This is a great question. Immigration consultants/notaries do not have formal immigration law training and they are not allowed to answer even the most basic legal questions that every immigrant has when applying for an immigration benefit. CARECEN recommends that all persons seeking immigration assistance completely avoid notaries and immigration consultants. Your legal status is too important to place it in the hands of a notary or immigration consultant.
CARECEN also encourages immigrants to avoid certain community-based nonprofit organizations that charge fees for immigration services, if the organization does not appear on the list of BIA-recognized agencies, and does not have constant attorney supervision. Immigration law is complex and a nonprofit organization may do as much harm as a notary or immigration consultant.
Organizations that charge money for immigration legal services without attorney supervision and without BIA recognition operate in violation of the law. If you have concerns about whether an organization has attorney supervision, ask to speak to the organization’s supervising attorney(s).