Should I Hire An Immigration Consultant?
If you or your family apply for permanent citizenship in the United States, you likely know you are up against a difficult task. Getting a green card can be a long and tedious process, and it’s especially intimidating for people who are still learning to read, write, and speak the English language. While USCIS offers helpful forms on their website, you might still be looking for an actual person who can discuss the process with you. Many applicants in this position wonder if they should hire an immigration consultant to assist with completing their application.
What an Immigration Consultant Can (And Cannot) Do
Immigration consultants are people who will help immigrants fill out their applications and forms in return for payment. Their duties are limited, and they should refer applicants who need more involved help to authorized providers or immigration attorneys.
USCIS does allow immigration consultants to perform certain duties for applicants. Specifically, they may:
- Read and translate applications for you;
- Fill in the forms with information you provide; and
- Charge a nominal fee for these services.
These consultants are expressly forbidden from holding themselves out as experts in immigration laws and procedures, nor may they give you legal advice or represent you in court.
Beware of Scams
The United States does not have a license or certification program for immigration consultants, so they have no formal training or education. More importantly, immigration consultants don’t have to follow any sort of ethical code or regulations, which means they face few repercussions if they fail to offer proper help or if they simply disappear – with your money.
Because the actions of immigration consultants are not governed very strenuously, people can pass themselves off as one to scam applicants. They take advantage of people who know little about U.S. law asking for their help. People often go to consultants because they claim to offer extensive knowledge at a fraction of the price of an attorney. However, scam artists passing themselves off as consultants may charge even more than an attorney and take off, leaving the applicant in a lurch.
Talk to an Experienced Immigration Attorney
When it comes to asking for help with your immigration applications, experience matters. The immigration attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC have helped many people attain citizenship in the U.S. Not only can we provide guidance when you’re filling out your forms, we can answer questions, offer advice, and represent you in court. You can trust us with your important immigration documents.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding An Immigration Consultant, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.