Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Guided Legal Forms & Services: Sign In

Enter legal issue and location

Immigration FAQs

What Are The Requirements For U.S. Citizenship?

In order to naturalize as a citizen of the United States, the initial requirement for all applicants is to be a Permanent Resident (i.e. have a Green Card). Depending on your situation, you’ll need to have been a permanent resident for at least three to five years prior to applying for citizenship. In addition, you must be at least 18 years old when you file your naturalization application; be able to speak, read and write basic English; and be a person of good moral character. For many of the requirements, certain exceptions apply and it’s useful to consult with an attorney near you to see whether you qualify for requirement exemptions.

How to get a Green Card?

There are a variety of methods for obtaining a Green Card, including through marriage or employment. A Green Card permits an individual the right to permanent residency in the United States. Although marriage to a U.S. citizen is a common means of obtaining a Green Card, there are various other methods such as a family member petitioning on your behalf, seeking asylum or residency as a refugee, an employer bringing you to this country for work, etc. An attorney can help determine whether you meet eligibility criteria and guide you through the arcane application procedures of immigration law.

How long does I-140 processing take?

In the United States, there are two USCIS service centers which process the I-140 immigration form. The time it takes to process will vary slightly depending on the service center. However, in general, the form takes an average of six months to process. Premium processing is a service offered by USCIS which guarantees processing of your I-140 within two weeks. This service requires an additional fee of over $1200. If USCIS is unable to process your form within 2 weeks, it will refund your money and continue with expedited processing. An immigration attorney will be able to provide you with much more specific information and can advise you on the best course of action with regards to filing your I-140.

What is the H1B to Green Card process?

During the Green Card application process, which can be lengthy, it is critical that you maintain lawful immigration status. Under certain circumstances, you can request an extension of your H-1B status in one-year increments while your Green Card application is being processed. H-1B extension processing time usually averages around 2-3 months although USCIS doesn’t offer any time guarantees. Working with an attorney to ensure timely and proper filing while remaining in legal immigration compliance is crucial to a successful adjustment of your status.

Do You Need a Lawyer in Illinois?

Anyone who is aiming to file a lawsuit or who must defend themselves against a lawsuit (civil) or criminal allegations should find an Illinois lawyer who has experience in the type of case they’re facing. Whether you reside in Illinois or any other state, the rule of law (and the complexity thereof) makes it preferable in most situations to have an attorney to represent your interests in civil or criminal court rather than representing yourself.

Defendants in the Illinois court system — or those facing federal charges for felonies, particularly — will most likely see better results with proper legal counsel. Criminal convictions can result in lengthy jail or prison sentences, as well as the creation of a permanent criminal record for first-time offenders. A skilled lawyer can help you craft the best defense possible, improving your chances of acquittal — and if the prosecution is willing to negotiate rather than go to trial, an attorney can help you get the best deal possible.

If you are seeking restitution, you should consider consulting a lawyer for both civil and criminal court. Whether the defendant is the state or an individual, attorneys working as prosecutors can use a body of provided evidence such as physical evidence, eyewitness accounts, digital communications or surveillance, to create a compelling argument in your favor

In almost all instances, representing yourself in a court of law is not recommended, particularly if the consequences of a conviction (or a failure to successfully prosecute) are significant. Attorneys are often called upon to act as experts, and their expertise can often be invaluable.

How to Find a Lawyer in Illinois

To find an Illinois lawyer, you will want to consider both budget and reputation. It is important to find a lawyer that is within your financial reach but also has strong legal experience and a track record of established success.

Extensive research is also important when selecting a lawyer to represent your best interests. You can check the Illinois State Bar Association to research potential candidates.

Before hiring a lawyer, it’s important to cross-reference results in web searches, to ensure consistent and reliable information. Including checking through prominent cases, social media profiles, local or state media coverage and going directly to the attorney or firm’s website.

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost in Illinois?

In Illinois, a general estimate of the per-hour cost for a lawyer can range from about $130 to $400 per hour, depending on location, expertise and the complexity of the case in question.

In some cases, attorneys may opt to offer clients a flat-rate fee instead of a per-hour fee. This typically arises in criminal defense law as well as certain divorce court proceedings. A fee for a misdemeanor defense is usually far less than the flat fee for a felony defense. Representation on issues related to juvenile offenses and traffic offenses may cost you less than the representation on situations involving corporate law or bankruptcies.

Finally, certain lawyers, such as personal injury lawyers, typically offer clients representation based on contingency. If you win a settlement from such a case, such as slipping and falling at a business establishment and incurring a serious injury, your personal injury lawyer will retain a percentage of your total settlement, rather than charging you any per-hour or flat-rate fees.

If you cannot afford representation in a legal matter, legal aid may be an option to consider.

What Types of Cases Can an Illinois Lawyer Help With?

While an Illinois lawyer can take on cases of any sort, the most common criminal cases in Illinois involve simple assault or aggravated assault, sexual assault, violations of the Controlled Substances Act, burglary (business and residential), driving while under the influence (DUI) and severe violent crime such as homicide and armed robbery.

Illinois lawyers are also typically called upon to represent parties in marital disputes leading to divorce or separation, the custody battles common to such cases, and other civil proceedings.

Find a Lawyer

More Options