Frequently Asked Questions
- How much is a consultation?
We charge $100.00 for a consultation. If you chose to open a case, that $100.00 will serve as a credit towards your case’s legal fees.
- How do you bill?
We have a billing structure which uses a single fixed fee for a particular type of immigration case.
- How can I pay for my representation?
For your convenience, we can accept payment via credit card, cash, and check.
- My relative just entered the US and was detained at the border. How can I find her?
You can use the detainee locator at https://locator.ice.gov/odls/homePage.do.
- I was arrested for a crime, but it was a long time ago, and I was only sentenced to probation and a fine. This will have no impact on my immigration case, right?
That depends. A conviction can render one ineligible for immigration benefits or removable (deportable) even if the case occurred years ago and you were not sentenced to jail. If you have ever been arrested or charged with an offense, it is very important that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney such as Rachel Benedict before you apply for any immigration benefits.
- What is the difference between a notary (“notario”) and an attorney?
In the United States, a notary is a state-commissioned official whose primary duties include administering oaths and affirmations and witnessing signatures. She may not provide legal advice. In Massachusetts, a notary is not required to have any particular training or education. By contrast, an attorney licensed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has extensive education and has passed the Massachusetts Bar Exam.
- My mother-in-law/cousin/friend got her papers without an attorney. Why should I hire an attorney for my immigration case?
Immigration is a complex and dynamic area of the law, and a misstep can lead to severe ramifications such as removal (deportation) or family separation. An experienced immigration attorney such as Rachel Benedict can draw upon her experience to help you weigh risks the and benefits of a particular course of action. She can help save you time and aggravation.
- I have been living with my partner for 10 years and we have 5 kids together. Everyone considers him to be my husband. Do we need to get married at a church before I can petition for him?
In states which recognize common-law marriage, the marriage will be considered valid for immigration purposes. Most states in the US, including Massachusetts, do not recognize common-law marriage. USCIS does not require a big wedding at a church, mosque, or temple, only that the marriage performed is valid under that state’s or country’s laws.
- My 16-year-old cousin came to the US a few months ago. If he returns to Honduras, he will be killed because he refused to join a gang. But his court date isn’t until 2019. Can he wait until 2019 to start looking for a lawyer?
Your cousin may eligible for asylum or for a form of relief called Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Both of these types of cases can be the basis for a green card. However, your cousin may lose his eligibility for these forms of relief if he waits until 2019 to begin looking for a lawyer and preparing his case. Your cousin or his parent or guardian should contact an experienced immigration attorney such as Rachel Benedict immediately.
- I left my husband back in my home country and I haven’t seen him in two years. That means that I am now free to get married to my US citizen partner so he can petition for me, right?
No. assuming you entered into a valid marriage in your home country, you must first legally terminate that marriage before you can enter into a new marriage. If you do not, USCIS will not consider your new relationship to be a valid marriage.