Colorado Notary Law, Immigration Services
Colorado notary laws related to immigration services changed on June 10, 2016. Colorado House Bill HB 16-1391 became effective. It defines a list of deceptive trade practices in immigration services in CRS 6-1-727 and amends notary laws in CRS 12-55-110.3.
Legal advice or legal services on immigration matters, provided by a person who is not authorized as a licensed attorney or under federal law, are considered unauthorized practice of law (UPL) and also a deceptive trade practice.
Deceptive Trade Practices
In CRS 6-1-727, legal services which constitute a deceptive trade practice in an immigration matter include:
(a) advising or assisting another person in a determination of the person’s legal or illegal status for the purpose of an immigration matter;
(b) for the purpose of applying for a benefit, visa, or program related to an immigration matter, selecting for another person, assisting another person in selecting, or advising another person in selecting a benefit, visa, or program;
(c) selecting for another person, assisting another person in selecting, or advising another person in selecting his or her answers on a government agency form or document related to an immigration matter;
(d) preparing documents for, or otherwise representing the interests of, another person in a judicial or administrative proceeding in an immigration matter;
(e) explaining, advising, or otherwise interpreting the meaning or intent of a question on a government agency form in an immigration matter;
(f) demanding or accepting advance payment for the future performance of services in an immigration matter, especially with regard to services to be performed if a pending or future act of Congress or executive order that concerns immigration reform is made effective; or
(g) selecting, drafting, or completing a legal document affecting the legal rights of another person in an immigration matter.
A person who is not authorized to perform legal immigration services commits a deceptive trade practice if he or she represents, in any language, either orally or written, that
(a) he or she is a notario publico, immigration assistant, immigration consultant, immigration specialist, or other title that conveys or implies that he or she possesses legal skill or expertise in immigration law, or
(b) he or she can or is willing to provide services in an immigration matter, if such services would constitute the practice of law.
The law lists several permitted non-legal services a non-attorney may provide in an immigration matter:
(a) offering or providing language translation or typing services, regardless of whether compensation is sought;
(b) securing or offering to secure existing documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, for a person seeking services; or
(c) offering other immigration-related services that:
(i) are not prohibited under the new law, CRS Section 12-55-110.3, or any other provision of law; and
(ii) do not constitute the practice of law.
Foreign Language Disclaimer Required
CRS 12-55-110.3(1)(a) requires a notary public, who advertises in a foreign language (other than English), to add the following words to the prescribed notice currently in statute, both in English and the foreign language of the advertisement:
“I am not an immigration consultant, nor am I an expert on immigration matters. If you suspect fraud, you may contact the Colorado Attorney General’s office or the Colorado Supreme Court.”
Under CRS 12-55-110.3(3)(b)(VI), a Colorado notary public is prohibited from engaging in a deceptive trade practice listed in CRS 6-1-726.
About 15% of the people in Colorado can speak a foreign language. Spanish is the most common, followed by German, French, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Italian, Polish, Tagalog and Arabic. Navajo is the most common Native American language.