Don't Be a Victim of Immigration Fraud

Several of the same red and white triangular road signs. All of them read "FRAUD ALERT"

Notarios, Notary Publics and Immigration Consultants

Notarios, notary publics and immigration consultants may NOT represent you before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service [USCIS].  While in many other countries the word “Notario” means that the individual is an attorney, this is not true in the United States. Notarios may not provide the same services that an 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, or even select immigration forms for you to complete
  • Hold him or herself out 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. Please use the following guidelines when selecting an individual to represent you:

How to Protect Yourself from Becoming a Victim:
  1. DO NOT sign blank applications, petitions or other papers.
  2. DO NOT sign documents that you do not understand (including anything written in English if you are not fluent in English).
  3. DO NOT sign documents that contain false statements or inaccurate information (including any answers written in English that have not been translated for you before you sign, if you are not fluent in English).
  4. DO NOT let anyone keep your original documents.
  5. DO NOT make payments to a representative without getting a receipt.
  6. DO NOT pay more than a nominal fee to non-attorneys or make payments on the internet.
  7. DO obtain copies of all documents prepared or submitted for you.
  8. DO verify an attorney’s or accredited representative’s eligibility to represent you.
  9. DO report any representative’s unlawful activity to USCIS, State Bar Associations and/or State Offices of Attorneys General.
For more information on how to report unlawful activity, go to the  National Association of Attorney Generals website and the American Bar Association webiste. These sites contain contact information for your state Attorney General or State Board.

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. 

Get more information on finding an attorney or accredited representative to help you file an application or petition, 
This information is a slightly edited version of content authored by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service

July 2018