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Should You Hire an Immigration Consultant, Notario or Lawyer?

The difference between an immigration consultant, notario, and immigration lawyer all sound similar but are very different. It is important to understand what each type of professional does before making your choice as there could be long-term consequences depending on which one you choose!

Immigration law can be a complicated and tricky field, so it’s understandable that you might hesitate to make the decision of whether or not to hire an immigration consultant, Notario, or lawyer. Immigration consultants are people who have no formal training in immigration law but do offer assistance on how to complete forms and paperwork for immigration purposes. Notarios are people from other countries like Mexico who are allowed to give limited legal help in those countries, but cannot practice law in the United States because they’re unauthorized practitioners of law. This is a felony offense and results in devastating impacts on immigration cases that they work on. Immigration attorneys are trained professionals with years of experience in this specific area of the law.

What Is An Immigration Consultant?

An immigration consultant is someone who provides assistance to immigrants. Some states allow this by issuing permits to people who would like to become one. To get a permit to be an immigration consultant, it’s as simple as filing out a form and filing it with their state with the payment of a fee. There is no verification that they are competent or experienced in The field of immigration. They have no formal training in immigration law and can only help with completing forms and paperwork. Immigration consultants are not allowed to give legal advice of any kind, so you would be letting them do something that they’re not qualified for. There are states that permit immigration consultants to do limited work with clients on forms but this means that they can literally only dictate what a client tells them to put down. They cannot tell a client whether they are putting something down that is incorrect or that they should be putting something else. This would be considered crossing over into legal advice, and this is not permitted.

What Is A Notario?

In the United States, a Notary Public is someone who is authorized to take acknowledgments on legal documents. They are permitted to certify that the person signing is who they say they are. They are not permitted to give any legal assistance or advice. Notaries from other countries who are legally authorized to work within their own country but cannot practice law in the United States because they’re unauthorized practitioners of law. This is a felony offense and results in devastating impacts on immigration cases that they work on which makes it very risky since a person’s entire future could depend on this one decision. There is no regulating authority to help clients who have had their money stolen or their applications filed and denied. Because Notarios are not recognized in the United States, usually they can get away with poor performance on immigration forms or filing forms that a client isn’t eligible for. A Notario should never be used for immigration assistance in the United States.

What Is An Immigration Attorney?

Attorney and lawyer mean the same thing, they are interchangeable in the English language. These professionals are required to attend law school in order to receive a Juris Doctorate degree. Immigration attorneys have trained extensively within the immigration field and are legally qualified with years of experience practicing as an attorney before specializing or becoming licensed by the state bar license authority. Complete schooling is approximately seven years with integration of classroom learning & clinical learning to give them experience in immigration law. After graduation, they are required to take a difficult licensing exam and undergo a background check to verify their character and fitness standards. These restrictions are place to protect clients from those who are not qualified to practice law or have particular problems in their background that could endanger clients. In addition to licensing, attorneys have yearly educational requirements that need to be met called Continuing Legal Education credits or CLE’s. This ensures that they stay on top of the constantly-evolving law and requirements of the immigration universe. If you encounter a problem with your immigration attorney, you have several channels of action you can pursue if they have negatively impacted your case. An immigration lawyer acts as an advisor and counselor for foreign citizens and immigrants. They provide aid when dealing with visa applications, green cards, citizenship, and naturalization. Immigration lawyers represent their clients and help mediate communication between them and immigration authorities. They also represent their clients in an immigration hearing.

How Do I Decide Which One To Hire?

When making a decision on who to hire to help you with your case, it is important to look beyond the cost of services. Immigration law is not easy to understand and can have long-term consequences. Immigration attorneys are the professionals who will guide you through your case while immigration consultants can only complete paperwork for you with no legal advice or support. If you are not experienced in immigration law yourself, this is especially risky because then there is no one person to tell you if you are making a mistake on your application or petition. Immigration consultants are not regulated and can get away with completely ignoring the law or giving you bad advice which could have long-term consequences for your case. Immigration attorneys will help you maintain a legal status in America, so hiring an immigration attorney is one of the best decisions that someone living here legally can make to ensure they won’t be deported from their current.

Information About Immigration Scams:

If you believe you or someone you know has been a victim of an immigration scam, please reach out to us. There are options available to you to help you undo the damage to your case

When Should I Hire an Immigration Consultant?


There are certain circumstances where an immigration consultant is a good choice for you. If the only thing you are looking for is help with translation or filling out the documents, a consultant may be just what you need. Immigration consultants are great if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on immigration or if your case is not complicated and the person will be in America for less than one year. Immigration consultants are also a great choice for someone who is an expert in immigration law themselves and has the ability to read, follow instructions and complete paperwork on their own. With this being said, it is illegal for an immigration consultant in the U.S. to perform any of the following:

  • Represent you in court or in front of the USCIS
  • Give you legal advice on which immigration benefit you can apply for
  • Give you information or advice on what to say during an immigration interview
  • Give you information or advice on what information to put in immigration forms
  • Tell you whether or not the form you are filing is the right one for your case
  • Give you legal aid concerning naturalization procedures
  • Give you legal aid concerning deportation procedures
  • Give you legal aid concerning adjustment of status, permanent residency or “green cards,” consular processing, or family-based immigration

When Should I hire an Immigration Attorney?

Immigration attorneys can provide legal aid and advice throughout the whole process of applying for immigration. These services can either be helping you decide which immigration benefit to apply for, filling out a green-card application, going to court on your behalf if an issue arises, or helping you prepare for your immigration interview. Immigration lawyers can also help see you through the entire process if that is your wish.

Immigration lawyers charge $250-$400 an hour so they can get expensive, but the result is worth it! You are not just paying for the services that the attorney provides but you are investing in your future in the United States. The application process is just the beginning of your journey and getting it right the first time will lead to a large return on your investment. When comparing the cost of your total application or petition in terms of what you will receive by being in the United States, it is no contest: you receive lifetime assurance of remaining with your family; you receive the economic benefit of job opportunities and the salary you are paid from that job; you receive the benefit of being able to purchase a home and receive equity from investing in that home; in addition to the endless benefits of being able to reside in the United States for your lifetime. This is not the kind of decision you want to make based on how cheap you can get it for.

Why You Should Hire Onward Immigration

Our office is not going to be the cheapest you can find. You will talk with lawyers who will be cheaper and some who will cost more. But it is important to ask yourself, “are they doing the same thing?” “am I getting the same thing out of this?” It’s similar to comparing the quality of a product you would get from Walmart as opposed to Saks Fifth Avenue. We like to think of ourselves as the Target of law firms. Our fee quotes are all-inclusive and are very clear about what you will receive from us, you will never have to wonder nor will you receive a surprise bill. We include filing fees and administrative costs like mailing in our proposals because we believe it is important for a client to know the total cost of their process.

Attorney Kim Felton received her Juris Doctorate degree and received extensive immigration training before graduation. Along with required law school classes, she participated in the school immigration clinic so that she could provide legal assistance and handle cases for Central American kids. In addition to participation in the clinic, she worked as an immigration fellow with a local non-profit and handled cases of various kinds including: VAWA, adjustment of status, removal of conditions, asylum, special immigrant juvenile status, bond hearings, etc. By the time she graduated from law school, she had over 1,300 hours of pro bono service provided to the immigration community. Since then, her experienced has only continued to grow through private immigration representation. She frequently attends CLE courses to stay up-to-date on immigration developments, and is a member of the America Immigration Lawyers Association.

Let Us Help You Build Your Best Life in the United States

Don’t let someone else have control over your future. Let us help you achieve your immigration goals the right way. We have affordable options for everyone.

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