IIBA Staff are Here to Help You

We understand that immigrating to the United States and completing the necessary immigration paperwork can be daunting. Our staff has the legal expertise to help you with every step of the process: from helping you understand your immigration options, to filing your applications and preparing you for your interview.

Our Offices

Be Wary of Immigration Scams

Only a licensed lawyer or BIA[?]What is this?
A BIA accredited representative is a non-lawyer who has been granted permission by the Board of Immigration Appeals to represent immigrants on behalf of a recognized organization, such as IIBA.
Learn more . . .
accredited representative is authorized and qualified to give you legal advice with your immigration case or green card application. Unlike consultants, immigration lawyers and accredited representatives have completed extensive education and training before being licensed and accredited to represent clients.

Unfortunately, not everyone who offers immigration services is honest. In the United States, immigration consultants sometimes call themselves notarios. An immigration consultant / notario is NOT a licensed attorney, and can only help you complete forms that you have already chosen to complete, verify signatures, and make free referrals to lawyers who can provide legal representation. In the United States, notarios are not allowed to give legal advice, or represent clients in courts or in immigration interviews. In California, it is illegal for immigration consultants to refer to themselves as notarios, to make false or misleading statements, or make any guarantees or promises that are not based on any factual information.

If you do choose to pay someone to help you with your immigration papers, there are many different scams, or tricks, that dishonest immigration consultants, notarios and some dishonest lawyers use to make people believe they will get green cards. For example, they may tell you:

  • I offer “no risk” immigration.
  • I can get U.S. visas for you and your family in a few weeks.
  • I can get you a work permit right away.
  • I know people at immigration and can get your papers done quickly.

These are lies! Don’t trust your immigration papers to anyone who tells you any of these things!

To learn more, visit www.stopnotariofraud.org/faq.php

View and download the Federal Trade Commission’s Spanish-language “fotonovela” with practical tips for how to identify and avoid common scams.

Other Organizations Serving Immigrants

Click here for a list of other immigration resources / organizations you may find helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What can I expect when I walk into an IIBA office?

    IIBA provides high-quality legal services at low cost. You can expect honest and expert advice regarding your immigration matters when you seek assistance at IIBA.

  • What questions will I be asked?

    When you come to IIBA for a consultation, one of IIBA's staff attorneys or BIA[?]What is this?
    A BIA accredited representative is a non-lawyer who has been granted permission by the Board of Immigration Appeals to represent immigrants on behalf of a recognized organization, such as IIBA.
    Learn more . . .
    accredited representatives will conduct an initial intake, asking you for your biographical information and details about why you are seeking our assistance. Depending on the services being requested, you will be asked a series of questions to see how we can help you and what type of immigration relief you may be eligible for.

    If you are interested in applying for U.S. citizenship, for example, we will ask you several questions including: when and how you became a Lawful Permanent Resident[?]What is this?
    A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) is a non-citizen who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a "green card."
    (green card holder), trips you have taken outside the US since becoming an LPR, and whether or not you have ever been arrested. Once we have reviewed this and other information, individuals who are determined to be eligible for naturalization are given a list of required documents to gather. We will then help you complete and file the application, as well as prepare you for your interview with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    If you are unsure of what your options for immigration relief might be, we can also help you. We will ask you a different set of questions such as: how you entered the U.S., how many times you have traveled in and out of the country, what family members you have with legal status in the U.S, if you ever have been a victim of a crime. Based on your answers, we will explain your immigration options to you and assist you with any application for immigration relief you may be eligible for. If IIBA cannot help you, we will advise you of your rights, and refer you to someone who can assist you, when appropriate.

  • IIBA has been a trusted provider of immigration legal services since 1918

    You can have full confidence and trust in our staff. IIBA will not ask you to pay for a service that is not beneficial or applicable to you. We are a nonprofit organization, and IIBA’s mission is to help immigrants like you.

    IIBA will not share your information with anyone, including immigration authorities of course, without your permission. All the information you provide us is confidential, and you will therefore not be at risk of getting deported if you speak to us.

    IIBA will not ask you personal questions that are unnecessary to help you with your immigration matters. We will explain the reason for all the questions we ask you. In return, we ask that you provide us with honest and accurate information so that we may properly assist you. We need correct and complete information from you so that we can properly advise you of your rights.

  • What is the cost of IIBA services?

    The Immigration Institute of the Bay Area is a nonprofit organization. The fees we charge are minimal and are based on a sliding scale depending on your income. A typical, first time consultation fee is $30. Contact the office you wish to visit for more information about fees for specific services.

  • English is not my first language. Can IIBA staff still assist me?

    Yes, IIBA is able to assist individuals who are non-English speakers. Different offices offer services in different languages. Every office offers services in English and Spanish. We also have staff members fluent in Farsi, Chinese, German, and Urdu. Furthermore, with the help of interpreters, we are able to assist individuals who speak other languages as well. If you or someone you know needs services in another language, do not hesitate to contact us.

  • Who can practice immigration law?

    In the United States, only "Immigration Attorneys" and "BIA Accredited Representatives" can practice immigration law and provide legal advice. Refer to this pdf handout to learn more: "Who can practice immigration law?" Handout

  • What is a BIA accredited representative?

    The staff members at IIBA who will assist you with your immigration matters are either attorneys or Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representatives. A BIA accredited representative is a non-lawyer who has been granted permission by the BIA to represent immigrants on behalf of a recognized organization, such as IIBA.

    There are two kinds of accreditation: "partial" and "full". A partially accredited representative may represent undocumented individuals before DHS only. A fully accredited representative may represent undocumented individuals before both DHS and EOIR.

    BIA accredited representatives may therefore legally assist you with preparing and filing your application, as well as represent you at your USCIS interview.

    For more information about BIA accredited representatives, please visit the EOIR website

  • Is IIBA affiliated with the US government or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?

    No. We are an independent, nonprofit organization.