Protect Your Family’s Dreams – Don’t Be a Victim of Immigration Scams“As immigration reform is debated in Washington D.C., the immigrant community will become more susceptible to scams. Be a savvy consumer and educate yourself on the safest way to complete your immigration documents.”
- District Attorney George Gascón
Beware of scammers who overstate their ability to do immigration work and take all your money.Two types of professionals are authorized in the United States to give immigration advice:
(1) Immigration Attorneys - must be licensed and eligible to practice in California or another state. They can:
- Provide legal advice
- Advise what immigration forms you will need
- Assist with your immigration case or green card application
- Represent you in court
(2) Accredited Representative from a Nonprofit Organization - must be approved by the Board of Immigration Appeals to represent you in court. They can provide:
- Assistance in immigration matters such as helping you fill out your forms and representation before immigration judges.
- Services for free or charge a small fee.
What are immigration consultants?
An immigration consultant is NOT the same as an immigration lawyer and is very different than a public notary. It is against the law for them to provide legal advice. Immigration consultants:
- Must undergo a background check and pay a $50,000 bond with the Secretary of State,
- Can translate answers and questions on immigration forms.
- Can help you get copies of documents you need for your application.
- Can submit your forms to Immigration.
- Are NOT allowed to keep your original documents.
Be a savvy consumer - Immigrant Legal Resource Center provides the following tips:
Don’t be fooled by false promises, such as:
- Work permits or U.S. Visas right away
- No risk immigration
- Influence with government officials
- Ask questions.
- Ask for documentation showing the person is licensed or bonded.
- Demand a written contract for immigration services.
- Get copies of the papers prepared for you.
- Get a receipt with amount paid, the date, and name and address of person or business.
- Get a second opinion,
- Make sure the immigration consultant or immigration attorney signs your forms as the preparer.
- Trust an immigration consultant or public notary just because a friend invites you to meet them.
- Pay for entire services before signing a contract or before work is complete.
- Sign blank application papers.
- Sign papers, immigration forms, or contracts that you do not fully understand.
- Let anyone keep your original documents.
- Pay for government application forms. Forms are free and can be downloaded www.uscis.gov/forms
- SF District Attorney’s Consumer Mediation (415) 551-9595. Calls are confidential and immigration will never be contacted.
- The California State Bar, 1-800-843-9053 or www.calbar.ca.gov
- List of accredited organizations http://www.justice.gov/eoir/ra/raroster.htm
- California Secretary of State, (916) 653-4984 or http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/notary/notary-online-listing.htm for a current listing of authorized notary publics
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center http://www.ilrc.org/
San Francisco is a Sanctuary City
In 1989, San Francisco passed the Sanctuary Ordinance which ensures everyone can feel safe accessing services, regardless of their immigration status. Please note that this policy applies only in the City and County of San Francisco.