What type of lawyer do I need?

Different lawyers do different types of immigration cases. The list below can help you choose which kind of lawyer is right for you.


  • I want to adopt a child from another country.


  • I am afraid to return to my country because I have been harmed or I fear I will be harmed because of my race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

Business and Employment

  • I want to hire a worker who is in another country, or who is in the United States but from another country.
  • I want to get an H-1B visa or other type of temporary work visa.
  • I want to learn about getting a green card through a job.

Consular Processing

  • I want to apply for a permanent or temporary visa at a United States embassy or consulate in another country and need help with the application process.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

  • I am an undocumented immigrant and came to the United States before I turned 16.
  • I am currently going to school and/or have gone to school in the United States, or I served in the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces.
  • I want to know if I am eligible for deferred action (DACA).

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)

  • I am an undocumented foreign national with a child who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • I want to know if I am eligible for deferred action (DAPA) as announced by President Obama in November 2014.

Deportation or Removal

  • I am being deported from the United States.
  • One of my family members is in detention and/or being deported from the United States.

Employer Sanctions

  • I am an employer, and I want to make sure I am following the rules when I hire people to work for me.
  • I am an employer and the immigration service or the labor department has asked to inspect my employment records and files.


  • I want to bring family members to the United States from another country.
  • I am marrying someone from another country and would like to bring them to the United States.
  • I have married someone who is from another country and we want to get my spouse a green card.
  • I want to bring my fiancé/fiancée to the United States and get married.


  • I would like to talk to an immigration lawyer about immigration in general. I do not know what I want or need.
  • I want to come to or stay in the United States legally but don’t know how to do it.
  • I need a green card.
  • I want to come to the United States as a tourist, or I’m here as a tourist and would like to stay longer.
  • I need to come to the United States for a short business trip.
  • I need to apply for a green card while inside the United States, also called an “adjustment of status.”
  • I have a medical condition, or a family member has a medical condition, and the best treatment is in the United States. I want to come for that treatment, or my family member wants to come for that treatment.

Health Care Related Professionals

  • I am a foreign-trained doctor, nurse, or other health care professional. I would like to work or train in the United States.


  • I am undocumented and a victim of domestic violence. I want to get legal status.
  • I am a victim of human trafficking or labor trafficking.
  • I am a victim of a crime and am willing to help the police solve the crime.


  • I want to start a business or invest in a business in the United States.


  • I want to sue a federal agency because of my immigration case.


  • I want to become a U.S. citizen.
  • I am a U.S. citizen, but the immigration service wants to take my citizenship away from me.

Students and Exchange Visitors

  • I am a student in another country and I want to come to the United States to study.
  • I am in the United States as an F-1 student or a J-1 student or exchange visitor and I want to learn more about my options or I have problems.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

  • People from my country are getting legal status (called TPS) because of major problems or a natural disaster in my country. It is not safe for me to return to my country at this time and I want to apply for TPS.


I may not be able to adjust status (apply for a "green card" while inside the United States) because:

  • I have a criminal conviction,
  • I was dishonest on an application or interview when I applied for an immigration benefit,
  • I have a health condition that requires a waiver,
  • I entered the United States without a visa,
  • I was unlawfully in the United States for more than 180 days (6 months),
  • Have had a J-1 visa and I am subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement, or
  • Because of some other reason that might make me ineligible (also called “inadmissible”) for a green card.

If this list does not help you and you cannot decide what kind of lawyer you need, please contact our staff at ils@aila.org.