Before you e-mail us, please read the following:
We are happy to provide you with the information in our web pages as a public service.
You should realize, however, that there is no public or government funding provided to us to provide this information. Our office receives funds ONLY from our clients through the legal fees which they pay. Please keep this in mind when e-mailing our office.
While we will be happy to give you a short and quick reply to a really quick question, we simply can not take the time away from our clients to work for free analyzing long and detailed questions posed to us which need complex analysis. We would suggest to you that realistically you should not expect any law office to do so. You should be very careful on relying on the information posed in response to such messages.
In order to provide you with proper information, the lawyer must actually see and study your documents, and ask you questions which you may not think are important, but which may point to eligibility or ineligibility factors or problems. You should beware of lawyers who right away tell you "no problem" before they have obtained a great deal of information about you. We often hear complaints from clients who have transferred their case to us from other law offices. These clients often complain about the "no problem" turning into problem after problem which their previous lawyer kept saying were unexpected. Of course they were unexpected because the lawyer didn't ask questions which would have brought out those possible problems! In addition, those clients complain that they were attracted to their prior lawyer's "low fee" but later learned that there were many extras and that the fee didn't include the lawyer working on those extra problems.
Please don't e-mail us: "Hi, I'd like to get a green card. How much do you charge and how long will it take." Please read the information on the "government" web pages to get an idea as to how you might qualify.
Stick to the "government" web pages for your information. There is a lot of wrong or misleading information on the internet and also in the newspapers.
Stick to the basics! You might be concerned about a specific problem. But don't just focus on that. While you might be happy that you can solve the problem which you are worrying about, please don't forget that you still must meet the basic eligibility requirements.
A word about fees:
It is not our policy to quote fees on the Internet. In addition, we need to know ALL about your situation before we quote a fee and therefore need to review your documents. We have heard clients complain to us about other lawyers charging them more than they thought they would have to pay. We don't want you to be put into a position where we may quote you a fee and then we have to later quote a higher fee when we learn something new about your situation. You should realize that it is absolutely impossible for anyone in a quick message or phone call to give you a definite fee or even to say that you have a "routine" case. It might be easier for us to do just that and then say we're sorry when we later have to tell you about extra charges. This is why we want clients to complete an interview questionnaire, send us copies of their documents and pay us a $100 fee. That fee is credited towards the fee on a case if you decide to hire our office within 30 days.
Flat fees? Is there really such a thing? While we can provide you with a "usual" fee or "estimated" fee, it is impossible for us to provide you with a completely flat fee. If you find a lawyer who says they have a flat fee, ask if it includes all possible work no matter how much work and no matter how long it takes? Will it include a 2nd or 3rd interview? Will it include 2nd or 3rd responses to Immigration office or Labor Department questions? Will it include appeals? Will it include the lawyer going with you to any Immigration office or Immigration Court hearing or interview? If so, what happens if you and the lawyer wait all day and then you are told to return again tomorrow? Will it include work after the interview if your case is not approved and remains pending for a long period of time? You should not expect that a lawyer will work his or her whole life for that "flat fee". To give you a better idea as to what your fees may be in the event work is performed beyond what is covered in the basic usual fee, it would be a good idea to ask about the lawyer's "hourly rate".
We will say that we believe our fees are competitive. If you are looking for the lowest fee -- keep looking. You will always find someone with a lower fee than the last guy, and lower than our office. On the other hand, we wonder if you will be satisfied with the quality of work performed by a bargain basement office. We believe our fees are "moderate", as we know that there are many law offices charging more than twice what we charge. Also, often we have heard clients say that immigration attorneys in New York City (where we are located) are less expensive that attorneys in other parts of the country. That may be true sometimes and for some cases, but it of course would depend on who you contact. In any event, most of our clients come to our office because they have confidence in our work due to having had our previous clients tell them of our success with their case, rather than because of our fees.
Time for an immigration case to be done depends on each person's circumstances, and the processing time at the particular moment at each government office which we must deal with. This varies according to geographic location. It is impossible to predict the time frame without knowing more about you. Even so, there are many factors which may cause your particular case to be worked on either faster, but more likely slower, than any time predicted - for example budget cuts, government staff being assigned to work on other projects, your case being selected at random for a quality control review, or the government making mistakes about your case. Although we understand that time is important and our clients need to make proper arrangements to organize their future, we suggest that everyone concentrate on the questions of "if" they are eligible and "how" they will qualify, rather than "how long" will it take.
For those who are seriously considering our services, especially those with complex problems, we urge you to either make an appointment to come in to our office for a complete evaluation and consultation, if possible, or, if not convenient or possible, to print out our MAIL-IN-QUESTIONNAIRE which is on our web pages, follow the instructions on it, and contact us by e-mail or phone after you know we have received it.
If you would like a telephone consultation with Attorney Belluscio, you may mail in a $100 consultation fee and then call the office for an appointment to consult over the phone. It would be best if you send or fax us the mail-in-questionnaire and relevant documents. We understand that some clients just don't like to take the time to fill out forms, so mailing the form to us is not really required, but we will probably ask you those questions over the phone. To assist us, it would be best if we could see copies of your relevant documentation.
MAGIC WORDS TO USE WHEN YOU CALL OUR OFFICE
When you call our office as a potential new client, please start out asking "I'd like to make an appointment to come in to your office" or "I'd like to make an appointment for a telephone consulataton."
Good luck on your case!
We look forward to hearing from you!