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 Offering Immigration Forms Assistance as a Valuable Service

B. Elise
02.20.24 12:54 PM Comment(s)

 Offering Immigration Forms Assistance as a Valuable Service

Notaries are expanding their services to meet the diverse needs of their clients, and one valuable addition is immigration forms assistance. This blog explores the nuances of providing this service, emphasizing the importance of research, adherence to state regulations, and collaboration with immigration attorneys.

Understanding State Variations:

Immigration processes vary by state, making thorough research crucial. This goes for the different titles as well. Some states call those who assist with immigration documents, "Immigration Forms Specialist", "Immigration Consultant", "Immigration Forms Clerical Assistant", and more.  Notaries must ensure they can legally offer immigration forms assistance in their jurisdiction and be aware of any state-mandated fees for such services, any required licenses, or certifications.

Roles in Immigration Forms Assistance:

The role of a notary in immigration forms assistance goes beyond witnessing signatures. It includes helping clients fill out forms, printing the forms, and understanding form/application instructions. Reviewing the completed form with the client to ensure it is filled in where required. Notaries also play a key role in helping the client gather the required documents per the provided checklist and referring clients to immigration attorneys when necessary.

Language requirements:

It is crucial that the form specialist speaks English well and is able to read the English text to the client in order to help them comprehend the steps associated with every section. This is due to the fact that the form instructions are published in English on the USCIS website. Speaking the same language as the person you are helping is also advantageous.

Navigating USCIS.gov:

USCIS.gov is the go-to resource for notaries providing immigration forms assistance. Encouraging clients to visit the official website ensures they have the latest information and updates on immigration forms and regulations.

Choosing the Right Form:

Notaries must refrain from selecting immigration forms for clients. Instead, they should direct clients to the USCIS forms page, allowing them to read titles and details to make informed choices—similar to how notaries can't choose notarization types.

Fees and Regulations:

Researching state regulations is crucial when determining fees for immigration forms assistance. Some states may mandate specific charges, while others leave it open. Itemizing invoices is essential, reflecting transparency and professionalism in providing this service.

Collaboration with Immigration Attorneys:

Building connections with local immigration attorneys establishes a referral network. Notaries should communicate with attorneys, referring clients in need of legal advice during the immigration process.

Free Legal Resources:

USCIS provides a list of free legal resources under "resources" on their website. Encouraging clients to explore these options reinforces the commitment to providing accurate and ethical immigration forms assistance.

Setting Boundaries:

Notaries must be clear about their limitations. A statement should be included, explicitly stating they are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice or be compensated for such advice regarding immigration law or practices.

The Wrap Up:

Offering immigration forms assistance can be a valuable service, but notaries must approach it with thorough research, compliance with state regulations, and a commitment to ethical practices. By connecting with immigration attorneys, relying on USCIS.gov, and setting clear boundaries, notaries can enhance their services while ensuring clients receive accurate and lawful support in navigating the complex landscape of immigration processes.

B. Elise