Friday, September 2, 2011

Are you getting the right immigration help?

Many people offer help with immigration services. Unfortunately, not all are authorized to do so. While many of these unauthorized practitioners mean well, all too many of them are out to rip you off. This is against the law and may be considered an immigration service scam.
If you need help filing an application or petition with USCIS, be sure to seek assistance from the right place, and from people that are authorized to help. Going to the wrong place can:
Delay your application or petition
Cost you unncessary fees
Possibly lead to removal proceedings

Only attorneys or accredited representatives can:
Give you legal advice about which forms to submit
Explain immigration options you may have
Communicate with USCIS about your case

An attorney or a BIA-accredited representative can legally represent you before USCIS. Your legal representative must file a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, with your application(s).  USCIS will send information on your application to your legal representative.

Accredited Representatives
A BIA-accredited representative working for a BIA-approved organization is eligible to represent you before USCIS and EOIR.  BIA accredited representatives are not attorneys, but they may give you immigration legal advice. An accredited representative must work for a BIA-approved non-profit, religious, charitable, social service or similar organization in the United States. Her or she may only charge nominal (small) fees, if any, for legal services.

If you choose to work with a BIA-accredited representative from a BIA-recognized organization, you should:
Check the BIA website for the List of Accredited Representatives and Recognized Organizations.
Ask to see the BIA order granting the application of the recognized organization.
Ask to see the BIA order approving the individual as an accredited representative. Approval is granted for three years.  Make sure that the BIA order is still valid and that the individual is approved to represent you before USCIS. The accredited representative should not have any problem giving you this information.