Applying for U.S. immigration involves a huge investment in time, resources and of course, money.
As such, some people with ill intent may try and fool applicants into shady ways of going through the immigration process. Unfortunately, if you get sucked into one of these scams, you will lose precious time, money and worst, the opportunity to immigrate.
As the adage goes, knowledge is power. So here are some of the basic things you need to know, according to the official website www.uscis.gov, to avoid being a victim of immigration scams.
- USCIS does not charge a fee for downloading forms.
- Read all the instructions before completing and signing the form.
- Never sign blank forms. Your signature may be used for something other than what you think you signed up for.
- There is a filing fee for most forms. The list of fees is on the website.
- Always ask for a receipt for any payment you make to a lawyer or accredited representative.
- Keep a copy of the forms and the documents you file with USCIS.
When working with a lawyer or an accredited representative, remember to:
- Check the state bar association to verify if the attorney is eligible to practice. You may also check if he/she is in good standing of the bar of the highest court of any U.S. state, territory or commonwealth.
- If it’s an accredited representative you are working with, check if he/she is recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals.
- Keep yourself up to date with the law in your state especially where regulation of immigration consultants is concerned.
- Do not hesitate to ask for second opinion if you feel unsatisfied with the advice or service you are getting. Perform the same kind of background check with every attorney or representative you work with.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is to ask for help only from the right places and authorized individuals. Read, ask successful applicants and go to the official government websites to get proper information.
When it comes to documents that require translations, the same principle applies. Work only with certified professionals.
According to The Spanish Group Operations Manager Salvador Ordorica, it is important to look for the translation service provider with a track record of USCIS certified translation.
“A mishandled translation can delay your immigration application, or worse, cause it to be denied,” he said. “Your sense of judgment reflects your character, and character is a crucial criterion that the USCIS takes into consideration when assessing immigration applications.”
Ordorica added, “Certified translations are not done overnight. It requires a real professional to do it. Just because someone speaks the language does it mean that they are qualified to translate civil documents. Always go to a professional to get real USCIS certified translation.”
Lorenzo Saavedra is a San Francisco-based Colombian writer. He has a degree in Journalism and Economics from the University of Miami where he graduated with Latin honors. He is fluent in Spanish, English, Italian, and also speaks “some Arabic.”
During his time in the university, he wrote about Cuban-American population and relations, and the incorporation of Cuban-Americans into mainstream American society.
Lorenzo juggles his time between working as a freelance writer and travelling which is also a source of inspiration for many of his works. His favorite topics are politics and social issues, literary and film criticism, and business.
Lorenzo enjoys going to the beach and learning about new languages.