O’Neil Hauser Mansfield, P.C., Frequently Asked Questions
What should I know about the U.S. immigration system?
As someone seeking asylum status, naturalization or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, your immigration journey has just begun. The U.S. immigration system, as a whole, is exceptionally complex – and you may have more options than you realize for a path forward. You can also easily make a mistake that could be disastrous for your goals. Working with an immigration attorney is the best possible decision you can make for your future.
How long does the filing process take in immigration cases?
Every case is different. The processing time for asylum applications can vary greatly, depending on factors such as the clarity of the case, the backlog of other asylum applications and the applicant’s specific circumstances. It can be several months to several years before a decision is made.
Naturalization processing times, in comparison, are significantly shorter and more predictable. On average, it takes a maximum of a few months from the time of filing to the naturalization interview and final decision.
For those applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), there is a two-step process, first through juvenile court and then through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
What are the top reasons to use an experienced immigration attorney?
Immigration processes are difficult to navigate. A skilled immigration attorney can help you understand what eligibility requirements you must meet for a specific visa and assess your options. They can also handle document preparation and filing so that you do not have to be concerned that your application will be rejected on a technicality.
In addition, most experienced immigration lawyers have an established network within the local courts and government that allows for smoother negotiations and fewer avoidable complications. If you want to speed up your asylum, naturalization or SIJS application, attorney guidance is essential.
How Much Will It Cost to Talk to a Lawyer?
Generally we are able to offer a free consultation during which we will determine whether any immigration options are available to you. For cases involving employment-based immigration we typically charge a consultation fee. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.
How Much Will the Legal Services Cost for my Immigration Matter?
Immigration cases usually require an initial retainer payment, and the balance of your fee may be paid in installment payments as the legal work is performed. In other cases, the fee is based on the amount of legal work needed and the difficulty of the services you require. All fee arrangements are agreed upon in advance and in writing. The agreement is signed by the client and attorney prior to the commencement of legal work.
You are encouraged to discuss legal fees with your lawyer at any time and particularly at your first office conference.
How Will I be Billed?
Each lawyer maintains an accurate record as to the amount of legal services that s/he provides in connection with your case. A statement is mailed to the client at each stage of the case, which includes costs and out-of-pocket expenses that need to be reimbursed to this office. These costs may include translating services, USCIS filing fees and express postal charges.
Will I be Kept Informed About my Legal Matter?
It is the policy of O’Neil Hauser Mansfield, P.C., to keep clients informed at all times of the progress of their legal case. Copies of all correspondence we produce, send or receive on your behalf are sent to each client. Although there is some expense for photocopies and mailing, clients stay informed. In addition, should a lawyer not be available when you call the office, the legal staff is trained to assist you and to keep you informed regarding your legal matter.
Will my Legal Matter be Kept Confidential?
By law, a lawyer cannot be forced in most situations to disclose information given to her by a client without the client’s consent to do so. Our staff knows the importance of keeping our clients’ legal matters entirely confidential. Any information given to us will be held in strict confidence. Confidential papers will be returned to you at the conclusion of your legal matter if you so desire.
Will a Trial be Necessary?
In the case of a divorce, a hearing is always required. In matters concerning immigration law, it is necessary to register with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to apply for benefits and personal interviews are almost always required. An attorney from our office will accompany and represent you at all meetings and hearings with the Immigration Service, including appointments at U.S. consulates abroad.
Many immigration cases are resolved in the immigration court. Your case may require a hearing before an immigration judge. Our lawyers have many years of experience representing individuals before the immigration courts. A lawyer will accompany you to all hearings with the judge. These trials require advance preparation and research, and your lawyer will work with you to ensure your case and all witnesses are properly prepared for trial.
What Type of Technical Support is Available?
We have advanced technological capabilities that allow us to give you the highest-quality service in the most efficient manner.
Our document management system allows us to maintain a current and accurate record of your case file. This electronic system also enables us to quickly and easily retrieve relevant data, giving us easy access to information that may be valuable to your case.
In addition, our office subscribes to the latest immigration software programs, including LawLogix, Westlaw, Immigrant Pro, AILALink, which allows staff members to have at their fingertips the most updated statutes, regulations, case law and manuals.
Do You Have Interpreting and Translating Services?
We have several staff attorneys who speak Spanish. We can also offer limited interpreting services in Arabic and Japanese at the office.
How can I contact a lawyer from O’Neil Hauser Mansfield, P.C.?
We have attorneys who are ready to assist you. Please contact us at our main office number at 617-855-0444, and our receptionist will gladly assist you.
What are your Hours of Operation?
Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. All lawyers and staff have voicemail and email.