In the United States you have the right to be represented by a US attorney or an accredited representative to file immigration applications or immigration petition forms before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, also known as the USCIS or the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) or other immigration authorities. You may choose to be represented by an attorney or representative, but for your own protection, you should be careful with fraud activities committed by individuals posing as attorneys or accredited representatives. Before allowing an immigration attorney to help you submit your case, you may check with the local attorney bar association to make sure that the attorney is licensed to practice law. Immigration is ruled by federal law, so in most cases the attorney can be located in a different area than you and still be able to represent you before the USCIS or other immigration related organization.
This page can be found at: http://www.usaimmigrationlawyer.org/immigration-attorney-representation.html
Your Representation Rights
If you decide to use an accredited representative or immigration attorney to file your application or petition about green cards, citizenship, visas or other immigration issues and submit it to the USCIS, you may only use a licensed attorney, or a representative of a recognized organization. The representative or the attorney must file the form G-28: NOTICE OF ENTRY OF APPEARANCE AS ATTORNEY OR REPRESENTATIVE along with the proper application or petition. When filing inside the United States, only attorneys and accredited representatives will be able to communicate with the USCIS on your behalf, and receive information regarding your application or petition. If you are filing application or petitions outside of the United States at a local US embassy or consulate you may be represented by an attorney admitted to practice of law in such territory.
If you need immigration legal advice about US immigration issues, but you can not hire an attorney, you may search for the option to ask an attorney, association of immigration lawyers, a state bar association, or a special organization which specializes to provide such assistance, about free legal services or at least for special reduced fees for people with financial limitations, so that they can help you with your immigration issues, including work, education, cases status, and immigration forms in general. You can find a lot published information about immigration like the Immigration FAQs.
To learn more about U.S. Immigration and view the answer to common immigration questions visit www.usaimmigrationlawyer.org/faq.htm
US Immigration Attorneys
If you decide to work with attorneys and want to receive legal advice make sure that an attorney is a member in good standing of the Lawyers Bar Association, of a U.S. State (or U.S. possession, territory, Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia) and try to verify that the Attorney is not restricted in any practice of law or under any court order. When adding your immigration lawyer to your case, the attorneys will check the first section on Form G-28 and he must provide information regarding his admission to practice. The best way to protect yourself is to see the current attorney licensing document for the attorney, make a note of the admission number if any, and to contact the State bar admission authorities to verify that such information is correct. A lawfully admitted attorney should honor your immigration case request for this information; according to the State Bar practice rules require disclosure of this information to clients. You may also access this type of information through States bar websites. Before paying attorney fees for help with your immigration case, it is important to be sure that the individual is a licensed attorney.
Accredited representatives must work for a recognized organization in order to be eligible to represent you with the USCIS and such representative should file Form G-28 to be included as your representative. Accredited representatives may be authorized to practice before the Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) or the USCIS. The best way to protect yourself is to ask to see a copy of the BIA decision granting official recognition to the Accredited Representative and his Recognized Organization. This organizations may only charge nominal or low fees, if any, for providing services in immigration matters. You may also check the Recognition Accreditation Roster maintained by the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR.)
Notaries, Notary Publics and Immigration Consultants
In other countries, the word "notario or notary" means that a person is an attorney or lawyer, but this is not correct in the United States, a notary is not the same than a Lawyer or Attorney. You should be very careful before paying money to non-attorneys who are providing you help with your immigration case. Notaries, public notaries and immigration consultants may not represent you in front of the USCIS. You may not be able to receive legal advice on the immigration benefit you are applying for, and they can not tell you what to say in an immigration interview. An experience and licensed US Immigration Attorney can give you legal advice, help you file forms, act as your representative before the USCIS and answer your immigration questions. These individuals may NOT hold themselves out as qualified in legal matters or in immigration and naturalization procedure and may only charge nominal fees as regulated by state law. Public notaries and immigration consultants can help you to file an application form on pre-printed USCIS forms with information you give them, or by translating documents. The Individuals helping you in this way to file any immigration forms are required by law to disclose to USCIS their assistance, by completing the section at the bottom of a petition or application concerning the "Preparer" of the form.
Protect yourself from immigration fraud, or scams, don’t become a victim. Request copies of all documents and applications prepared or submitted for you. Don’t sign documents if you do not understand them. Don’t sign documents containing false information statements or inaccurate information. Don’t sign blank petitions, applications, or other documents. Before making payments to representatives always ask for a receipt. Don’t pay expensive fees to non-attorneys. Verify attorney’s or accredited representative’s eligibility to represent you as a client.
Report any representative’s unlawful activity to the proper authorities including the USCIS, State Bar Associations and/or State Offices of to the Attorneys General.
If you wish to talk to an accredited and licensed immigration lawyer visit Ask a Lawyer to submit your questions by email or talk by phone with an expert US immigration attorney. You may also review the Immigration FAQs for answers and general information about US immigration.