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Notario Fraud: Common Immigration Issue


So-called “notarios” have lately earned an infamous place in the public spotlight.

“Notario” is a term used in Latin American to denote a legal official. The term also sounds similar to English word “notary,” who likewise is NOT a lawyer, but can certify documents, take depositions, and do some other quasi-legal work.

Neither Spanish “notario” nor the English “notary” denotes an attorney. However, recently arrived immigrants tend to confuse both for lawyers, legal advisers, or attorneys specializing in immigration. Confusion is exacerbated by what essentially amounts to immigration fraud by crooks, who advertise as “notarios,” or notaries who misrepresent themselves as having all the powers of an attorney. This situation is commonly known as notario fraud.

notario fraud Immigration Law

A newly arrived immigrant relying on help from a “notario” sets himself up for big trouble: loss of savings, denial of immigration status, and deportation. Unfortunately, before becoming fully established in the US, a newly arrived immigrant oftentimes becomes an easy and defenseless prey to unscrupulous con artists.

A legal professional may be engaging in notario fraud if he or she:

  • Charges unusually high fees for standard immigration paperwork.
  • Claims to have s special relationship with authorities.
  • Selling an otherwise free documents, such as immigration forms available online.
  • Filing asylum applications while your case does not qualify for asylum.
  • Guaranteeing receipt of permanent resident or citizenship status.
  • Working from a shady business on “referral only” basis.

Before going to a notario, think twice. Even better, do not even consider substituting a notarios’ services for advice from a qualified immigration attorney.


  • Immigration forms

    I appreciate your concern for those people! I have heard of many stories of people who get caught by such fraud notario.

  • Pavel Leshchinskiy


    Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to comment on this section.

    Yes, it’s very unfortunate that those who come to US with high hopes are deceived by crooks in such way. And, this is happening during the most vulnerable period in recent immigrants’ lives, having just arrived to US and lacking resources, or even knowledge of how to report such fraud.

    I think we must create an environment in which immigrants do not feel intimidated and powerless, but know that they can safely report to and work with authorities to battle fraud and other crimes that disrupt communities, derailing lives of families and individuals alike.

    Thank you,



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