Know your rights. Protect yourself. Avoid being
Never pay for blank government forms. Government forms are
You can get FREE immigration forms at www.uscis.gov/forms, or by
calling USCIS at 1-800-870-3676, or by visiting your local USCIS office.
You only have to pay when you submit forms to the U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
Always ask for someone's credentials before you hire him or
Ask if the person is a licensed attorney, an accredited
representative or an immigration consultant. Only a licensed attorney can
provide legal services.
To check if someone is a licensed attorney in good standing in
Maryland, contact the Client Protection Fund at (410) 630-8140 or at www.mdcourts.gov/lawyers/attylist.
To check if someone is an accredited representative, go to www.justice.gov/eoir/recognition-accreditation-roster-reports
Never let anyone keep your original documents, like your birth
certificate or passport. Scammers may demand you pay to get them back.
Always keep a copy of every form that you submit, as well as
every letter from the government about your application or petition.
Never sign a form before it has been filled out, or a form
that contains false information. Never sign a document that you don't
Always get a receipt from USCIS when you turn in your
paperwork. Keep it! It proves that USCIS received your application. You will
need the receipt to check on the status of your application so be sure you get a
Never pay for services before they are
Maryland passed the Immigration Consulting Services Act in
2005. This bill prohibits unauthorized persons from providing legal services to
noncitizens and people seeking to sponsor a noncitizen. It also requires an
immigration consultant to provide you with a detailed written contract before
she or he assists; and it requires an immigration consultant to post certain
notices at his or her place of business, plus much more. Access the law here.
In Spanish, the term "notario" refers to someone who can
provide certain limited legal services. In English, the term "notary" refers to
someone who can officially witness and authenticate signatures on documents. In
the United States, a notary is NOT authorized to provide legal advice or
services of any kind.
For free copies of immigration forms, visit www.uscis.gov/forms.
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6300 / En español 410-230-1712 / 1-888-743-0023 toll-free / TTY: Dial 7-1-1 or 800-735-2258