United States immigration law is one of the most complicated and difficult fields in the legal profession to navigate. In relation to the challenges immigration law brings, one federal judge in the Southern District of New York noted the following: “The statutory scheme defining and delimiting the rights of aliens is exceedingly complex. Courts and commentators have stated that the Immigration and Nationality Act resembles ‘King Mino’s labyrinth in ancient Crete,’ and is ‘second only to the Internal Revenue Code in complexity.'” Chan v. Reno, 1997 U.S. Dist. Lexis 3016, *5 (S.D.N.Y. 1997) (internal citations omitted). But with its challenges comes great rewards – the promise of living free from persecution and the ability to pursue your dreams. Despite its complexities, many individuals try to save a couple of thousand dollars by going at it alone and not hiring an immigration lawyer.  Unbeknownst to many people trying to obtain immigration benefits in the United States, there are many immigration land mines that could derail the process. Take for example the story of Max and Cristina. While on vacation in Belize, Max, a single United States citizen, meets Cristina, the girl of his dreams and a native of Belize. After a blissful two weeks together, the two fall in love and decide to get married. They make a plan, which to them seems full proof. Cristina comes to the United States on a tourist visa with the intent to marry Max in the United States and henceforth remain indefinitely in the United States. Had they retained an immigration attorney, they would have been advised that this isn’t legal. You see, when Cristina first applied for her tourist visa and when she entered the United States she had to declare not only to the State Department officials but also to the Customs and Border Patrol officers that she did not possess immigrant intent – the intent to remain permanently in the United States.  After getting married, Cristina filed her application to adjust status to that of a permanent resident, without hiring an attorney. Sadly for Cristina, the United States Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) would deny her petition and issue a permanent bar due to Immigration fraud. Now Cristina and Max are faced with a choice they thought they would never have to make (assuming they wouldn’t qualify for a waiver which is a topic for another day) – live permanently in Belize as a married couple or divorce. The story of Cristina and Max is just but one example of many problems that might arise by going at it alone.  If the young Max and Cristina could go back in time and give a bit of advice to the newly married Max and Cristina it would be this – don’t do it! The reward is much too great and the risks much too high to make such a drastic and life-changing mistake. Don’t jeopardize your future by taking shortcuts. Two or three thousand dollars may sound like a lot of money, but your future might count on you spending that money to get it right.  Fortunately for those individuals residing in Alexandria and throughout the rest of the state, Theus Law Offices provides a complete range of immigration services. There isn’t a question you could send us that we can’t eventually answer. Let our Alexandria immigration attorneys help you, your family, and your business wherever you might live.