Individuals in California who are seeking to immigrate to the United States must exercise caution and try to avoid scams offering to smooth the path to immigration or provide services meant only to steal money from the unwary. Advice on immigration is only appropriate from an attorney or someone who is qualified to assist an immigrant in the process and authorized by the immigration appeals board.
Those seeking to immigrate or who hope to apply for a change of status may be aware of some scams being perpetrated with a false offer of assistance. One scam involves false postings or emails claiming that an individual may have obtained immigration through a lottery. While the U.S. State Department does operate an annual lottery, it carries strict requirements and applicants must apply themselves. In some cases, local businesses operate a storefront and may promise a guarantee to procure an individual's green card, visa or work document. While these businesses might actually fill out an application for immigration, it usually costs more than if the individual went through normal channels, and no guarantee exists.
Other scams may involve a phone call from an individual saying that he or she is employed by immigration. These calls are an effort to learn personal information, which may be used to steal an individual's identity or to falsely request money. The individual receiving the call should not fall prey to this approach.
The documentation required to immigrate to the United States is specific, and an individual wishing to apply or change his or her status may benefit by consultation with citizenship attorneys. An attorney may assist by advising an individual of the steps needed to accomplish the task and could help an immigrant be sure all required documentation is presented.