How much does an immigration lawyer cost?

The exact amount of legal fees that you pay can vary greatly depending on the services you need. Hiring a lawyer to assist you with filing a family-based immigration petition, for example, will likely be substantially less compared to having an attorney to defend you before a judge in a deportation case.

Needless to say, your legal fees will depend on the complexity of your case. Typically, though, costs for receiving legal service assistance for a family-based green card petition tend to hover between $800 to $3000, whereas lawyer fees for employment-based petitions are usually between $1500 and $7000. 

Immigration Lawyer Fees

When you seek out legal services, there isn’t usually a set immigration lawyer cost or flat fee. Rather, you’re more likely to find a range tailored to the scope of work and the complexity of your case. 

While the fees may be initially overwhelming, it’s important to remember that obtaining a green card can be a difficult task, and hiring an immigration lawyer can not only be helpful to proceed with your case, but will sometimes be necessary. 

But before you hire a lawyer, it helps to know a range in immigration lawyer prices that you can expect.

The following outlines typical fees for legal services.

Legal Immigration Services Typical Fees
Application for Employment Authorization (Work Permit) $300 to $600
Lawyer Fees Citizen Application (Form N-400) $500 to $1500
Family-Based Green Card Petition $800 to $3000
Employment-Based Petitions $1500 to $7000
Asylum Application  $1000 to $6000
Adjustment of Status Application  $600 to $2500
Deportation Defense $2000 to $15,000 (Fees may increase if there are many court appearances or complex defense strategies required)

Do You Really Need an Immigration Lawyer? Is It Worth The Cost?

Lawyers make dealing with frustrating, complex, and confusing immigration matters easier. They guide clients through all the necessary steps in applications and disputes, helping to find solutions for challenging situations. 

Clients find that hiring an immigration lawyer puts them at ease, as they: 

  • Can have a professional clearly explain to them legal processes
  • Can be helped to ensure that necessary steps aren’t missed
  • Find that proceedings are sped up significantly
  • Benefit from the reduced possibility of application rejections or fines 

Total immigration lawyer costs and expenses help to cover unique scenarios that you may encounter when applying for a marriage visa or permanent residence, being included in things like H1B attorney fees and lawyer fees for citizen applications.

Special occasions where individuals need assistance in applying for less common visas like the H-1B visa (which allows foreign workers in specialized fields to emigrate and work in the United States temporarily) will definitely require the expertise of an experienced lawyer.

Overall, many find that hiring an immigration lawyer is worth it. They help you avoid crucial mistakes and can help you through more difficult immigration situations, such as navigating applications when you have on your record violations of law, criminal offenses, and so on. 

Violations Regarding Your Immigration Status 

Immigrating to a new country can be difficult because there are a number of laws, rules, and regulations to understand and abide by. 

You might find yourself encountering difficulties and will likely need an experienced professional to help you find a solution. For example, what happens if you: 

  1. Overstay your visa?
  2. Commit marriage visa fraud?
  3. Have trouble with a green card marriage
  4. Enter without an inspection?
  5. Miss a deadline for submitting important paperwork?

In situations such as this, an immigration or marriage visa lawyer can help review the fine details of your case and present your best options going forward.

If you’re not a United States citizen or are on a visa (check out our green card overview for more information), committing a criminal offense or being involved in a criminal incident will likely affect your status or result in deportation. 

By seeking legal services from a lawyer who understands both immigration and criminal proceedings, you’ll be more likely to avoid prosecution. 

Examples of criminal offenses that can affect your immigration status include:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Prostitution
  • Domestic violence
  • Carrying a firearm without the proper license
  • Crimes of moral turpitude

Each state is different in terms of the law and prosecution. Generally, though, here’s how these crimes are viewed in the eyes of the law.

Crime What it involves Grounds for Exceptions
Drug trafficking Having been or is related to someone (e.g., spouse or child) involved in drug trafficking within the past five years Inadmissibility None
Prostitution Coming to the U.S. to engage in prostitution, has done so in the past 10 years, or has trafficked persons with the purpose of prostitution Inadmissibility None
Domestic violence Crimes involving spousal abuse, child abuse/neglect/abandonment, or stalking Deportability None
Carrying a firearm without the proper license Unlawfully possessing, selling, buying, or offering a firearm without license Deportability None
Crimes of moral turpitude Crimes such as manslaughter, terrorism, forgery, robbery, etc. committed within the past 5 to 10 years Deportability If the person in question was granted a pardon following conviction


Navigating the law is complicated. If you find yourself requiring a lawyer, know that not all lawyers are the same. Different lawyers will specialize in varying fields, and can thus give advice tailored to your situation.

