In this article:
This article will describe things to consider when hiring someone to represent you in your immigration case. Before hiring someone to represent you, be sure to understand the services they can provide. Always verify their credentials. The topics covered in this article are:
- Licensed attorney
- Accredited representative
- Immigration consultant
- Who can represent you in your immigration case
To confirm whether an attorney is in good standing in Maryland or has been disciplined for breaking the rules, visit the Maryland Attorney Listing or call the Client Protection Fund. To see if an attorney is licensed in a different state, see the American Bar Association's bar directory.
- Maryland Client Protection Fund, 410-630-8140
- Maryland Attorney Listing
- American Bar Association's Bar Directory
To search for an Immigration attorney select one of the links below:
- American Immigration Lawyers Association, 1-800-954-0254
- People's Law Library Legal Services Directory
For a list of lawyers who are no longer allowed to practice law, see the list provided by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Accredited representatives work for an organization that is officially recognized and authorized by the Department of Justice to provide legal immigration advice.
An “immigration consultant” means a person that provides nonlegal advice, guidance, information, or services to a client on an immigration matter for a fee.
An immigration consultant may NOT:
- Provide any legal advice or legal services;
- Make misrepresentations or false statements to influence, persuade, or encourage a client to use their services;
- Make statements that he or she can or will obtain special favors from or has special influence with the government;
- Collect any fees or other compensation for services not yet performed;
- Refuse to return documents supplied by, prepared by, or paid for by a client, at the client's request; or
- Represent, advertise, or communicate in any manner that he or she possesses titles or credentials that would qualify him or her to provide legal advice or legal services.
An immigration consultant must clearly state in a visible location at each place of business where he or she provides services, a sign that states “I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in Maryland, and may not provide legal forms, provide legal advice, or provide legal services”.
Who can represent you in your immigration case?
- Attorneys licensed to practice law in any U.S. state
- Accredited Representatives (accredited by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Access Programs)
- A law student/graduate supervised by a licensed attorney
- A reputable individual who has a pre-existing relationship with the immigrant and who receives no payment for their assistance