Which cases work best with DIY Support?
DIY Support is designed to assist clients who are educated, organized, self-starters who have excellent English skills and are used to doing paperwork. It's only intended for couples with straightforward, uncomplicated cases. We can confirm your eligibility and discuss whether DIY Support is a good choice for you during an initial consultation with one of our attorneys. (Click here to schedule a consult.)
DIY Support Packages are not intended to assist immigrants with complications such as undocumented presence in the United States, serious criminal history, deportation proceedings, or whose marriage relationships have broken down. These are scenarios in which you need full representation for the best outcome. (You can find out more about full representation here.)
What are the advantages of doing DIY Support instead of full representation?
You get total control of the timeline for preparing your case. You get instant access to the entire course, so you can prepare your case that same day if you want!
You manage every step of the process, so you’ll know everything is on track and under control.
You’re only paying for the legal services you need, and nothing extra.
You’re leveraging technology to save legal fees: Our courses include video content that covers all of the same things our attorneys always tell their full representation clients, but you aren’t paying hourly for it.
What are the disadvantages of doing DIY Support instead of full representation?
There is no attorney appearance form filed, so you are the one totally responsible for your case. You will need to check your mail and check your online status periodically to make sure things are on track. (Don’t worry – the online course shows you exactly how to do this!)
You need to purchase and schedule additional increments of attorney if you have issues that come up during the process after you've already used the attorney time included in your basic package. Our full representation clients just email or call us whenever they want to during their process, although they pay us hourly to do so.
We don't hold DIY Support meetings in person, even if you live near one of our office locations. Part of the cost savings of the DIY Support Packages is tied to the fact that our attorneys are meeting with you by Skype or phone and we don't have to rent extra office space or have a receptionist on site to greet you. (Many DIY Support clients tell us that digital meetings are more convenient for them also, so this might actually be an advantage depending on your preferences!)
There's always a risk that you could make an unforeseen mistake in handling your own case that an attorney would not have made and it hurts your case somehow. To reduce the chances of this happening, we recommend all DIY Support clients have an initial consultation with one of our attorneys to make sure they qualify before starting. We also recommend you add on additional attorney time if you run into anything unexpected during the case.
Take Your First Step – Schedule an Attorney Consultation
Whether you’re looking for traditional representation or DIY support, a good first step is to have a consultation with one of our attorneys.
For $150, you will receive:
- An educational resource package on the topic of your choice (Fiancé Visas, Marriage Green Card Options, Removal of Conditions, or Naturalization) that includes videos, an eligibility screening tool, and a pdf download;
- A 20-min Skype consult (or phone call) with one of our attorneys to discuss your eligibility for the type of immigration case you wish to pursue; and
- A coupon code for $50 credit towards one of our DIY Support Packages or traditional hourly representation when you sign up to work with us!
Click the button below for 24/7 online access to self-schedule your consultation (and get instant access to your educational resources).
Is DIY Support the same as working with an online document preparation company?
No. We actually created DIY Support partially out of frustration with online document preparation companies. It’s not that what they do is always bad; it just isn’t what we believe most people actually need.
Document prep companies essentially have an automated system where you type your info into their online form and then they autofill the government forms and print them for you. The thing is, the necessary forms are all available for free on government websites as fillable pdfs already, and we’re guessing you also have access to a printer. That’s not worth paying for.
The tricky part about doing your own immigration case is no matter how clearly an automated system asks you questions, at some point you’re going to need to clarify something to make sure you’re answering it correctly for your specific situation. Document prep companies will just tell you to "ask a lawyer” or else refer you to their non-attorney call center workers. They usually have a disclaimer on their website saying something like, “We claim no special knowledge of immigration law or procedure and cannot give you legal advice.”
Even worse, these companies are not legally bound to keep your personal information private. We recently became aware of a document prep tech startup that hires independent lawyers to review applications prepared by their secretarial staff. Their CEO has admitted publicly that their business model doesn't actually make money providing legal services, but it will once they can monetize "the world's largest data set of immigrants that no one else has," which he's building courtesy of their website's users. The fact that you give your data to the tech startup, not the lawyer, is what shields them from all of the special laws that require lawyers to keep their clients' information strictly confidential and gives you attorney-client privilege that makes sure third parties and the government can't get it except in the rarest of circumstances. Read more here about why we think this is super creepy. This is why we are - and will remain- an actual law firm, not a regular company partnering with lawyers.
We also think it’s a huge advantage to you to start working with a real law firm, because we’re equipped to finish the job even if you end up needing a higher level of service. Maybe you’re pretty sure you’ll just need the basic package, but if the laws change or you end up running into complications or wanting an attorney with you during the USCIS interview, you can seamlessly add on those services or even convert to full representation at any time. You won’t have wasted money on document prep services and then still need a lawyer to fix things later on. (And yes, we’ve fixed plenty of mid-case problems for clients who had initially hired services that advertise a universal success rate and money-back guarantee that they never received.)
The good news is that you're no longer forced to choose between expensive traditional legal services and fly-by-night document services. Our DIY Support Packages were created and are continuously updated by our licensed experienced immigration lawyers. The course materials provide all the general info you need to manage your own case, and we package it with one-on-one time with an attorney who will clarify your specific questions and give you true legal advice. We aren’t going to disclaim away our responsibility for what we tell you to do. This is important stuff that affects your life!