Cheap is Expensive. How Paying for a Visa Consultation Can Save You from a Visa Denial.

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Every day, we receive e-mails such as these:

“Hello, I was denied a Returning Resident Visa. Can you help?”

“Good day. I have traveled to the US 10 times over the past 5 years and never had a problem. When I tried to board the plane to the US last week, I was told that my visa was revoked. Can you assist?”

“Last summer I was barred from entering the US for five years. What are my options?”

Not to be macabre, but imagine that you were diagnosed with cancer, and on the Internet, you look up the names of some cancer doctors, and you sent them e-mails, asking whether they can help you? What would the doctor respond?

Similarly, when it comes to US visas, the only way to truly assess a case is by having a detailed discussion – about your personal circumstances, about what was indicated in the visa application, about what happened during the interview at the consulate or at the airport when you arrived in the US. Sometimes, it is necessary to review documents – protocols of Customs and Border Protection, visa codes, USCIS decisions, police and court records. This takes time.

People ask: “Why do you have a consultation fee?” The answer is simple: this ensures an objective review of your case. Lawyers who do not charge a consultation fee are interested in a final sale – giving you subjective advice to ensure that you will sign a contract with them.  They cannot live on free consultations. Instead of paying a consultation fee of $250, you may end up paying $3,000, $5,000, or $10,000 for assistance that may not be forthcoming.  Another problem with this approach is that it is usually the young, inexperienced lawyers who will not charge for the initial consultation: you become their “guinea pig”. They learn from their mistakes on their clients. Do you want to be a “guinea pig” with a visa denial or a permanent bar to visiting the US?

If you do travel to the US, you will most likely spend thousands of dollars – round trip tickets, hotels, Disneyland tickets.  So is it worthwhile to economize on visa advice?  A gentlemen recently contacted us after a visa refusal: he is a very successful businessman in his home country who wanted to take his family to Disneyworld. He and his family should have easily received visas. But they were denied – all because of bad advice he had received from a “visa consultant” in filling in his DS-160 form.  He was lucky – he was only denied under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  There was another recent case of a student who retained a different “visa consultant”: that consultant slipped into the student’s documents a false bank statement to try to increase the student’s chances for a visa. In that case, the consul permanently barred the student for fraud under Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Neither of the consultants charged an advance fee; their compensation was to be paid if/when the visa was issued.  That sounds tempting, but as they say, “cheap is expensive”.  In the first case, the visa consultant was incompetent. In the second – the visa consultant was unethical and engaged in illegal conduct: all to try to increase his client’s chance for the visa and ensure that he got paid.

Finally, people forget about opportunity cost. When you engage in one course of action, you forego the ability to engage in a different course of action. How much do you value your time?  How much do you value the ability to make plans?  If you committed a willful, material misrepresentation in a US visa application and the consul made a decision to permanently bar you as a result, wouldn’t you want to receive the objective advice of a lawyer?  If the objective advice of the lawyer is to accept the consular decision and knowing this, you then have the ability to plan to go to school in the UK, or to immigrate to Canada, isn’t that worth knowing?  Rather than deceiving oneself and falling for the sales pitch of a lawyer or a visa consultant taking advantage of your desperation, you can get on with your life otherwise.

Feel free to contact us for an honest assessment of your situation.