Because of immigration's ever-changing landscape in the U.S., the immigrant community is susceptible to scams from individuals or organizations that claim they can help. Be alert and stay aware! Below are some resources and information on immigration fraud from the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and Office of the Attorney General of California:
Two types of professionals are authorized in the United States to give immigration advice:
(1) Immigration Attorneys - must be licensed and eligible to practice in California or another state. They can:
Provide legal advice
Advise what immigration forms you will need
Assist with your immigration case or green card application
Represent you in court
(2) Accredited Representative from a Nonprofit Organization - must be approved by the Board of Immigration Appeals to represent you in court. They can provide:
Assistance in immigration matters such as helping you fill out your forms and representation before immigration judges.
Services for free or charge a small fee.
What are immigration consultants?
An immigration consultant is NOT the same as an immigration lawyer and is very different than a public notary. It is against the law for them to provide legal advice. Immigration consultants:
Must undergo a background check and pay a $50,000 bond with the Secretary of State,
Can translate answers and questions on immigration forms.
Can help you get copies of documents you need for your application.
Can submit your forms to Immigration.
Are NOT allowed to keep your original documents.
Beware of Notario Fraud:
StopNotarioFraud.org reminds us: Don’t become a victim of dishonest immigration consultants often known as “notarios.” Immigration consultants, notaries public, and notarios cannot represent you in the immigration process. These people—especially notarios—prey on immigrants, often from the same ethnic community as the notarios themselves.
NOTARIOS WILL TAKE YOUR MONEY AND YOUR DREAMS!
Many noncitizens find out that they will never get their green card or other immigration benefits because an unqualified immigration consultant or notario unlawfully working as an immigration lawyer destroyed their dreams.