Immigration Intake Tips: How to Make the Process Smoother

Your immigration intake process can set the tone for the relationship between you and your client. Here’s how to get it right.

A woman lawyer sits in front of a U.S. flag.

Before taking on potential clients, immigration attorneys conduct intakes. This gives them a clear idea of a prospective client's immigration background and what options are available to them. This is standard practice for immigration firms, regardless of their size.

Continue reading to learn more about the ways you can make immigration intake a smoother process for your firm. 

Benefits of Immigration Intake Appointments

Here are a few reasons the immigration legal intake service is so important: 

It Helps You Understand a Person's Immigration History

As an immigration lawyer, you want to know what it will mean if you take on a case. Getting information about a person's birth country, birth date, how they entered the country, and other personal information can help you assess their case. 

It Allows You to Gauge What Forms of Relief Exist

To effectively do your job and understand what paths are available to someone, you need to conduct a thorough intake. There are a lot of specificities when it comes to immigration law, so having more information is only going to help you decide on the best course of action and how you can help them reach their goal, whether that's a visa, adjustment of immigration status, naturalization or anything in between. 

It Keeps You Organized

That initial meeting won't be the only time you look at the intake form. As you work on client case files, you will refer back to this paperwork to keep details organized. 

It Educates Your Clients on the Immigration Process

An intake lets you explain what steps you will take and what your clients should expect as their case progresses. Laying out all this information at the beginning can help your clients feel more at ease.

It Sets the Tone for Your Relationship With Your Clients

The intake process gives a client a peek into the way you operate. You can use this meeting to establish trust, show how organized you are, and set and manage expectations. All of these things can help strengthen attorney-client relationships. 

It Can Get You More Clients

If you set a good first impression, your clients might refer you to other people, which can help your firm grow. Immigrant communities can be tight-knit, and word-of-mouth can benefit your firm in the long run. 

6 Tips to Make Your Client Intake Process Smoother

Here are a few ways to improve your client intake process:

1. Set an Official Process 

You don't want to wing your intake process—or any process for that matter. It can make your clients feel uneasy that you don't have the right systems in place. Instead, you should formalize an official process that you use with each client. For example, if you want to do pre-screening over the phone before a client comes in, that could be your first step.

2. Create Detailed Intake Forms

You want your intake forms to gather as much information as possible. If you don't collect all the information you need from the beginning, you can inadvertently create more work for yourself down the line.

You can try Noodle for your intake forms. Whenever an immigration lawyer onboards a client, they can use our intake forms for employee, employer or family-based cases. You can send them to clients and request additions and edits to them. The forms show up on the clients' dashboard to help you with cases along the way. 

3. Stay Organized

The last thing you want to do is confuse one client with another. Your clients share personal information under the strictest confidence, so you want to ensure you do not accidentally share one person's case with another. Noodle can help you stay organized with a personalized dashboard for each client. You can review the facts of their case on Noodle before meeting with them. 

4. Be Accessible

While you cannot be on-call 24/7, you can find ways to show your clients that you are accessible. With Noodle, for example, clients can set appointments with you at any time through the click of a button. They can chat with the 24/7 AI paralegal client support, which can answer their questions, fix problems and give them more information about their case. 

 5. Set Good Expectations and Boundaries

Immigration cases can take a long time—months to years—so you want to lay out your process as clearly as possible and let clients know how they can expect to receive communication and how they should communicate with you.

6. Ask for Feedback

Feedback is essential if you want to grow. While you should have a set process in place, you should also be flexible enough to update it. After an intake appointment, you can ask your clients to give you their honest feedback, so that you can improve. Noodle can automatically gather reviews from your clients after you meet with them.

Superpower Your Immigration Firm

Noodle has AI tools specifically meant to help immigration lawyers save time and money and drive a better customer experience. Sign up today to take advantage of Noodle’s form and document management, invoice generator and 24/7 client support.