Six Scams to Avoid In the US Visa Application Process

Fraudsters confuse immigrants by demanding money or personal information in exchange for a visa approval, accelerating the process or providing other benefits

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June 02, 2023 | 11:30 AM

Blomberg Línea — The huge number of migrants trying to legally enter the United States and acquire citizenship not only have to with the strict system and regulations for the visa application, but also must evade scammers who prey on the unsuspecting and needy.

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Such scammers, according to US immigration authorities, mislead immigrants by asking for money or personal information in exchange for visa approval, expedited processing or some other immigration benefit. But they are impostors, as the entire visa application process is subject to the discretion of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

These scammers make their presence known through social networks, emails or phone calls pretending to be government officials and confusing people in order to extract personal information.

Both the USCIS and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued warnings about these fraudulent practices, tweeting warnings in Spanish about people offering orientation to would-be migrants. There are six to which special attention should be paid.

Six fraudulent practices would-be migrants should be wary of:

  1. Scams targeting humanitarian parole beneficiaries (Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans): Beneficiaries of this program are not required to pay anyone to file Form I-134A or for providing financial support while in the United States. Access to this program is free of charge.
  2. The public notary scam: Both the USCIS and the FTC clarify that a notary public in the United States does not have the same meaning as in other countries. In the US, notaries are authorized witnesses for the signing of legal documents, but are not authorized to provide legal services. For this reason, it is recommended that you do not use a notary public for legal assistance or advice in immigration matters. In addition, do not sign blank immigration forms or provide personal documentation at the request of a notary.
  3. Fake social media or web scams: There are fraudulent social media accounts or web pages that claim to be part of the US government in order to deceive people. It is important to know that real US government websites end in “.gov” and if a webpage page asks you to pay to download immigration forms, you are not on a legitimate website, as USCIS forms are free.
  4. Emails: As with fake websites, when a person receives an email, make sure it ends in .gov, which guarantees that it is a USCIS email. Therefore, be wary of addresses that end in .net, .org, .com, .info, and are impersonating a government agency.
  5. False promises: People who claim they can “expedite” an immigration process or “guarantee” an immigration benefit are lying and trying to scam you. No visa or immigration benefit can be guaranteed. Only USCIS determines when to expedite the processing of a case.
  6. Money transfers: Ignore requests for money or fee payments by phone or email. USICS does not accept Western Union, MoneyGram, Paypal, or gift cards as payment for immigration fees, and some immigration fees can be paid online, but only through a USCIS online account and
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