Notaries Can Be Dangerous – Diaspora Law’s Immigration Lawyers Can Help!

If you are thinking about hiring a notary to help you with your immigration case, you may want to reconsider. A notary is a person who is authorized to witness documents. Unlike in other countries, a notary is not authorized to practice law. Therefore, notary does not have the same legal knowledge as an attorney, and can unintentionally severely harm your immigration case.[1]

According to USCIS, only an attorney can provide legal help while a non-attorney, like a notary, can provide limited non-legal help to immigrants. This distinction is very important because it means that even a person with knowledge of the immigration system cannot legally advise an immigrant unless they are an attorney. The extent of the help a notary can provide is becoming a Immigrations Form Specialist. This is a type of specialist a notary can become so long as they meet State requirements.[2] Although this sounds like it could be incredibly helpful in an immigration case, it cannot replace the knowledge and experience or hiring an attorney. Notaries that are Immigration Form Specialists simply help you fill out a form and pay the correct fees to USCIS.[3] In reality, the directions to fill out all USCIS forms as well as the corresponding fees are located on the USCIS website. An attorney will tell you what types of supporting documents you will need to accompany these forms, provide legal advice and assistance based on the facts and circumstances of your case, and if need be they can represent you in immigration court. A Notary cannot do any of these things, in fact doing or claiming to do these things is considered the unauthorized practice of law.[4]

For more information, or for legal assistance with your Immigration case, please contact us at [email protected].

[1] Should I Use a Notario for My Immigration Case?, Find Law.com (2019).
[2] Immigration Forms Specialist, Immigration forms Training National Notary Association (2019).
[3] Id.
[4] Kelle Clarke, Notary Basics: Avoiding The Unauthorized Practice Of Law, National Notary Association (07/08/2015).

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