The California Business and Professions Code requires any immigration consultant who wants to perform the activities mentioned above to register with the Secretary of State as an immigration consultant, pass a background check, and deposit a bond in the amount of $50,000. Every employee who interacts with the public at an Immigration Consultant’s office must post a $50,000 bond.
To verify whether an immigration consultant has posted the required bond with the Secretary of State, you may call (916) 653-3984 or look up the business/immigration consultant at the Secretary of State’s website: http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/sf/bond_search.htm
An immigration consultant who complies with all of these requirements should also:
- Post a VISIBLE sign in his office in English and in the client’s language establishing:
- His/her full name and the business’s address
- Evidence of the bond deposit of $50,000
- Declaring that the immigration consultant is not an attorney
- Post another visible sign indicating that the immigration consultant cannot charge any fee for referring clients to an immigration attorney
- A sign listing all services offered by the immigration consultant and their respective prices
- Provide a written contract in English and the client’s language that indicates:
- the immigration consultant is not an attorney,
- establishes costs and services,
- has a clause that asserts the client’s right to rescind the contract within 72 hours, and receive a refund of any payments made in advance
- The customer can file a complaint against the immigration consultant with the Office of Immigrant Assistance of the Department of Justice and with the State Bar of California, including the phone numbers and web pages of these institutions.
- If you received immigration services and were not provided with this contract, you have been a victim of a notary/immigration consultant that does not comply with the law.
- The immigration consultant cannot use certain words that if translated can take on another meaning in the client’s language, example: notary public, in Spanish is “notario,” meaning attorney when translated.
- Receipts for each payment to the consultant must be written on typewriter/computer, with office letterhead, and signed by the consultant.
ONLY immigration consultants who comply with these requirements can help you with photocopies, translations or completing forms that you and only you decide to use. The same applies to nonprofit organizations that charge fees but do not have an attorney or accredited representatives.