Immigration consultants are trained to provide specialty services to clients who need assistance legally moving from one country to another. If you’re planning on settling in another region of the world, and you need to fill out applications or petitions that will authorize you to enter a new country. Consultants also have to gather the proper documents and may have to translate procedures and paperwork for clients as well.
It’s important to note that an immigrant consultant is not the same as an immigration attorney. In the United States, consultants don’t have to go through a certification process to start working. This means that immigration consultants don’t have to adhere to a certain professional standard but should have necessary training to properly service clients. However, immigration consultants in the U.S. should have a college degree in most cases and it’s ideal for these professionals should also have legal training in some instances. To be an accredited immigration representative and take on complex cases or an immigration lawyer, additional schooling is necessary.
Lawyers have to pass the bar to specialize in immigration and are qualified to handle the legal aspects of immigration such as having certain documents notarized or provide representation if a client has to go to court for any reason. Immigration consultants are qualified to help people through the documentation process that comes with immigration but are not qualified to provide legal assistance or advice. Consultants can’t represent clients in court and can’t tell you how to answer the questions in your immigration interview. For these issues, it’s best to contact and hire an immigration lawyer.
It’s also important to know about “notarios” when you’re preparing for immigration. These agents often work in the United States but aren’t always qualified to provide legal assistance with immigration. “Notarios” means “notary” in Spanish and these agents are common in Latin America, but they don’t have the same qualifications in the U.S. There are some states with laws that prohibit “notarios” from advertising themselves as notary publics, so be mindful of this before you fill out any paperwork or start the immigration process. You can access the American Bar Association to see a list of laws state by state. You can also reference the USCIS to get an overview of the services you can expect from an immigration consultant. The USCIS will also tell you which services a “notario” and notary public can or can’t provide legally.
Remember that an immigration consultant also can’t represent you before the USCIS – only immigration lawyers and accredited representatives are allowed to do this. If you’re working with a consultant, do some research so you can figure out the immigration benefits you need so you’ll know which documents you need. If you need to know what to say (or not say) during your immigration interview, contact an immigration lawyer for additional information. If you’re working with an immigration consultant, ask for lawyer referrals if necessary so you can learn all the details associated with the naturalization procedure as well.