Beware: A Notary Public is Not a Lawyer!

There’s a common misconception in immigrant communities causing many to find themselves in sticky situations. In today’s blog post, we’re busting a major myth, explaining how it came to be, and letting you know how you can avoid this issue on your own immigration journey.

Firstly, a “notary public” in the United States is not the same as a “notario” in a Spanish-speaking country. A U.S. notary public is qualified to witness signatures on important documents, but they most certainly are not authorized to offer you legal advice. If someone says they can help you with your immigration papers, providing you with legal advice because they’re a notary public; do not listen to them. This is called the ‘unauthorized practice of law’ and it is a common occurrence particularly in immigration law

It all started innocently enough, with a tricky translation. A notario in Spanish can refer to someone who has gone to law school and has the certifications necessary to offer legal advice. In English, this person is called a lawyer or an attorney. Although “notario” and “notary” look like they mean the same thing, they don’t.

Over time, people with bad intentions caught on to this common misconception. They realized it was extremely easy to obtain a notary public certification, and have used this to take advantage of many who often are desperately looking for answers and promises of a good result in their case. While it is illegal,  this crime takes place quite often.

So what happens if you get legal help on an immigration matter from a notary public? It can be costly and can even pose a threat to your status in the United States. As USCIS gets stricter and stricter, there is less and less room for mistakes in your paperwork. USCIS does not give second chances, so it is important to get everything right the first time. 

If you are looking for legitimate legal advice from an experienced immigration attorney, the team at Csepes Law Offices is here for you. Rest assured, we have the proper education and training to guide you through immigration matters, and family law issues to boot. If you’ve taken legal advice from a scammer, we can help you assess the damage and begin again. To learn more about our firm and what we can do to help you, we encourage you to contact us today. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Csépes Law Offices Provides Individualized Legal Solutions To Those Needing Family Law, Immigration, Or Real Estate Counsel.

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