How to avoid US immigration scams

Posted at 04/04/13 4:47 PM

REDWOOD CITY - The wrong help can hurt, this is the warning of the US Customs and Immigration Service to undocumented immigrants who are seeking desperate help in processing their papers here in the country.

The agency said getting assistance from unauthorized practitioners can:

  • Delay your application
  • Cost unnecessary fees
  • and possibly lead to deportation

Notario publico

Notary publics are people appointed by state governments to witness the signing of important documents and administer oaths. They are not authorized to provide any legal services related to immigration.

“Guaranteed” green cards

No business can ever guarantee legal status in the US. These companies can charge high fees or claim they can process documents faster.

Immigration help websites

Do not pay for blank USCIS forms either in person or over the internet. All immigration forms are free from their official website.

Visa lottery

It is true that the Department of State gives out 50,000 diversity visas through a lottery.

But emails and websites that claim they can help you apply or have and edge on the selection are fraudulent. The only way to apply for the lottery is through an official government application process.


Some local businesses, websites and individuals use the term INS. This agency no longer exists. Anyone who still claims they can help you process your applications with the INS are frauds.

If you been a victim of an immigration services scam, and need to find help, report them to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov, or go directly to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement website, USCIS.gov for more information.