Any process that’s intricate by nature will open itself up to fraud and other pitfalls. Foreigners seeking legal status in the United States face many situations that can inadvertently devolve into fraudulent actions. Fraud is one of the most common reasons visas, work permits, and green cards are denied. In many of these situations, the nature of the fraudulent action isn’t intentional. Unfortunately, immigrants often make mistakes when they submit their petitions and applications. In other cases, foreigners fall prey to scams and bad advice. Regardless of whether fraud was perpetrated with or without intention, it can derail the immigration process and even result in deportation. Here are six recommendations for avoiding immigration fraud.
1. Only Deal with Immigration Law Firms
Don’t take chances with agencies that provide information or offer to complete applications for a fee. Some of these agencies have been found to take advantage of foreigners who aren’t familiar with the immigration process. You’ll always be better served by immigration attorneys who are admitted to their state bar associations.
2. Beware of the American Notary Scam
In Mexico and other Latin American jurisdictions that follow civil law systems, a notario publico is a specialized attorney considered to be an officer of the court. In the common law system of the United States, notary publics aren’t lawyers. They can only authenticate signatures and certain documents, but this hasn’t stopped some of them from fraudulently offering legal services to foreigners.
3. Double-Check All Paperwork
Too many visa and residency applications are rejected or flagged as fraudulent because of false information when in reality they’ve simply been completed incorrectly. This is another reason that highlights why it’s best to retain San Diego immigration attorneys to guide you through the process.
4. Don’t Pay Cash
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services won’t accept cash payments for filing fees. Only checks, money orders, and debit card payments are accepted, since they can be traced. You can pay cash for attorney fees as long as you get a receipt. If you have difficulty opening a bank account, your law firm may be able to assist with getting a money order or a prepaid debit card.
5. Don’t Claim to be an American Citizen
When filling out I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms or applying for loans, pay close attention to the boxes that ask about legal status. It’s too easy to mistakenly check the box for U.S. citizens, and this could be a problem for foreigners seeking immigration benefits. False claims of citizenship can result in deportation.
6. Don’t Apply for Welfare Benefits
Simply asking for federal benefits such as food stamps could be considered a fraudulent action. If you’re in need of assistance, check with your immigration lawyers so you can contact community and nonprofit organizations that may be able to help.
In today’s turbulent environment surrounding U.S. immigration policies, it’s easy for potential immigrants to be confused about how to properly complete paperwork and follow procedures so they can enter the U.S. legally. Get in touch with KS Visa Law if you’d like more information on immigration fraud, scams, or other issues related to U.S. citizenship and immigration services. San Diego residents can call 858-874-0711 today to schedule an appointment.