NY Assembly 7137


State: New York
Signed: September 21, 2004

Effective: November 01, 2004
Chapter: 463


Assembly 7137 provides for licensure of person offering nonlegal immigration assistance services.


Adds a new Article 28-C to the General Business Law.

  1. Defines an immigration assistance service provider as any person or entity offering immigration services who is not (a) an attorney or person working under supervision of an attorney; (b) a non-profit tax exempt organization that provides immigration assistance without a fee or at a nominal fee;  (c) any organization offering services without a fee or at a reduced fee that is recognized by the federal Board of Immigration Appeals and that provides services via representatives who appear before the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and/or Executive Office for Immigration Review; or (d) an authorized agency under the Social Services Law.
  2. Stipulates that persons providing immigration assistance services execute a written contract drafted in both English and a language the customer understands (if not drafted in English) in 12-point type with certain required elements, including a 3-day rescission option, advertising disclaimer, and a notice that the provider is bonded.
  3. Requires providers to post signs at every location where the provider meets with customers and specifies sign format and content requirements.
  4. Stipulates that a prescribed notice that the provider is not an attorney or accredited by U.S. immigration officials, and may not give legal advice appear in any advertisement.
  5. Lists 10 prohibited acts and classifies a violation of the article as a Class A misdemeanor.
  6. Prohibits use of the title “Notary Public” and other titles to convey the impression that the provider has special expertise or skills in immigration matters; however, a duly commissioned Notary may use the title “Notary Public” in advertising.
  7. Requires providers to retain all documents prepared or obtained in connection with a request for immigration assistance for a period of 3 years.
  8. Requires providers to carry a $50,000 bond or, if total receipts for providing immigration assistance services exceed $250,000 in a 12-month period, carry a bond, contract of indemnity or letter of credit in the principal amount of 20% of such total receipts.

Several states have recently passed legislation outlawing persons who are not attorneys from providing immigration services, but few have actually enacted laws permitting nonattorneys to provide such services. New York’s new regulations are similar to California’s, which allow operation of bonded “immigration consultants.” However, it is not clear whether this new law will give New York immigration assistants any more authority than does California law, which only allows such assistants to perform only secretarial and transcription functions.

Read Assembly 7137.