Warning about Paying for Immigration Assistance

Information for non citizens

If you are paying someone to help you with your immigration matter, know that you have the right to demand a written contract (in English and in your primary language) identifying all costs to be paid and services to be performed.  The contract should include the name, address, and phone number of the person (or the business) providing the immigration assistance to you.  Also, you have the right to demand the return of any original documents that belong to you, including passports, green cards, and birth certificates.

Be aware that there are many immigration assistance providers including attorneys, people who call themselves "notarios," and other self-styled "experts" who charge fees for services that they may not be qualified to provide.  In some cases, they may be practicing law illegally.  It is common for such persons to file false or inaccurate applications with the USCIS on your behalf, and the consequences for you may be severe - you may easily end up in deportation proceedings.  If you need an immigration attorney, call the NYC Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at (212) 626-7373.  If you already have an attorney, you can make sure that he or she is licensed to practice law in New York State by calling the NYC Bar Association Hotline or by looking up their name at http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/attorney/AttorneySearch.