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Notary Bulletin

State Laws Related To Notaries and Immigration

Immigration-docs-resized.jpgUpdated 9-18-18. To curb immigration-related fraud, many states have laws in place strictly regulating how Notaries and immigration consultants may advertise and provide their services. Below are some examples of state-specific statutes affecting Notaries and immigration policy. Information on other states is available through the NNA’s Notary Law Updates database by entering “notario” or “immigration” in the search field.

ARIZONA: Nonattorney Notaries who advertise in a foreign language must post a notice in both English and the foreign language that the Notary is not an attorney. Notaries who are not attorneys are prohibited from the unauthorized practice of immigration and nationality law for pay (ARS 41-329). Some examples of unauthorized practice of immigration law include providing unauthorized legal advice on immigration matters or representing a client in an immigration proceeding without proper authorization (ARS 12-2701). Notaries may have their commissions revoked or suspended for advertising that misleads customers about the Notary’s duties and authority (ARS 41-330[A][5]).

CALIFORNIA: No person who advertises as an immigration expert or counselor is permitted to also advertise as a Notary Public (GC 8223[a]). A nonattorney Notary who advertises in a foreign language must post disclaimers in English and the foreign language stating the Notary is not an attorney and may not give legal advice, along with a schedule of the fees the Notary is allowed to charge by law. They are also prohibited from using the Spanish term “Notario Publico” or “Notario” in writing or orally (GC 8219.5[a] and [c]). A nonattorney Notary must be registered and bonded as an immigration consultant in order to enter information provided by a client on immigration forms (GC 8223[b] and [c]).

FLORIDA: Nonattorney Notaries who advertise in a foreign language must post a notice in both English and the foreign language that the Notary is not an attorney and may not translate “Notary Public” literally in foreign language advertising (FS 117.05[10]-[11]).

NEW YORK: Nonattorney Notaries who advertise in a foreign language must post a notice in both English and the other language that the Notary is not an attorney. Nonattorney Notaries may not use advertising that states or implies the Notary is an attorney (EL 135-b).

TEXAS: Nonattorney Notaries who advertise in a foreign language must post a notice in both English and the foreign language that the Notary is not an attorney. Nonattorney Notaries may not use the term “Notario” or “Notario Publico” in advertising (GC 406.17) and may not advertise as immigration consultants or immigration service providers (1 TAC 87.11).

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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19 Comments

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David Weisbaum

20 Oct 2015

I am Director of Index Department, Illinois Secretary of State. Please refer to our statutes: 5 ILCS 312/3-103 which addresses immigration, 'notario publico', and other consumer protections.

Peta-Gay N Simmonds-Carroo

28 Jul 2017

I need clarification on Texas laws regarding the preparation of immigration forms. I am a Paralegal and also a notary. Am I allowed to fill out immigration forms for the public as long as I identify myself and clearly state that I am not allowed to give legal advice? If I am allowed to perform such clerical services, how do advertise such services on my business card or future website?

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2017

Hello. Texas law prohibits nonattorney Notaries from advertising as immigration consultants or immigration service providers. For more information, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/10/state-laws-notaries-immigration

Bebe Bralley

26 Mar 2018

I would like to kow whre to get more information of notaries for immigration --is there a complete booklet with guidelines --or information

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2018

Hello. The NNA offers an online course on immigration forms. For more information please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/immigration

Ashley Allen

28 Mar 2018

I am a Notary Public in Pennsylvania. I've read that simply having a Notary Commission does not authorize a Notary to act as an immigration consultant or expert on immigration matters; however, I cannot find anywhere that clearly defines Immigration Consultant and Immigration Forms Specialist according to my state.

Christopher Greene

04 Oct 2018

Thank you for this information Update I look forward to working as a NNA member

Josephine Nichols

17 Nov 2018

What is the law for New Jersey, as a immigration notary.

National Notary Association

19 Nov 2018

Hello. Please see the information for New Jersey in this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/immigration/knowledge-center/state-immigration-consulting-rules

paulvallejr@gmail.com

01 Feb 2021

As a Texas Notary, is it worth taking the Immigration Form Specialist training since I guess Texas Notaries are not allowed to fill out the forms and charge a fee?

National Notary Association

01 Feb 2021

Hello. In Texas, Notaries are prohibited from advertising as an immigration specialist or consultant. For more information, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/immigration/knowledge-center/state-immigration-consulting-rules

Donald R. McDole

30 Mar 2021

Are Notaries in Idaho allowed to perform work as an Immigration Forms Specialist?

National Notary Association

01 Apr 2021

Hello. We are not aware of any restrictions in your state. Idaho does not have laws or rules that specifically authorize, or specifically prohibit, non-legal immigration services such as immigration forms help. Please see here for a list of states that have rules and restrictions: https://www.nationalnotary.org/immigration/knowledge-center/state-immigration-consulting-rules For more FAQs, please visit: https://www.nationalnotary.org/immigration/knowledge-center/immigration-forms-specialist-faq

Andrea

11 Jun 2021

As a Maryland notary is there a different fee that immigration form specialist would charge for this service?

National Notary Association

01 Jul 2021

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

T Adams

21 Aug 2021

If I am a notary in Texas, can I become a Immigration Specialist in another state? Since Texas does not allow non attorneys assisting?

National Notary Association

29 Sep 2021

Hello. Yes, becoming an Immigration Specialist does not require that a person have a Notary Public commission. Check the state rules and regulations to see if there is any special requirements to become an Immigration Specialist.

Rosario Centore

12 Sep 2021

Hi, I live in Florida, I'm a Notary, the questions are 1) can I fill out the immigration form, specifying to my client that I am not a lawyer and I cannot give legal advice? 2) can I advertise that I provide a filling of Immigration form? Please answer the questions separately Thank you

National Notary Association

20 Sep 2021

Hello. Regarding your first question, We are not aware of any restrictions in your state. Florida does not have laws or rules that specifically authorize, or specifically prohibit, non-legal immigration services such as immigration forms help. Please see here for a list of states that have rules and restrictions: https://www.nationalnotary.org/immigration/knowledge-center/state-immigration-consulting-rules For more FAQs, please visit: https://www.nationalnotary.org/immigration/knowledge-center/immigration-forms-specialist-faq. Regarding your second question, a Florida Notary Public who is not an attorney who advertises the services of a Notary Public in a language other than English, whether by radio, television, signs, pamphlets, newspapers, or other written communication, with the exception of a single desk plaque, shall post or otherwise include with the advertisement a notice in English and in the language used for the advertisement. The notice shall be of a conspicuous size, if in writing, and shall state: ‘I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA, AND I MAY NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR ACCEPT FEES FOR LEGAL ADVICE.’ If the advertisement is by radio or television, the statement may be modified but must include substantially the same message” (FS 117.05[10]). “Literal translation of the phrase “Notary Public” into a language other than English is prohibited in an advertisement for notarial services” (FS 117.05[11]).

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