There are many people who want to help immigrants obtain permanent residency or citizenship so they can remain in this country. Unfortunately, there are also people who want to take advantage of immigrants and scam them out of their money. Many of these scams revolve around green cards and visas, and it is important to know what they are so that you do not fall prey to them.
Every year the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program, also known as the green card lottery, provides up to 50,000 immigrant visas. Scammers may tell you that they can make it easier for you to enter, or increase your odds of being selected. The Program, however, is a lottery and so, no one can give you a better chance of receiving a visa. Organizations are also not allowed to assist with the process. If someone tells you they can do this for you, then he or she is lying to gain access to your information or in the hopes that you will pay for an illegitimate service.
The green card lottery is not the only service scammers charge money for. There are also many people that state they can help you obtain a work visa, family visa, or any other type of visa in exchange for a fee. These messages appear on websites, email messages, and even letters. Just like the green card lottery, you can only obtain a visa from official U.S. government entities such as the Department of State, a U.S. embassy or consulate, or the Department of Homeland Security.
You may come across a website that offers to process your visa paperwork or enter you into the green card lottery for a fee. Again, there is no fee to enter the lottery and there is only one way to apply. You must apply to the U.S. Department of State’s website during the registration period.
Government forms pertaining to immigration are relatively easy to find and while there are sometimes filing fees, there are no fees to simply obtain the form. Many websites offer these same forms but charge a fee for them. When they do, it is a sure sign that it is a scam.
The best way to avoid immigration scams is to ignore any emails regarding your green card or visa applications that do not come from a “.gov” email address. This extension means the email came directly from a federal agency and is trustworthy. Even when an email does have this extension, always phone the agency directly if you think the email is suspicious.
Lastly, the United States government will never email you to tell you that you have obtained a green card through the lottery. They will also never authorize another company or agency to contact you about your status. Instead, you must check your visa status online.
Those trying to obtain legal residency status face enough obstacles without the worry of scams. If you have been a victim, it is important that you speak to one of our Chicago immigration attorneys at Kriezelman, Burton & Associates. We will advise you of your rights and any potential legal remedies that may be available. We can also help you through the country’s complex immigration system and help you obtain legal residency as soon as possible. Call us today to schedule a confidential meeting with one of our attorneys.
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