Beware of Immigration Scams

In the United States, only Immigration Attorneys and BIA Accredited Representatives can practice immigration law and provide legal advice.

Only a licensed lawyer or BIA 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

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

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