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Immigration cases are complex matters that can dramatically affect the futures of individuals seeking better lives in the United States. Having an experienced immigration lawyer is essential to defending your rights and presenting your best arguments with respect to naturalization, deportation, and other issues. When you meet with your attorney for the first time, it’s a good idea to bring with you a few important documents that will make your meeting more productive and set you on the correct path. LaFountain & Wollman P.C. explain.

Identifying information and immigration records

Likely the most important documents you can bring to your initial consultation with your immigration attorney concern your identity and any sort of records pertaining to your immigration status or proceedings. Some examples include:

  • Passport
  • Temporary worker visa
  • Birth certificate
  • I-94 arrival documents
  • Any immigration or asylum application you filed
  • Any immigration notices, court orders, and related records

Personal and family background

Your personal and family background may prove relevant to your immigration case. To the extent the above records did not already cover these details, you should bring information concerning your:

  • Date and place of birth
  • Marital status
  • Spouse, children, and dependents, including marriage certificates and their birth certificates
  • Divorce decrees and separation agreements
  • Adoption papers (for yourself or your children)
  • Education and employment history
  • Diplomas, transcripts, and resumes
  • Tax returns
  • Medical records

It’s also important to understand that any sort of criminal record could complicate your immigration status. While this does not necessarily present an insurmountable problem, it is always best to be upfront with your attorney about these matters so they can be handled in the most advantageous way. Therefore, also bring with you anything relating to arrests, court dates, criminal records, and the like.

Notes and questions

You may have information outside of official records like the ones listed above. These could include key events concerning your immigration status, like when you left your native country or when you experienced an event that could support your request for amnesty. Make notes about your immigration experience and include as many details as you can remember, including dates, locations, and the identities of relevant individuals.

Also, when you meet with your lawyer, you will almost certainly have questions about your immigration status, court proceedings, and the potential outcome of your case. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; the more you understand about the process, the less anxiety you will have and the better prepared both you and your attorney will be. Write down your questions and be prepared to take notes during your meeting.

One Last Word of Advice: Be Open and Honest With Your Attorney

It’s critical that you be transparent with your immigration attorney, both in your first meeting and otherwise. Remember, your discussions with your immigration lawyer are protected by the rules of attorney-client confidentiality. Withholding information about yourself, your background, or your immigration case will make it far more difficult for your attorney to make the best possible arguments in your favor. It may also jeopardize your case entirely and put your future at risk.
You can count on the trusted and dedicated immigration law advocates of LaFountain & Wollman P.C. To learn more or to schedule your first meeting with your attorney, give us a call today.

About the Author
Attorney Nicholas J. LaFountain has extensive experience litigating and negotiating civil disputes of many types. He has been successfully representing clients in the courtroom since 2004.