Did your form preparer sign the forms? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. You might be surprised by how many people think they’re hiring an immigration lawyer are really hiring a notario.
Now what’s a notario? A notario is someone who is not a lawyer, who fills out forms.
Now, they usually don’t put a sign on their door that says notario, the sign in says that they are immigration forms, or form prepare, or immigration and taxes.
So these are people who often prey on people from their own ethnic community. They think they’re smart, they think they know how to fill out forms, but they don’t, and they don’t know the law. So I was consulting with a nice lady from Texas the other day.
Her husband was here in the United States and she had just recently received her citizenship. And so we were talking back and forth about this I-130 petition for an alien relative that this notario had prepared for her.
Now, this person I was speaking to wasn’t sure what an notario was and she thought she had a lawyer. And I remembered a very important question that I ask people to discern or figure out whether the person was in fact an immigration lawyer. And the question that I ask is, did the person who prepared your forms sign the forms?
Because only accredited reps, only people who’ve gone through immigration training and work at a clinic type setting, or lawyers, can sign immigration forms. So a really good tell, a really good sign, as to whether or not someone is a lawyer or not, is whether they’re willing to sign your forms.
And so I thought that this might make a nice shorthand for you if you are dealing with someone at immigration, or someone is helping you outside the embassy, or helping you at USCAS, if they’re not a lawyer, you’re going to be able to tell that by the fact that they won’t sign your form.
So if you have applications that are out there and you didn’t sign your forms, or they didn’t sign the forms, you need to be a little suspicious because a lot of times these people, they’re all about results at any cost. They’ll send in things, or embellish things, or add things to cases that they don’t need to, and it ends up where the case really becomes a mess because the person doesn’t understand the law, doesn’t know the rules.
An older immigration lawyer once said to me, “Notarios know how to fill out forms and answer the questions. Lawyers know why the questions are asked.” So be very suspicious if someone won’t sign your forms. In fact, run the other way and find a lawyer, or even do it yourself, you’d be better off doing it yourself than using it in a notario. I honestly believe that. These people are exploiting you, they’re taking advantage of you and they’re not your friends.
So if you have questions about notarios or if you think that you have an application out there that might be problematic, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at [email protected] Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, it’s called Immigrant Home, and if you like this video, connect with me on LinkedIn and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever I make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.