While you can file USCIS forms yourself, many people prefer to have legal representation. If you are looking for legal representation, the following are guidelines to keep in mind. An authorized legal representative must be either:

  • An attorney who is:
    • A member in good standing of the bar of a U.S. state or territory, or the District of Columbia,
    • Not disbarred or otherwise restricted in the practice of law, and
    • Eligible to practice law in the United States.

or

An authorized legal representative is allowed to:

  • Advise you about which forms to file and when to file them;
  • Give you advice about the correct documents and evidence to submit;
  • Explain immigration options you may have;
  • Help you fill out USCIS forms; and
  • Communicate with USCIS about your case.

This list is not exhaustive. For additional information, please visit the DOJ’s website for a list of Recognized Organizations and Accredited Representatives.

To help you find an authorized legal representative, the American Bar Association provides information about finding an attorney in your state. The DOJ also provides a list of attorneys who provide immigration services either for free or for little cost. DOJ also provides a list of accredited representatives and recognized organizations. Your authorized legal representative must file Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, with the related application, petition, or appeal that you file. USCIS will send information about your case to you and your authorized legal representative if you have one.

When choosing an attorney you should:

  • Make sure that the attorney is eligible to practice in – and is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of – any U.S. state, possession, territory or commonwealth, or the District of Columbia.
  • Make sure that the attorney is not under any court order restricting their practice of law.
  • Ask to see the attorney’s current licensing document, and verify through the state agency responsible for regulating attorneys that they are eligible to practice.
  • Check the List of Currently Disciplined Practitioners. This is where the Executive Office for Immigration Review lists people who have been expelled, disbarred or suspended from practicing law before USCIS. Attorneys who are on the list and who have a “No” in the last column on the right are not eligible to give you legal advice. If the attorney has been disbarred, but claims they have been reinstated, ask to see a copy of the reinstatement order from the EOIR.

WARNING: “Notarios,” notary publics, immigration consultants, and businesses cannot give you immigration legal advice unless they are authorized legal service providers. In many other countries, the word “notario” means that the individual is an attorney, but that is not true in the United States. If you need help with immigration issues, be very careful before paying money to anyone who is neither an attorney nor an EOIR-accredited representative of an EOIR-recognized organization.  See more information on “notarios públicos” on our Common Scams webpage.

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