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How to Pick the Right Immigration Partner

When you are pursuing a second residency, you are likely going to want some on the ground assistance. But, in your search for someone to help you with the residency process, unfortunately it can be pretty easy to fall prey to scammers who promise to help you, then run off with your money.

Still, in order to navigate a foreign government bureaucracy effectively, you are going to need some help. Multiply that by a hundred if you don’t speak the language.

My family had an amazing experience with GreenGo4Gringo, who helped us to get our Mexican residency. And we already have someone lined up for our next residency adventure, who we think will be pretty good – I’ll share about that process hopefully later this year, if all goes as planned.

But there’s definitely some rules of thumb you will want to be aware of when looking for immigration assistance, to make sure you don’t fall into the wrong hands. And I don’t mean just avoiding being scammed, but having someone you work well with who helps you to have a good experience with a little less stress!

Check out my tips below for how to find a trustworthy partner to help you through your immigration process.

DON’T Pay to play

If someone is unwilling to even speak to you about their services without you having to pay for their time, don’t bother with them. There are many “influencers” who deal in immigration services right now, and many of them want to charge you up front just to talk to them about the services they provide. They should be trying to win your business, right? So no, you should not have to pay them a penny for giving them the opportunity to sell their services to you, unless you are asking for a more in-depth strategy session.

DO Understand the process

When you are looking at doing something as significant as getting a second residency, it is crucial for you to do your own research. Not only do you need to make sure that you are choosing a country and residency program that is a good fit for you, but you need to understand the actual process for applying for and obtaining the residency.

The clearer you are about the process, the harder it will be for someone to scam you with inflated expenses, inaccurate timelines, and generally promises they can’t deliver on.

DON’T Pay anyone up front

You should NEVER pay anyone for services that have not been provided, or will imminently be provided. Paying in advance gives scammers the ability to run off with your money, having provided nothing in return.

Most honest immigration service providers will have you pay them at the time of the service or in installments as various milestones are completed. I would steer clear of services that want all the money up front to “reserve your spot”, etc.

DO Consider multiple options

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It’s important to find an immigration service that is a good fit for you, so make sure you reach out to multiple individuals or companies to inquire about their services. See whose offering makes the most sense for you, and just who you think you’d work with the best. You don’t owe anyone anything and it is you taking all the risk, so don’t feel obliged to use someone’s services after one conversation if you haven’t weighed out all your options yet.

I’ve found there can be significant differences in costs, timelines, services provided, and overall etiquette between different providers. You need to get a feel for the full range of options out there to figure out who and what will work best for you.

DO Be clear about your timelines

Something I’ve found is that I have to be extremely clear about my timelines for getting things done when it comes to finding a good immigration partner to work with. Nothing annoys me more than someone thinking I can just drop everything and come down next month. Like, seriously dude?

You’ve got obligations and it takes time, often a significant amount of time, to get your documents in order. If you have work and school schedules to work around, the timing complexity definitely increases.

Do yourself a favor and have a good idea of what your potential timeline could look like when you are interviewing immigration service providers to make sure your timeline is achievable. If they are pushing you to do things on a tighter timeline using FOMO tactics, ditch them and move on to someone else.

DO Ask a lot of questions

Assuming you’ve done your research and are considering multiple options, you should be able to come up with a good-sized list of intelligent questions to clarify the residency process as well as the services your immigration partner will be providing.

Sometimes we tend to feel like we are putting people out by asking too many questions. Like we are being annoying, or perhaps like what we are asking is dumb. Please, DON’T let yourself feel that way. You need to ask a lot of good questions to make sure you are making the right decision about who will be assisting you with your residency process and to make sure you fully understand the process itself.

Someone who gets annoyed if you ask too many questions is clearly not the right partner for you. After all, that’s their job! If you don’t ask the right questions and things go awry, you are the one left holding the bag – never forget that!

DON’T Relinquish your decision making

When you are looking at getting a second residency abroad, likely somewhere where you don’t speak the language, you are in a vulnerable position, and it can be tempting to give away your trust easily and fall into the “listen to the experts” trap.

Think critically and never relinquish your decision-making powers to someone else, no matter how out of your depth you feel and how “in the know” it seems like they are. You are a smart person – you are building your Plan B, after all! – and you know what’s best for you. You are in the driver’s seat in this scenario, and your goals are paramount. Anyone you choose to work with should be trying to facilitate the achievement of those goals, not the other way around. If they are pushing you to agree to things that don’t work best for you, or make you feel uncomfortable, they are not someone you should be working with.

The Right Partner Makes All the Difference

Going through the process of getting second residency is a stressful experience. But the right immigration partner can seriously make all the difference. While there are a lot of people and companies offering immigration assistance, you need to look at this as who will truly be the best partner for you.

Do you get along with them well? Is their fee structure transparent? Is their communication timely and professional? Do they have a full understanding of your goals and a willingness to help you reach them? Do they have a complex understanding of the process?

Don’t be fooled by good salespeople – there are a lot of them out there. Keep your wits about you and evaluate all your options to make sure you are choosing the best possible partner to help you accomplish this huge Plan B milestone. The immigration process can be easy, stress free and, at times, even fun(!!) with the right partner. So arm yourself with the tips above, and get out there and find your perfect match!

All of us here at Escape Artist want nothing but success for you in your Plan B journey. That’s why we put together this month’s issue of Escape Artist Insiders magazine, which is focused on residencies and citizenships – one of the topics our readers are most interested in. If you are building your Plan B or just want to learn a little more about offshore planning, this is a key issue you won’t want to miss. Subscribe today!

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

LisaLisa is an aspiring expat from Canada who is working to put together her Plan B with a young family in tow. She is excited to pair her lifelong love of writing with her passion for offshore strategies and outside-the box investments in her weekly articles for Escape Artist readers. Follow this “rebel with a cause” as she walks the path less traveled and shares her experiences along the way.
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