IL Senate Bill 2548


State: Illinois
Signed: August 23, 2004

Effective: August 23, 2004
Chapter: Public Act 093-1001


Senate Bill 2548 provides fines and sanctions for persons who prey upon immigrants by providing unauthorized services.


Amends 5 ILCS 312/1-104, 2-102, 3-103, and 3-104.

  1. Requires a Notary commission applicant to state in the application that he or she has not had a prior Notary commission suspended.
  2. Defines “accredited immigration representative” as a “not-for-profit organization recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals under 8 C.F.R. 292.2(a) and employees of those organizations accredited under 8 C.F.R. 292.2(d).” (C.F.R. = United States Code of Federal Regulations)
  3. Provides that accredited immigration representatives are exempted from requirements other Notaries must follow in non-English ads for notarial services.
  4. Broadens the prior prohibition against using the literal translation of the term “Notary Public” in an advertisement to include the terms: Notary Public, Notary, licensed, attorney, lawyer, or any other term that implies the person is an attorney, and specifically prohibits use of the term “Notario"
  5. Provides that violations of the foreign-language advertisement provisions are punishable by a $1,000 fine for each offense, commission suspension upon the second violation, and permanent revocation upon the third violation, and further provides that these penalties do not preempt or preclude other civil or criminal charges.
  6. In addition to not representing or advertising that one is an attorney, or holding oneself out an expert in immigration matters, prohibits a nonattorney-Notary from providing any other assistance that requires legal analysis, legal judgment, or interpretation of the law.
  7. Provides that if a Notary who is not an attorney or accredited immigration representative accepts a fee for providing legal advice, that person is liable for 3 times the amount charged or $1,000 minimum fine, and further provides that additional civil or criminal charges may also apply. 
  8. Provides that a nonattorney-Notary who incurs 2 or more business violations of the Act within a 12-month period while commissioned, or 3 or more business violations within a 5-year period regardless of whether the Notary is commissioned, shall have the commission immediately revoked.
  9. Specifies the maximum fees a Notary may charge for immigration-related clerical services: $10 per form completed, $10 per page to translate a form, $1 to notarize a form, $3 to obtain any document necessary for completion of a form, or $75 to provide these services for a complete application.
  10. Provides that a Notary must keep records of and issue receipts for all fees charged, and further provides that failure to keep records and issue receipts can be construed as a presumptive admission of wrongdoing on a particular charge.

Many Notaries who qualify as “accredited immigration representatives” work for charitable refugee organizations, such as those operated by the Catholic and Lutheran churches. Illinois is one of a very few states which authorize nonattorney-Notaries to perform nonlegal immigration services for the public and to charge for these services. In keeping with the trend in other states in 2004, the law now contains hefty fines and other sanctions for persons who prey upon immigrants by providing unauthorized legal services.

Read Senate Bill 2548.