The process of obtaining residency in the U.S is quite complicated. And still, immigrants go through many other problems more than the denial of grant.  Either you are seeking a permanent or temporary residency in the U.S; you need the service of a Columbus immigrant attorney to ensure you have an easy process.

Immigrants face a lot of challenges. Getting residency is one of them. Other problems include getting used to the new weather if you are from a far place. Then there might be a language barrier, making it difficult to communicate your intentions with everyone. In short, there are a lot of differences from a foreigner’s homeland and the differences in civic traditions. These have pushed many immigrants to fall victim of unscrupulous personalities who is lurking around to prey on them. Some might even claim to be a Columbus immigration attorney and they usually promise to offer legal and immigration assistance to people.

You must avoid these people like a disaster waiting to happen. You need to protect your money and personal details which are usually their target. You need to meet the right people rather than meeting this bunch of people who want to milk you and waste your time.

To avoid falling victim, this post is dedicated to the warning signs and red flags you should look for. And if you want to completely avoid mistakes, see a Columbus immigration attorney. You don’t know who to trust with legal assistance? There are signs you need to run away from some people, and you will read about them.

Practice of law

Under the practice of law, a qualified and licensed lawyer gives you all the professional services she has in her capacity. These include providing legal advice, preparing legal documents for her client, and representing her client in court during proceedings. If you meet a Columbus immigration attorney, her professional services are related to the immigration process and issues.

At times, the service of agents who represent a person in a situation looks similar to the service of a lawyer. In such professions such as banking and real estate, the service of an agent overlaps that of a lawyer, but must not be confused with it.

What is ‘unauthorized practice of law?’

In each state of the U.S, there is a legal requirement set for everyone who wants to practice as a lawyer. The process looks like this: the lawyer must have completed law school, been successful in the bar exam, and collected a license to practice from the attorney-licensing organization of her state. It is illegal to practice as a lawyer without successfully passing through all the three (not one) of the stages. This is called ‘unauthorized practice of law.’

The Supreme Court in Ohio has the capability, jurisdiction to identify when a person is practicing illegally, i.e., when a person is guilty of ‘unauthorized practice of law.’ On this Supreme Court’s website, immigrants can see the two cases illustrated to show the danger involved in being a victim of such practice.

In the year 2012, a man from Sierra Leone wants to become a citizen of the U.S. so he asked for the assistance of a company in Columbus named Immigration Associates, LLC.  The company promised to assist in every way possible for a certain fee which was paid. All the owners of the organization aren’t lawyers. In the end, the filing on behalf of the man were riddled with lots and lots of errors.

Also in 2014, there was a woman caught distributing business cards, telling people around the Cincinnati area that she was an immigration lawyer. She also claimed she has contacts with high- level government officials who could help her victim become a citizen. It was discovered that she wasn’t a lawyer and never was one. The Supreme Court in Ohio simply levied heavy fines on her.

How to avoid and report any case of unauthorized practice of law

Anyone can predict the reason why some immigrants trust such deceitful people calling themselves a Columbus immigration attorney. Usually, the false organization or lawyer seems to be interested in fighting for the rights of immigrant and things become too convincing when the false personalities understand the local language of the immigrant. They totally look legitimate to unsuspecting clients.

If you don’t want to fall for their trap, you should call the local bar association. They are located in the nearest city or town to you. Call and ask for names of qualified and real immigration lawyers.

Alternatively, to find out if the immigration lawyer is truly licensed to practice, you can check the name of such lawyer on the website managed by the Supreme Court in Ohio.  Those who are licensed are on the list on this website. Check it and find your lawyer’s name. If his/her name is not on the list, it means the person should not be practicing law in Ohio.

In case, you have contacted the wrong person before finding out, you can file a case of grievances on the website. The instruction for the process of filing such grievances is available in the following languages: Russian, English, Spanish, French, Somali, Chinese and Arabic.

What happens to the false-lawyer when caught?

Although it will be better to not fall a victim of these people, you want to know what will become of them. It is a crime to act or perform the duties of a licensed Columbus immigration attorney when you are not. The punishment of such type of crime is dependent on the state which it happens. The punishment for the crime in New York might be different from Ohio. The state will either treat the case as a felony or a misdemeanour. As you can see in one of the examples above, the Supreme Court heavily fined the false female lawyer. Depending on the states, the charges for a felony or misdemeanour varies.

Ensure your lawyer has experience

It is important that your Columbus immigration attorney has some or a lot of experience. If she does, your immigration process will be a lot easier and you are likely to succeed in your attempt. So be careful when you are making a choice.