An immigration consultant is educated and equipped to assist someone throughout the process of applying to immigrate, become a citizen, or acquire a resident visa. There are several different levels of immigration consultants. Depending on the country and its immigration process and requirements, the responsibilities and abilities of a consultant vary.
In some countries, an immigration consultant may have a background in law and can represent a client in court. Other times, they may simply have ample experience in the field. The latter type of immigration consultant may be able to answer questions about the immigration, visa, and citizenship processes for a specific country. They may also be able to assist in filling out and completing documents, and provide translation services during an examination or for needed documents.
Immigration consultants may specialize in specific situations including familial immigration or refugee status. It is possible to meet with an immigration consultant at an immigration center to discuss immigration status and personal situations, and have questions answered. Consultants may also be hired to assist a client throughout the entire immigration process.
The most important consideration is the country a client is immigrating to and the role of immigration consultants within that society. Immigration is a sensitive issue and is very susceptible to scams that prey on unknowledgeable customers. Many immigration consultants can be found through referrals from friend, family members, or immigrations centers to assist clients with paperwork, preparations, translations, or other preparatory tasks. Universities and schools are also an excellent resource, as they frequently assist students and faculty through the immigration process. Before hiring a consultant, many clients ask whether the consultant has a current background check available or has any type of government clearance.
Licensed and practicing immigration lawyers can assist clients in a court of law. In most cases, only a licensed lawyer is allowed to represent a client in a court of law or give legal advice. A local immigration or naturalization department may be able to provide a list of qualified consultants and lawyers in the area.
Non-profit agencies sometimes have a staff member that can assist as a immigration consultant. These agencies may also have a licensed immigration lawyer on staff or working as a volunteer. Private companies of immigration consultants also exist and can be hired for assistance throughout the process. Conducting a thorough investigation of the credentials and background of a potential immigration consultant often results in better outcomes for the client.