Are Notaries and ‘Notarios’ the same?

It’s easy to see the similarity between the terms Notary and Notario, but the roles these professionals perform differ dramatically. Unethical individuals will exploit the confusion of these terms to take advantage of unsuspecting immigrants seeking help. By understanding the difference, you can help prevent Notario fraud.

  • In Latin American countries, Notarios Publicos are highly trained legal professionals similar to attorneys.
  • Notarios working in those countries can lawfully provide legal advice and draft legal documents.
  • In the United States, Notaries Public are state-commissioned officials authorized to perform a narrow set of duties.
  • Unless the Notary is also an attorney, it is unlawful for a Notary to prepare legal documents or offer legal counsel.

This handout from the National Notary Association will introduce you to the role of U.S. Notaries and how it differs from that of Notarios.

Protecting your immigrant clients

When you’re skilled at handling official papers, chances are your clients will ask for other document-related services like notarization. Whether you’re a Notary yourself or just an Immigration Forms Specialist, it’s important to communicate which services you can and cannot offer in the language(s) your clients speak fluently.

State requirements for communicating services and prohibited conduct differ. It’s important to know these details if you find yourself needing to refer your clients to other organizations for help.


Fill out immigration forms with confidence

Learn how by attending one of our live seminars or get training online.