What to Expect from a Consultation
The importance of a consultation is not to be underestimated. It is the most important thing that happens in every case as that is when the majority of the decisions for the case take place.
We do not do removal defense or business immigration. Please see the "About Us" page for more regarding the types of cases we handle.
The consultation fee is $375 for 30 minutes for a telephone consultation and $500 for 30 minutes for an in-person consultation.
DO NOT send us any documents for the consultation unless we specifically request them by email.
After you submit the intake sheet and pay the consultation fee, you will receive an email within one business day offering you time slots for the consultation. Time slots are during business hours Philadelphia time Monday through Thursday. The consultation usually takes place within two to three business days after we receive the consultation fee.
Purpose of a consultation
- Determine what action or relief is necessary and available for the case.
- Estimate the chances of success. This is especially important for any type of discretionary relief.
- Explain the options to the potential client and the general procedures for each option.
- Recommend for or against various options for the consultee.
- Decide whether the attorney would be willing to take the case.
- Provide the client with a fee quote, based on the facts of the case.
What will not take place in a consultation
- Explaining to the consultee how to conduct his/her case without an attorney.
- How to improve a case (or waiver packet or 'letter') prepared by the consultee that he/she is about to file on his/her own.
- What arguments to use in the consultee's case and/or what documents to acquire.
Please do not pay for a consultation if what you really want is advice on how to improve your waiver packet on your own. You will be disappointed and your consultation fee will not be returned.
Complete the intake form carefully
Our assessment of the case during the consultation is based on the information provided on the intake form. If we take the case, we refer to the intake form throughout the entirety of the case in matters regarding entries/exits, marital history, arrest history, etc. Providing incorrect information on the intake form that is not corrected in the consultation can plague the rest of your case.
Understand the importance of dates, especially entries and exits
The first thing we do in a consultation is establish a timeline of entries/exits, applications for immigration benefits, arrests, marriages, children, etc. The consultation does not move on until a timeline has been established.
When/where the consultation will take place
Telephone consultations must be scheduled and are subject to availability. We are not always able to schedule a telephone consultation within 48 hours of payment. Telephone consultations are 30 minutes.
In-person consultations must be paid for in advance and will be scheduled in the same manner as a telephone consultation. In-person consultations are 30 minutes. DO NOT BRING CHILDREN TO AN IN-PERSON CONSULTATION. If you cannot find a sitter, please schedule a telephone consultation.
Email consultations are no longer available.
Who attends the consultation?
The foreign national (alien) must be present at the consultation, whether it is in-person or over the phone. If the alien is not in the United States, the consultation cannot take place in-person. It is strongly preferred for the petitioner to also be present. The alien does not necessarily have to be on the line on a three-way call if the alien is in the physical presence of the petitioner while the consultation takes place, and is available for questions. Other individuals, such as interpreters, may also be present for telephone consultations. But for in-person consultations, space is limited and only the petitioner and alien may attend. No other individuals, such as children, will be permitted to attend an in-person consultation. If you must have another individual, such as an interpreter, the consultation must take place over the phone. If the consultees need a three-way call and require assistance with conferencing, this assistance must be requested at least 24 hours in advance of the consultation. Otherwise, we will presume you are managing the conferencing aspect of the consultation and when calling us will already have all interested parties on the phone when the call comes through to us.
Consultation times are always Philadelphia time, which is Eastern Time in the United States. We are three hours ahead of Los Angeles. It is the consultee's responsibility to accurately determine the time difference. We recommend the consultee search the internet to find out the time difference between their location and Philadelphia. The current time in Philadelphia is posted on the top right corner of our website. You may need to refresh your browser to get the exact time.
Telephone appointment and in-person appointments are expected to begin on-time. Consultees calling or arriving more than 15 minutes after the appointed time, regardless of the reason, are considered to have missed their appointment and will be asked to reschedule. For this reason, telephone consultations are recommended even for consultees living in/near Houston so the consultee will not need to reschedule due to traffic congestion or difficulty finding the office. In-person consultations that are scheduled for one hour will end on time even if the consultee arrives up to 15 minutes late. Consultations - whether in person or by phone - that are scheduled for 15 to 30 minutes will have the entirety of the anticipated time as long it starts no more than 15 minutes late.
What to be sure to tell the Attorney
We will endeavor to ask all the relevant questions, but in case we neglect to ask, it is extremely important for the consultee to accurately describe in detail:
- Month/year for all of the alien's entries and exits from the US and manners of entry,
- Any arrests for the alien (or petitioner if it is a fiancé(e) visa) anywhere in the world at any time even if there was no conviction,
- All current and prior marriages for both petitioner and beneficiary (alien) anywhere in the world, including common law marriages, "tribal" marriages, marriages that you are not sure were "legal", and marriages that ended in divorce, annulment or death of the spouse, and
- Any prior immigration history, such as a prior asylum claim or attempt to adjust status.
No Credit for Consultation Fee
There is no longer a credit for the consultation fee against the legal fee for the case.
No refunds will be given once the consultation has taken place. Refunds requested one business day prior to the scheduled time of the appointment will generally be honored. If the client misses the appointment and requests a refund in lieu of rescheduling, the request for a refund must be made in writing with original signature (i.e. mailed, not faxed or scanned) and received in our office within 30 days of the date the payment was made. For in-person consultations, if the appointment is cancelled or rescheduled less than one business day in advance, a $70 cancellation fee is nonrefundable under any circumstances.
Expiration of Fee and Rescheduling
The consultation must take place within 15 days of payment of the consultation. If the consultation does not take place in those 15 days and the consultee has not requested a refund in the manner described above, the consultee forfeits the consultation fee. If a consultation needs to be rescheduled, the consultee must make the request more than 24 hours before the scheduled consultation. The consultee may do this an unlimited number of times, until 15 days from the time the consultation fee was paid. The consultee may reschedule less than 24 hours before the consultation - or after having missed the consultation - only once without incurring additional fees. The second time the consultee wishes to reschedule less than 24 hours before the consultation - or after having missed the scheduled consultation - the consultee must pay an additional, nonrefundable $25 administrative fee to reschedule the consultation.
The client will call the law firm at the scheduled time, rather than the reverse.
When legal issues arise that we cannot immediately answer
For the vast majority of the consultations we do, we do not need to perform legal research in order to give the consultee a legal opinion during the consultation. Rarely, however, we are not able to render a legal opinion during the consultation. When this occurs, we will render a legal opinion to the consultee by 5pm central time one calendar week after the consultation. For example, if the consultation takes place on a Monday and it is determined that we must perform legal research, the consultee can expect a legal opinion before 5pm central time the following Monday.