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Legal representation: costs to expect and ways to afford it

Video Description

Whether you’re applying for citizenship, getting or renewing your green card, petitioning family members to come to the U.S., paying for an immigration detention bond, or completing an immigration process, it can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars in legal costs and USCIS fees.

Finding trusted legal support and affordable resources to borrow money to pay for these expenses can be challenging. Beware of payday lenders, pawnshops, rent-to-own stores, auto-title lenders, and other advantageous financing businesses.

To avoid these predators in the immigration industry, watch this video and learn about immigration attorneys, costs to expect, and an affordable immigration loan that will help build your credit score while saving you money on interest.

Read Video Transcript

Immigration law is complicated, and whether or not you have a good attorney can mean the difference between winning and losing your case. In this video, I'm gonna talk about the importance of having good legal representation and how to pay for it. My name is Andy Posner. I'm the Founder and CEO of Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit lender. Over the past 14 years, we've helped nearly a thousand families afford things like citizenship, green cards, family petitions, and other immigration cases through our immigration loan program.

Over the years, I've seen countless examples of how the cost of immigration can become the barrier to the American dream. Millions of immigrants are eligible to improve their immigration status, but maybe unaware, lack the money to pay for it, or simply don't know where to go for help. Whether you're looking to get a Green Card petition, a family member to come to the US, or even fight a deportation order, having good legal representation is crucial. Here are my top four tips for how to get the right legal representation and afford it.

Tip one is anticipate what costs may be ahead for you. The cost of improving your immigration status can include a number of things. Not only the obvious, like paying for an attorney or other legal representation, but also there are fees to file with the government. You may have to pay for paperwork, biometrics, medical exams, even things like travel and postage can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on the case you're pursuing.

Tip two is to vet the support services that you're considering to use on your immigration journey. There are a number of places to which you can go for help with your immigration case, and it's really important that you do a good and thorough job vetting it so that you're successful. If you have a simpler case, you may be able to go to a nonprofit provider who can help you for free or at low cost. In that case, you should make sure that they are what's called a BIA accredited representation. If you have a very simple need like renewing a green card, you may be able to file that by yourself. But if you have a more complicated case, or you're not sure of how complicated your case is, we would strongly encourage you to reach out to a reputable immigration attorney. In particular, I would recommend reaching out to a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, or AILA. And in addition to that, you should do a check of their Google Reviews, make sure they're in good standing with the state bar to make sure you're finding somebody who can help you with your case, and is gonna be a good, and trusted partner throughout your journey.

Tip three is paying out of pocket may be challenging but there are options. Depending on your case, it can cost anywhere from $700 to even $10,000 or more, and the legal representation fees are gonna be the biggest part of your overall cost. If you can't afford to pay for that out of pocket, there are options such as a credit card, a payment plan with your attorney, or even a loan from a bank, credit union or nonprofit lender.

Tip four is to evaluate your payment options. For example, if you're looking at a loan you of course need to look at the interest rate, but there are other factors as well, such as any application, closing or prepayment penalties, whether or not the loan is unsecured, if it is reported to the credit bureaus, and the term of the loan is that will impact what your monthly payment is. Similarly, a payment plan with an attorney will not have interest, typically, but it'll be a shorter term so your monthly payment will be much higher. In other words, one of the most important factors is what is your total cost of borrowing versus your monthly payment, and you wanna find a balance between the two that is reasonable and fits into your budget.

Capital Good Fund is a nonprofit that offers small loans and financial coaching, to low income families and immigrants in 10 US states. What makes our immigration loan in particular so unique is that we work with vetted trusted attorneys to deliver high quality legal representation to families in need, and we offer a product with reasonable interest rates, a low monthly payment, flexible criteria that isn't driven by FICO scores like other lenders. And we report to the credit bureaus, so that as you're making payments and winning your case, you're also building your credit score. If you're an immigrant and looking to improve your immigration status, the first step is to find an ALIA member attorney who can sit down with you, and explain the details of your case, including the costs and timelines. And then you can reach out to us a Capital Good Fund to seek out a loan to affordably pay for and win your case

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Andy Posner

Founder & CEO
Capital Good Fund
Andy Posner founded Capital Good Fund in 2009 while getting his M.A. in Environmental Studies at Brown University, where he was studying financing mechanisms for clean energy. After reading Banker to the Poor by Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Andy quickly realized that equitable financial services could unlock the potential of the poor just as they could do the same for clean energy technologies.

Andy is the former Treasurer of the national Board of Directors of the Credit Builders Alliance, and a member of the Board of the Community Reinvestment Fund. He was also selected for numerous awards including the 2011 Hitachi Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneur and the 2013 American Express Emerging Innovator.

Capital Good Fund


333 Smith Street Providence
Providence, RI 02908
United States


Capital Good Fund recognizes the power of small loans and financial coaching to change people’s lives. Capital Good Fund provides these essential loans for a variety of purposes and expenses. Ranging from $300 - $80,000, most loans are used for three categories of needs: small-dollar expenses like car repair, security deposits, catching up utilities, and paying off high-interest debt; immigration legal expenses; and “green” residential upgrades, such as solar and high-efficiency HVAC.

Services & Products: 

  • Impact loans 
  • Weatherization 
  • Immigration 
  • Financial & health coaching program

Location: Loan services available in 10+ states across the U.S.  

Languages: Spanish and English

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