Stockton is the 13th largest city in California, with a population of 320,554 as of 2017.
Although Stockton experienced an economic meltdown in 2012, it did not take long for the city to bounce back from bankruptcy and invite even more immigrants.
However, immigrating to California can be costly and tricky.
With around 56% of the population in Stockton, California being immigrants, it is time to get a reliable immigration attorney Stockton CA to process your immigration petitions properly.
But some people, instead of getting an immigration attorney in Stockton, CA, opt to contract with a Notario Publico for their immigration needs for cost considerations.
Be wary because this decision might work against you.
What is a Notario Publico?
Notario Publico is a Spanish term that directly translates to “notary public.” A notary public has the license to be a witness in signing legal documents such as affidavits or bill of sale.
The confusion arises because Notario Publicos in other countries are allowed to practice law. That is not the case in the United States.
Immigration Lawyers versus Notario Publicos
Only lawyers are allowed to represent individuals for Immigration proceedings. In some cases, Recognized organizations and accredited representatives are permitted as long as they are granted accreditation by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
The fraud happens when Notario Publicos misrepresent their allowed services. It might cause problems because of possible wrong advice that is given and false claims in passed documentation.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will eventually find this out and may lead to denial of the immigrant status, unnecessary deportation, and both civil and criminal liability because of false claims.
Not all Notario Publicos have “notary public” in their name. How do you know which one is legal? These are 4 tell-tale signs of fraudulent Notario Publico immigration scams:
- They are not prompt in presenting their license to practice. The first step is to check their license to practice. If you hired a lawyer, check the state bar if they are eligible to practice law in your state. If an organization represents you, check the BIA and the accrediting decision.
- They guarantee your visa and green card. It is a complicated process that takes an extended period. If your representative promises your petition to be accepted 100%, it is a red flag. They want you to be hopeful so that they can steal your money.
- They charge you for USCIS forms. All USCIS forms can be downloaded free of charge. If your representative charges you for it, be careful. He or she is just taking advantage of you.
- They charge a higher amount than the published USCIS fees. Another way that they extort money is by charging a higher fee than what is published in the USCIS. Check the fees you are paying. It should be the same as what is shown in the USCIS fees table.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed?
Due diligence is a must to protect yourselves from scammers. These are some things that you can do:
- Make sure you understand the content of the documents you are signing.
- Only include information that is accurate in the forms.
- Always ask for receipts from your lawyer.
- Do not sign blank forms.
- Keep copies of the documents passed to the USCIS.
Protect your family from Notario Publicos. It is best to contact your immigration lawyer in Stockton today.
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