International Students

Immigration Attorneys

Student Legal Services

The Office of International Affairs is not in a position to evaluate the professional competence or experience of specific attorneys. However, we recommend that you seek advice from Students Legal Services (SLS) at Ohio State for help concerning immigration and naturalization legal matters. SLS contracts with Ohio State to provide legal services to eligible Ohio State students.

To be eligible to receive a legal consultation with SLS, students must attend classes on the Columbus campus, be in a degree-seeking program, enrolled in at least one non-distance learning course and not have waived the SLS fee for the participation year they are seeking services. Students' role must be primarily a student versus staff or employee.

SLS can provide legal counsel for the following immigration topics: asylum/refugee status, citizenship, reinstatement, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or other discretionary relief, employment-based immigration, family-based immigration, international travel, nonimmigrant visa, removal and Violence Against Women Act matters.

Students can schedule appointments online or by phone at 614-247-5853.

Selecting an Attorney

In the event that SLS cannot provide you with the help you are seeking, the following suggestions may help you select an attorney. You may wish to visit the American Immigration Lawyers Association website to select an attorney who has the expertise you seek.

Please note that this information is provided for personal immigration matters only. All immigration filings on behalf of Ohio State are handled either by the Office of International Affairs or the Office of Legal Affairs. An employee or student may not retain an attorney to represent the university with respect to the filing of an I-129, I-140, labor certification or other employer-based filing. No one may sign an I-129, I-140, or labor certification application on behalf of the university without prior approval from either the Office of International Affairs or the Office of Legal Affairs. If you have questions about this policy, please contact the Office of International Affairs at 614-292-6101 or the Office of Legal Affairs at 614-292-0611.

Select an attorney early in the process

Immigration procedures can be very slow and time consuming. Therefore, you select your legal advisor early in the process. Do not wait until a few weeks before your deadline. In order to present your application in the best possible manner, you should allow sufficient time for your lawyer to do a thorough job of researching your case.

Consult others concerning the immigration process

Before you contact an attorney, consult family members, friends or associates who have been involved with the immigration process. They may be able to share with you their experiences with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), their legal costs and recommendations concerning attorneys with whom they worked.

Begin your evaluation of the attorney when you make your initial call

Once you have selected a prospective attorney, you should call to make an appointment to discuss your case. This call should be an important part of your evaluation of the attorney.

You should begin the call with a short description of your situation and the immigration problem you wish to address. You do not have to give all the details at this time. You should merely describe in general terms the nature of the issue and you should include any deadlines you are facing.

You should then ask the following questions:

You may wish to contact several attorneys to compare their answers to these questions. Once you have identified a lawyer who you may wish to hire, you should schedule a meeting to discuss your case in greater detail.

The first meeting

It is important to remember that at this meeting, you are still evaluating the lawyer. If you are not confident that this person can do the best job for you, you may decide to seek another legal advisor.

You should be prepared to give a concise statement of your situation and the goals you would like to achieve. You may save time by writing a short chronology of your experiences and contacts with USCIS. Be sure to bring with you your passport (including visa stamps), copies of correspondence with government agencies and other immigration documents.

Questions that you should ask the lawyer during the initial meeting:

Questions you should ask yourself during the initial meeting:

If the answers to these questions are affirmative, you may want to proceed to retain the attorney to handle your case.

As the case proceeds, you should remember that you are paying the lawyer to provide a service to you. You should feel free to give explicit instructions on the way you would like your case to be handled. If, at any time, you have concerns about the level of service you are receiving, you should be comfortable discussing this with the attorney.