The Nevada Attorney General’s Office warns Nevadans to be on alert for
immigration/notario scams. Before engaging anyone for legal assistance, you
should do your research by using a number of free resources to make sure the
person is properly licensed. Don’t be fooled by a notaries, paralegals, or
document preparers, who claim they can provide legal help. While Notaries Public
may perform duties of attorneys in Spanish-speaking countries, those in the
United States cannot practice law, give legal advice, or accept fees for legal
advice. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and represent you in court. An
attorney must have a law degree and pass a test prior to being licensed. You may
confirm that the person claiming to be an attorney is licensed by visiting the
State Bar of Nevada’s website at http://nvbar.org
or by calling 1-800-254-2797.
Additionally, be aware of some other signs that a person offering legal
assistance may be offering fraudulent services:
- No one can guarantee you will
be approved for specific benefits.
- Only you, an attorney, or a
Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) representative can represent you before USCIS
and inquire about the status of your request.
- An immigration service
provider that does not employ attorneys may not give you legal advice, threaten
to report you to immigration authorities, promise to obtain special favors from
immigration authorities, instruct you to provide false information to
immigration authorities, or charge you for a referral to someone qualified to
assist you with immigration matters.
- If you do go to an immigration
service provider to have your paperwork filled out, the provider must do the
- give you a contract (which may be
cancelled at any time) written in English and in a language you understand
describing the services they will provide and the fees they will charge;
- post signs clearly indicating they are
not attorneys and cannot give you legal advice;
- give you a copy of any documents filed
with the government;
- return any original documents belonging
- and give you a copy of your file on
demand without a fee.
To determine if a business is a registered document preparation service with the
Secretary of State’s office, search the database. (Insert:
- Remember that just because
someone may be of your same race/ethnicity and/or speaks your language does not
necessarily mean they have your best interest at heart. Scammers exploit the
trust and friendship that exist in groups of people who have something in
For additional tips from the State Bar of Nevada and the Las Vegas Latino Bar, please click here.
If you are victim of an immigration services scam, report it the following
agencies Federal Trade Commision,
State Bar of Nevada , and the
Nevada Attorney General's
Individuals who misuse or are suspected of misusing the term “notario” should be
reported to the Secretary of State’s office at 1-800-450-8594 (press option 6 to
reach the document preparation services division). Reporting scams will not
affect your immigration application or petition.