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Immigration Service Providers — the ISBA Explains What They Can Do

Question:  I recently moved to Illinois from South America and want to remain here permanently. Can an immigration service provider handle all of my legal matters such as getting me a “green card” work permit? Answer:  Immigration service providers are limited in what they can offer. An immigration lawyer, on the other hand, can tell you which forms are needed in your case, fill them out on your behalf, and file and serve your legal papers. Immigrants should be aware that U.S. notaries are not lawyers, unlike notaries in some countries, and therefore cannot provide legal advice on immigration issues. Some immigrants have been victimized by scam artists who use the “notary” title to obtain upfront fees, then provide no service.     For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to   Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit