When Immigration Matters

USCIS Combats the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law

Posted by Karen Pollak on Sat, Jun 11, 2011 @ 2:15 PM
immigration scamAll too often, individuals seeking immigration benefits are deceived by people pretending to be "immigration experts." This is against the law.  Common scams include:
  • Falsely posing as a lawyer or BIA-accredited representative and charging customers for legal “advice” on immigration matters
  • Charging for free services such as USCIS forms and InfoPass appointments or charging exorbitant amounts for assistance with immigration services 
  • Falsely acting as a representative of the U.S. government and charging for a green card, employment authorization, temporary protected status or some other immigration benefit
Other people may offer to help you complete your forms and may have good intentions, but are not qualified to provide legal advice on immigration law or your immigration options.  In partnership with several other agencies, USCIS is launching a public education initiative to combat the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL).
For more information on efforts to stop the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law, please visit the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/avoidscams.

Tips For Avoiding Immigration Fraud

Posted by Michael Pollak on Sun, Nov 29, 2009 @ 10:26 AM

We have been getting a lot of questions regarding the role of Notarios and Immigration Consultants so we decided to post more information on this topic to prevent anyone from becoming a victim of immigration fraud.

Notarios and Immigration Consulants
Notarios, notary publics and immigration consultants may NOT represent you before USCIS.  While in many other countries the word "Notario" means that the individual is an attorney, this is not true in the United States and they may not provide the same services that and attorney or accredited representative does.

A notario may NOT:

  • Give you legal advice on what immigration benefit you may apply for or what to say in an immigration interview
  • Represent him or herself as qualified in legal matters or in immigration and naturalization procedure

If you are seeking help with immigration questions, you should be very careful before paying money to a non-attorney. Below are some tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • DO NOT sign blank applications, petitions or other papers.
  • DO NOT sign documents that you do not understand.
  • DO NOT sign documents that contain false statements or inaccurate information.
  • DO NOT let anyone keep your original documents.
  • DO NOT make payments to a representative without getting a receipt.
  • DO NOT pay more than a nominal fee to non-attorneys or make payments on the internet.
  • DO obtain copies of all documents prepared or submitted for you.
  • DO verify an attorney's or accredited representative's eligibility to represent you.
  • DO report any representative's unlawful activity to USCIS, State Bar Associations and/or State Offices of Attorneys General.

Attorneys and Accredited Representatives
You may choose to have someone, such as an attorney or accredited representative of a recognized organization, represent you when filing an application or petition with USCIS. Only attorneys and accredited representatives may communicate on your behalf regarding your application with USCIS.  For more information on finding an attorney or accredited representative to help you file an application or petition, please visit the Finding Legal Advice link on the USCIS website.

Information Source:  USCIS

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