Given the complicated nature of the process of applying for citizenship or permanent residency, it is recommended that applicants hire a specialist to help them with all the necessary paperwork using their expertise and experience. However, one must be very careful when choosing an immigration lawyer because there are a lot of fraudsters in this profession who will try to take your money and run away. This constitutes an immigration fraud and can be a really stressful experience, especially considering the fact that the victims are usually already under stress from the application procedure and uncertainty about its outcome.
Find a good lawyer
In order to avoid getting tricked and falling victim to an immigration fraud, first you need to be sure you are hiring a qualified professional, an immigration lawyer with papers who is authorized to represent you in legal matters. A smart thing to do is to choose your lawyer from an already established institution such as one of the American immigration lawyers associations or ask your lawyer to present you with his credentials. In case the person you talk to introduces themselves as an immigration consultant, this is probably a sign for you to look elsewhere, because the person most likely does not posses the proper qualifications to represent you.
Another thing to help you judge if you are about to get tricked is what your future lawyer proposes as means of reaching the goal. If they are promising an easy and cheap process or if they are mentioning some possibly illegal activities which you would need to perform, stay away from them because they are most likely frauds. This includes promising to help you with the case by contacting some people they know in the government institutions (such as USCIS) which is illegal by itself, as well as proposing that you lie in order to avoid possible application problems.
Scammers use a diverse range of methods to scam you into giving them money:
Using "professional language" - They use language "false pairs" (a "notario publico" in Mexico is a powerful attorney with special credentials, while in the U.S. a notary public is just a government appointed witness to signing official documents - in other words, not a person which can help you with any immigration related issue),
Charging for free stuff - sell you forms and documents which are free of charge
Fake websites - They have websites which claim to be USCIS affiliates (sometimes even referring to a no longer existent government agency INS - Immigration and Naturalization Service) and offer "official" help for certain amounts of money.
As much as it is important to hire a lawyer to help you with paperwork and bureaucracy that comes with your application for immigration papers, it is essential that you seek help from an immigration lawyer who is a real professional. Hiring some cheater will most likely cost you much more of your money and will probably get you into an even more complicated situation - it might delay your application or even lead to rejection. This is why you need to be ready to invest in real quality, rather than just go with whatever hurts your wallet least.
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