Notary public or an immigration attorney? When it comes to your immigration case you need to be careful about whom you trust to ensure your paperwork is prepared and filed correctly, but also who can properly represent you in court. At Hubbs Law Firm in Miami, we know that notary scams, targeted at immigration cases, are becoming increasingly popular. Our lawyers share what you need to know about the dangers of hiring a notary for your immigration case to help when you are pursuing legal immigration in the United States.
Notary Public Versus Immigration Attorney
First, what is a notary public (or notary)? In Florida, a notary must be at least 18 years of age, a legal resident of the state, and not a convicted felon. Anyone pursuing becoming a notary must take a free 3-hour course, although no exam is required, and pay $39. Florida notaries are also required to get a $7,500 surety bond, which is a promise to pay in the case they’re found to have failed to be honest, diligent, or have unfaithfully discharged responsibilities as a notary. That’s it.
They hope that a notary can help them with the paperwork needed to start their case. But, receiving illegal and incompetent advice on your immigration case will only hinder your case.
The main job of a notary is to witness and authenticate signatures, administer oaths, verify signatures, and take affidavits. They are meant to be an impartial witness when it comes to the signing of important documents that will hopefully deter fraud. They are not there to discuss those documents or provide legal advice. This is one of the biggest dangers of hiring a notary for your immigration case.
An immigration attorney (like the team at Hubbs Law Firm) are the only ones that are qualified to give legal advice on your unique immigration case and the process in the Miami-Dade courts. Unlike a notary, we can help you to fill out paperwork and provide effective representation in court.
Misconceptions About Notary Publics
Why all of the confusion (and influx of notary immigration scams in Miami)? It’s in the translation. In many Latin American countries, a “notario publico” is a college-educated legal professional. They are qualified to practice law at the same level as a licensed attorney in the United States. This cultural confusion has led many scammers into convincing South Florida immigrants that they are qualified and will do the same work as an immigration lawyer. But in the United States, a notary public is not an immigration attorney.
Notaries are a low-cost alternative to a lawyer. We understand that some immigrants seeking help may not have the money to spend on an experienced immigration lawyer. They hope that a notary can help them with the paperwork needed to start their case. But, receiving illegal and incompetent advice on your immigration case will only hinder your case.
What May Happen if You Choose a Notary Instead of an Attorney
You may experience a delay in your application, incurred fees that are unnecessary, or you could even face deportation. Also be cautious of someone posing as a visa consultant or immigration consultant. It is vital to your immigration case to use a lawyer, as they are the only one able to give legal advice and services.
Choose a Miami Immigration Attorney
It can be dangerous to your immigration case to use a notary public. Immigration law is one of the most complicated areas of law, but our qualified and experienced lawyers at Hubbs Law Firm near Miami will be there throughout the entire process. Contact us at (305) 570-4802 so we can start your free consultation. Your legal immigration to the United States is worth it!