Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Immigration Lawyers.

Since F.B. & I are getting married December 2009 in the Philippines, I've decided I need to start looking up Immigration Lawyers in my area. I've already contacted about 5. I emailed 3 more tonight and am waiting for replies. 2 lawyers got back to me and I need to call the one back tomorrow. I want to compare fee's to see who is easiest to work with and who will really help me through the confusing process of filing all of the paperwork. Several have gotten back to me, but a few were too expensive, didn't explain the process, and one told me I needed to come in for a paid consultation before he would discuss anything!

The one lawyer I emailed in Center City Philadelphia, called my cell phone the last night but I missed his call. I called his office today but he was in a meeting. Then I ended up missing his call this evening by 15 minutes or so. But he left his cell phone number for me instead so I would be sure of getting ahold of him. He was so incredibly nice! We spoke for about 30 minutes and he went through all the processes/scenarios.

Here is the email I sent F.B. tonight about the immigration lawyer:

Hi Baby, I just got off the phone with the nicest immigration lawyer ever! All week I've been looking lawyers up online and in the phone book. I've emailed a few but they were either too expensive, or not helpful or wanted me to come in for a paid consultation before they would explain anything, even fees. A few were nice but were way too expensive. This lawyer in Center City Philadelphia called me last night after I emailed him but I missed his call. I called him at work today but he was in a meeting. Then I missed his call again when I took a shower, lol. Buttt.... he said he was leaving the office and would give me his cell phone number instead so I would be sure to get a hold of him.

So I called him around 6pm and he was sooo nice! He was actually driving home from the office but talked with me for 30 minutes. He went through each scenario with each visa, told me the processes, the costs, etc. He said his father has an office up around where I live and if I didn't want to travel all the way to center city- he would even come up to where I lived for consulatations, etc.
He said they can do monthly payments with the fees and he usually requests half, but he could do a smaller percentage of that and then monthly fees over the course of the entire application process.

He actually told me a better way to go about the entire process! What I was thinking of doing. Was filing for a K-3 visa. That would get you into the USA. But then we would also have to apply for employment authorization. And then within 90 days we would need to file to change your status to a permanent immigrant resident. But those are 3 different forms, each with their own costs.

He says, we don't even have to file for a K-3 visa. If you just file the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, once you file that paperwork you can at the same time apply for permanent immigrant status. Which means instead of going through 3 different processes we can go through 1 process. Which means when you finally step into the USA, you would already be a permanent immigrant resident. You could apply for a job as soon as you stepped off the plane, because you would be a USA resident. He says filing the I-130 starts off with mailing our marriage certificate, copies of our birth certificates, application, etc in. Then they mail you back a packet for the next step, where I mail in income tax copies, bank statements, etc. Which would cost around $355.

He says that first process takes around 3-7 months. Once that is finished Immigration will mail all of our paperwork to the US consulate in Manila Philippines. From there they would call you in for an interview for permanent resident status. You would have paperwork prepared with medical clearance, affidavits from our family and friends proving our relationship, etc. There would be a fee for the interview of a couple hundred dollars. This is the longest step because it can take 12-16 months for a decision. The lawyer would help us through each step and help us to prepare our applications, the packet you would need to take for your interview at the USA consulate, etc. All together it is an estimate of about $4,000. Really he said just $3,000 for the lawyer fees- the rest is the immigration fees.

If we went the other way that I was thinking we could actually be spending around $6,000 because it is 3 different processes. This way we work through one process you enter the USA a permanent resident, you can get a job and we are together. $4,000 is not a bad price at all, compared to the other lawyers I've been contacting. And none of them helped me through each scenario/situation like this lawyer. He is so nice F.B. we are definitely using him for our immigration lawyer. Even besides chatting about the legal stuff, he talked about how he grew up in Jenkintown, his father has a lawyer office in Feasterville near me. He asked me where I went to school, where I grew up, even said he looked at my myspace page and blog so he knew even more about our situation when I called.

He also said it's great I've kept copies of my plane tickets, itineraries from the past trips. That I have lot's of letters from you, etc. Because we can use that to document and prove our relationship. He advised me to start making copies of those things and getting them in order. I'll have to start doing that!

This is great! And the fact he does monthly payment plans is even better, that he will work with us with the payments and help us through the entire process is just wonderful. Aaah! So much stress is gone! With the time-frames for processing everything, you wouldn't be able to come to the USA until around 2011 at some point. So that's good for us too, since you said you still wanted to find a job over there and save money. This buys us at least another year and a half. What do you think of everything? I think we will definitely work with this lawyer and go the process he says. It will great that you would already be a permanent resident and be able to work as soon as you stepped off the plane! Yay!


I'm so excited that I finally found a great lawyer who will work with us and who takes the time to explain the processes, costs, etc. What he thinks is best and more cost effective. We are definitely going to choose him for our immigration lawyer!

NOTE: Our lawyers Peter J. Gonzales & Shanna Stanton have changed firms. They are no longer with Kahiga Tiagha. They are now with Green and Spiegel LLC, but still located in Philadelphia.

Some Links:

I-130 (Initial Form Filed)

IR1 (This explains what he was talking about.)

Extra Info ( On what the lawyer is suggesting.)
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