Are you an immigrant to the United States and need help with an immigration issue? If so, beware of “notarios”, “visa consultants” and “immigration consultants” who are not licensed attorneys and are not authorized to practice immigration law.

In the United States, a “notario” or “notario publico” is NOT a licensed attorney. It is someone appointed by the state government to witness the signing of important documents and administer oaths. Notarios and immigration consultants exploit the trust of immigrants who are new to this country, unfamiliar with the English language and legal system, and who assume that a “notario” is a lawyer with a duty to protect their interests. Notarios hold themselves out as qualified to help immigrants obtain lawful immigration status, and may charge a lot of money for help that they never provide.

Often, immigrants permanently lose opportunities to pursue immigration relief because a notario has damaged their case. At the Anwari Law Firm, we have heard many horror stories from clients who went to a notario or immigration consultant and had their immigration applications completed incorrectly, leading to delays of months or years, and even deportation in some cases.

Before you meet with someone to assist you with your immigration case:

  • Ask where the person went to law school, and in what state the person, or their boss (if you speak with their assistant or paralegal) is licensed to practice law. Call the relevant state bar to confirm this information, and ask if anyone has ever filed a complaint against the person. Go to for contact information for state bars.
  • Ask if you are required to pay for an initial consultation, and if so, how much it will cost.
  • Ask how much the person’s fee is if you decide to hire them or their firm to represent you.
  • Ask if the person charges by the hour or if you have to pay a flat fee up front.

During the consultation:

  • Ask to see the person’s credentials (license to practice law and diplomas).
  • Ask if you can leave photocopies of your documents with the person, instead of leaving the originals.
  • Ask if you will have to pay to receive your court notices or other documents.

Do not risk losing your money, time or freedom by taking a chance on a notario or immigration consultant. Contact The Anwari Law Firm at or (703) 348-8448 to find out how our low fees and payment plans can help you solve your immigration problems. We are licensed immigration attorneys who will handle your immigration matter from beginning to end with respect and competence.

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