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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Shaffer, Esq.

Immigration Scams Unmasked: How to Verify the Authenticity of Your Attorney and Avoid Scams

In this guide, we'll walk you through a simple yet crucial process to ensure the authenticity and credibility of your prospective immigration attorney.

Computer with warnings on the screen indicating a scam is present

Scams are extremely common in US immigration law. I've heard from countless applicants victimized by nefarious actors charging low prices and submitting extremely low-quality cases to USCIS. This results in denials and fraud findings, which can ruin an applicant's prospects of ever getting a Green Card or visa.

Below are the red flags you can use to spot a scam:

  1. They call themself a consultant, paralegal, agent, immigration agent, notario, immigration services company, notary, or make it clear that they are not a licensed US attorney.

  2. They refuse to put their name and information on your application and submit everything under your name.

  3. They have low fees compared to well-known immigration lawyers based in the US.

  4. They are quick to take your case without doing an initial evaluation.

  5. They make it sound like immigration is a game of chance.

  6. They don't have a photo of themselves featured clearly on their website.

  7. They are not upfront with you about the risks and any weaknesses with your case.

The bottom line is that only licensed US attorneys are legally permitted to provide prospective applicants with legal advice and submit applications to USCIS and the US embassies. Anyone else providing an applicant with advice is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, which is a crime in every US state. Immigration scammers are almost always engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, so taking steps to verify that you are working with a licensed US attorney is the best way to avoid scams.

Here is how to verify the authenticity of your chosen attorney:

  1. Ask what US state the attorney is licensed in.

  2. Ask the attorney to send your verification of their active law license, or navigate to that state's Bar Association attorney search website yourself and enter their name (the list is included below).

  3. Ensure that their law license is real and active.

  4. Search for their name and firm name on verified sites like Avvo, Super Lawyers, and Google Maps.

  5. Finally, verify that you are actually speaking with the attorney they claim to be. Some scammers will impersonate US immigration attorneys to steal money from clients. This can be done by having a video or phone call with the attorney, finding videos of them online to compare how they sound in person, and verifying the domain of the email they are using to communicate with you and/or the phone number.

If you do all of this and are satisfied that everything checks out, then it's time to move forward. Good luck with your case!

Find your State/District/Territory Bar Association here:

Navigating the process of verifying the licenses of prospective immigration attorneys is essential for a smooth and secure immigration journey. By engaging in direct conversations, consulting the state bar association's license lookup tool, and cross-referencing information, you'll make an informed decision that ensures you're in the capable hands of a licensed and credible immigration attorney. Remember, this verification process is your ticket to a trustworthy partnership that can guide you toward your immigration goals.

Disclaimer: This post is attorney advertising. It is meant as general information only, and is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. We suggest you set up a consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes; every case is unique and must be analyzed individually.

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