• Arzu Jamilova

Hiring an attorney for your E-2 application might be expensive

Once the decision to apply for an E-2 Visa was made by me I started learning about the application process. I learned that I need to write a cover letter that would explain to the U.S. government how I met all of the E-2 visa requirements, write a business plan for the E-2 Enterprise, prepare supporting documentation to the statements in the cover letter and business plan, complete Form DS-160, and prepare for the interview at the Consulate. This seemed complicated to me at first sight. I was sure that hiring an immigration attorney to assist with the application process was the only possible option for me considering the complexity of the process. Hiring an attorney was quite expensive, and the legal fees connected with hiring an attorney ranged from $6,000 and up to $12,000. Running a quick online Google search, I was able to find an attorney in Seattle, and she offered a flat fee at $6,000 for the whole process regardless of the amount of time she would spend. After speaking with her a couple of times I had doubts about her experience with E-2 visas. My doubts proved to be true during our face to face meeting in Seattle in March 2016 when I found out that her legal license was not active on the Washington Bar Association web site.

Time was passing quickly, and I had to find another attorney to manage to apply by the end of the summer. I was referred to another attorney by a friend who was local to Seattle. I had no doubts that the new attorney was very experienced with E-2 Visas and business immigration. However, his payment terms at $475/hour were not convenient for me and I returned home disappointed, frustrated, and anxious. By the time I got back home I realized that the application process did not seem complicated to me anymore. While selecting an attorney I learned a lot about the process. I understood that even if I hired an attorney, I would need to prepare the supporting documents myself and the attorney would prepare the cover letter only based on the information and documents provided by me. So, it started to make sense to me to consider doing it myself. Knowing that I was not required to have a lawyer when applying for an E-2 visa and that I could find answers to all my questions about the E-2 Visa on the USCIS web site, I became more and more confident about the process.

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