little disclaimer is appropriate.  What legal article could be without a disclaimer?  Do not read the above text as reassurance that with an immigration attorney on your side everything will work.  Attorneys are people.  People are prone to make mistakes.  However, a good immigration attorney should know where mistakes are likely and would know the best way around them.  The client will also stay informed about the possibility of mistakes.  It is always better to be prepared rather than sorry.

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