You can post a new job on UpCounsel to get legal help. In this way, you’ll not only have access to specialized lawyers, but you can get legal assistance at an affordable cost. By using UpCounsel’s services, you have the opportunity to save up to 60% on lawyer’s fees, compared to traditional legal firms. 

To get started, simply visit UpCounsel and describe your legal needs. Using specific details is important to pair you with the lawyer you need.

Factors Affecting the Average Immigration Lawyer Fees

Not all lawyers are the same, just as not all immigration lawyer prices are the same. When researching the best lawyer for you, you may notice that some lawyers charge by the hour, and some charge per service. 

It’s best to explore different options and choose the lawyer and pay structure best suited for you. While there are typical averages, you may need to pay additional legal fees if you also have criminal offenses or immigration violations. 

Additionally, if you require more court appearances or have a more complicated defense, you may also be required to pay extra.

Some significant factors that can affect immigration lawyer costs are:

  1. Experience. The amount of experience that a lawyer possesses can increase expenses.
  2. Location. Costs tend to increase if the lawyer is working in major (expensive) U.S. cities, such as New York or San Francisco.
  3. Processes. If your case requires the use of specialized processes, you’ll likely be paying more.

Choosing the Right Immigration Lawyer

Choosing the right lawyer can mean the difference between winning and losing your case. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting one:

  1. How well-equipped the lawyer is. Depending on the complexity of your case, you may need a lawyer that understands many different facets of the law, such as immigration and criminal proceedings.
  2. Research, research, research. It’s important to conduct research and carefully consider your options. Look for lawyers who are well-reviewed. 
  3. Set up a consultation. Once you’ve selected a lawyer, set up a meeting to gauge their competency and your compatibility with them. This will ensure the lawyer is a good fit for your case.

What is the Difference Between Fees and Costs?

A fee is what you pay for legal services, whereas costs are those required to fund the operations of a business and are associated with filing, long-distance charges, photocopying, and express mail. 

Below is an explanation of the different fees and costs that you may encounter.

  • Initial consultation fee. Before you hire a lawyer, it’s best to conduct an initial consultation to understand your chances of success and determine if you’re confident in your lawyer’s abilities. Typically, consultations are free or low-cost. You may be asked to pay $150 or less for an initial consultation. 
  • Legal service fee. There may be different flat fees or hourly rates for different services, such as filing a Green Card Petition for Relative or filing a green card renewal. However, you should typically expect a general hourly rate of an immigration lawyer to be between $150 to $300. 
  • Pro-bono or low-cost services. In some scenarios, where clients are low-income, lawyers may offer to work on a pro-bono case or for a reduced rate. Typically, you can find pro-bono lawyers by visiting the Immigration Lawyers Association. UpCounsel also provides affordable and exceptional legal services online.
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) filing fees. There are various fees associated with filing papers with the USCIS. You can find form and fee details by visiting their All Forms page

Lawyer Fees for Citizenship Application

Lawyer fees for citizen applications or to file your N-400 (Application for Naturalization) will typically cost between $500 to $2,500.

Immigration lawyer FAQs

Do I need a lawyer to apply for US citizenship?

No, you do not need a lawyer to apply for US citizenship. You may file Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization) yourself. If you experience any difficulties, then it may be best to seek legal assistance. 

Can an immigration lawyer speed up the citizenship process?

Yes. An immigration lawyer can help speed up the process for citizenship by ensuring the correct paperwork is filed, making the process smoother, guiding you with their years of experience, and presenting you with all possible options.

Can I get my citizenship for free?

It typically costs $725 to submit Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization). However, you may be considered for free citizenship if you are low-income.

How many times can you fail the US citizenship test?

An applicant has two opportunities to pass the English language proficiency and the knowledge of U.S. history/government tests. 

How long does it take to become a US citizen after applying?

The average wait time for becoming a U.S. citizen is between 18.5 to 24 months. This accounts for processing Form N-400, completing biometrics, passing your citizenship interview, receiving a decision, and taking an Oath of Allegiance. 

How much does it cost to file a lawsuit against USCIS?

It costs $400 to file a lawsuit against the USCIS. This does not account for lawyer fees, which are different for every lawyer. 

Will an immigration lawyer near me be less expensive?

A citizenship lawyer cost or immigration legal fees are set based on specialty and years of experience. It’s best to research different law firms to confirm immigration lawyer prices.

Get Help from an Experienced Immigration Lawyer 

If you need help finding an immigration attorney, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience.