A Notario or Immigration Consultant is not an Attorney Featured

A Notario or Immigration Consultant  is not an Attorney
Question: I found a person who called himself a ‘notario’ and said he would do the work I needed for ½ the cost of an attorney. He also said I did not need a Waiver. Should I hire him?


Answer:  Your immigration situation and your immigration case is critcally important. Is it worth to save some money to hire somebody who is not even a lawyer? A notario, or notary public, is not a lawyer and cannot practice law in the United States. Confusion about what a notary public can do in the US is common for many immigrants, however, because in some other countries, notaries can act as attorneys. An Immigration Consultant similarly is not an attorney.

Many notary publics take advantage of immigrants, leading them to believe that a notary can advise them on the law. Do not hire a notary to handle your immigration matter -- for that you need a lawyer. 

Generally, it is not a good idea to hire a notario or immigration consultant. Even well meaning notarios or Immigration Consultants can seriously harm your immigration case. If the notario doesn't have sufficient knowledge about immigration law, he or she may file documents incorrectly and permanently harm your case. Some notarios may take your money without ever even intending to file your paperwork. If you receive incompetent immigration help, your application may be delayed, you may incur unnecessary fees, and you could even face removal proceedings. If you've been the victim of immigration fraud, visit the American Bar Association's resources for victims of notario fraud for information about where to get help. 


The Immigration Consultant and/or Notario are not licensed by any governmental organization as are attorneys. Similarly, attorneys have passed the Bar and are licensed by the State to give legal advice and to best help your case. Can you imagine if you are directed by a legal consultant or notario to leave the U.S. for Consulate Processing and find out it is denied as you needed a Waiver and are barred for years from coming into the U.S.? These type of gross errors would most likely not occur with a seasoned immigration attorney.


Question: Well, who legally can represent me?


Answer: While immigrants aren't required to be represented, immigration law can be very complicated so it's a good idea to obtain competent legal advice before submitting any paperwork to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). But who should you consult with? There are two main categories of professionals that can legally help with your immigration case: Attorneys who are licensed to practice law in your state, and
Accredited representatives of organizations recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Neither of these categories would be a Notario or Legal Consultant.

In other words, make certain that you properly have done your research when you are hiring somebody to help you with your immigration and make sure he or she is a qualified attorney.
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