With immigration policy and regulations returning to normal under the administration of United States President Joe Biden, the diversity visa lottery program, more commonly referred to as the “green card lottery,” kicked off in October 2021. During the previous administration, the program suffered from the so-called “Muslim ban” and the coronavirus pandemic. This time, US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department have pledged to bring things back to normal, and this includes informing prospective applicants about scams related to this program.
Immigration scams are an unfortunate reality for many foreigners who wish to reside, work, study, or even do business in the US. For example, the green card lottery program is one scammers are known to target by means of email spam and web landing pages. There are quite a few other immigration scams to look out for. Here are some tips on how you can avoid them.
Always Consult Trusted Sources of Information
There are four government agencies in charge of immigration matters: USCIS, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice. You can trust the information published by these agencies on their respective websites. USCIS is always a good starting point because this agency will point you in the right direction if what you’re looking for is handled elsewhere. For example, USCIS doesn’t manage the green card lottery program, but you can get some information from its website plus a link to the State Department section, where you can start the application process.
Retain the Services of an Immigration Law Firm
Many foreigners retain immigration attorneys after they realize they’ve fallen for scams. It’s always better to have adequate legal counsel by your side right at the beginning of the process. This is by far the best way to avoid fraudulent situations because all your questions will be answered by licensed professionals regulated by the bar associations and courts of their respective states. If you or someone you know has been a victim of an immigration scam, seek the advice of a San Diego immigration attorney for guidance about how to proceed.
Stay Away from Notarios
This scam targets prospective Latin American immigrants who are used to dealing with notaries in their home countries. In Mexico, notarios are attorneys authorized to draft and register escrituras públicas, which puts them on a level similar to court officers. In the US legal system, notaries aren’t attorneys. They’re individuals who witness and verify the signing of official documents. Unfortunately, many unscrupulous American notaries have taken advantage of the literal translation of the word from Spanish to English, and they take money from immigrants who think they’re getting legal services.
Look Out for Guarantees that Involve Higher Fees
When reputable immigration lawyers explain the visa application process to prospective clients, they don’t make unreasonable guarantees. They can only speak based on prior experience, and their fees will always be based on the services they perform instead of outcomes.
In today’s chaotic environment surrounding US immigration, it’s easy for potential immigrants to be confused about how to properly complete paperwork and follow procedures so they can enter the US legally, and scammers take advantage of this confusion. Get in touch with KS Visa Law if you’d like more information on immigration scams or other issues such as US citizenship and immigration services. San Diego residents can call 858-874-0711 today to schedule an appointment.