Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘G28’

13th November 2009

In a previous post the issue of the G-28 Notice of Attorney Appearance was discussed. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service had changed the form in order to update its contents to more accurately convey information regarding the exact nature of an attorney’s representation of a client before the various agencies under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. Recently, this author has learned through the American Immigration Lawyers Association that USCIS will continue to accept the old form and will not reject an application simply for utilizing the previous form. To quote USCIS through AILA:

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the previous version of the Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative (Form G-28) will be accepted until further notice… On Oct. 1, 2009, USCIS announced the publication of a new Form G-28 and provided a 30-day grace period, until Oct. 30, for accepting previous versions at the USCIS Lockbox facilities or USCIS Service Centers. USCIS encourages attorneys and accredited representatives to use the new Form G-28, however, USCIS will not reject filings of the previous Form G-28 version until further notice. This will allow law students who represent immigrants to use the previous form until changes can be made to the form to accommodate their unique situation.”

As stated previously, the submission of a G-28 puts the United States government (in the form of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Cutoms and Border Protection, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) on notice that an attorney has officially entered their appearance in the case.

Also a G-28 is an effective way of determining if one is dealing with an actual attorney or simply working with a “visa company,” “visa agency,” or phony unlicensed “lawyer.” Unless the government is willing to correspond directly with one’s attorney it may be wise to seek representation elsewhere because this is an integral component of the Immigration attorney-client relationship.

Each and every US Embassy or US Consulate is under the jurisdiction of the US Department of State and not the Department of Homland Security. Therefore, a G-28 has no bearing on these organs of government, but the US Embassy will correspond with an attorney in matters pertaining to a visa application if the attorney is licensed to practice in the USA. That being said, generally the Embassies and Consulates will not deal with unlicensed so-called “lawyers,” and as a result, such an individual can be of little assistance in processing US visa applications.

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5th October 2009

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service adjudicates many applications for US Immigration benefits. As a result, they deal with a large number of government forms. A form that is quite familiar to United States Immigration Attorneys is known as the G28. The G28 is the form which puts the United States government on notice that a licensed attorney has entered his or her appearance in the case. According to recent statements from USCIS, the current G28 is to be phased out and replaced by a new version.

According to a recent government press release:

“USCIS will provide a 30-day grace period for the Form G-28, until Oct. 30, so that Forms G-28 currently in the mail will be considered valid when received at the USCIS Lockbox facility or USCIS Service Center. After Oct. 30, any prior versions of the Form G-28 that are received will be considered invalid. All Forms G-28 filed before Oct. 30, will be honored for previously filed cases as long as the Forms G-28 were properly completed by an eligible attorney or accredited representative. The new Form G-28 is not required for receiving updates or interviews unless a new attorney is representing the applicant.”

Usage of form G28 is a method of detecting whether one is dealing with a licensed attorney as opposed to a “visa agent” “visa consultant” or an out and out fraud claiming to be an “immigration lawyer”. The G28 can be useful for weeding out impostors because it requires that the attorney provide his or her state of license. Other forms in a visa application will likely require the attorney’s license number. Although there are some refugee and other non-profit agencies entitled to represent clients before USCIS, these groups are not allowed to profit from said representation. Therefore, the only paid representative that will be recognized by USCIS for matters in the USA is an attorney licensed in a United States jurisdiction.

For those who are not licensed to practice law in the United States, filing a G28 on behalf of another could be construed as the unauthorized practice of law due to the rule that only attorneys are qualified to represent clients before the Immigration service for profit.

The grace period mentioned in the quote above means that at the time of this writing there are approximately 25 days left to use the old G28 form. Bearing this in mind, it may be better to simply begin using the new form as soon as possible in order to forestall a rejection of the form due to expiration.

For more information please see K1 visa application

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18th June 2009

Hiring an Immigration attorney is a decision that each couple makes based upon their unique set of circumstances and that decision should be made after careful review and research. That being said, when the decision is made that a US visa lawyer is necessary,  sometimes couples are unwittingly duped into hiring a non-licensed “immigration consultant” or “visa agent.” In even worse situations, the couple believes that they are actually retaining the services of a licensed lawyer when in fact they are dealing with someone who has never completed formal legal training or been licensed to practice law.

Form G-28 is a required form that must be submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) when the initial visa application is sent to the USCIS Service Center. Basically, the G-28 puts the United States government officers working at USCIS on notice that an attorney will be representing the petitioner, beneficiary, or (more common in family base cases) both parties. Further, the US Embassy in Bangkok will currently allow attorney’s to present 221g follow up documentation provided a G-28 form has been signed by the Beneficiary and the attorney can produce credentials showing that they are in fact licensed to practice law in at least one United States jurisdiction.

One of the convenient aspects of hiring an attorney from the point of view of the United States Citizen petitioner and the Thai fiancee Beneficiary is the fact that once the attorney enters his or her appearance, then most, if not all correspondence, will be sent to the attorney’s office.

Also, the G-28 acts as a litmus test to determine if the person or organization one is dealing with is an actual attorney or law firm. USCIS has made regulations which stipulate that only attorneys and non-profit organizations are allowed to represent clients in United States Immigration matters. With regard to non-profit organization, these types of institutions are defined as those like the Red Cross or other non-governmental refugee organizations. In circumstances where a “representative” is used who is not a licensed attorney, USCIS has stated that the representative must take little or nothing with regard toa fee. This provision seems truly to have been designed with organizations assisting indigent refugees in mind.

On the G-28 form, the attorney, petitioner, and beneficiary will need to affix their signatures. The attorney will also place his or her state of licensure on the form. In the case of the K-1 visa application, the attorney will also place his or her G-28 number on the form I-129f.

For further information please see:

K1 Visa

K3 Visa

(Please be on Notice: this piece is not intended to be regarded as a substitute for legal advice. Please seek legal advice from a licensed attorney. This post creates no lawyer-client relationship between the parties writing or reading it.)

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