Who Needs to Submit Form G-28 With an Immigration Application?

Form G-28 is used only to indicate a lawyer's representation in an immigration case.

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Form G-28, issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is used for the sole purpose of indicating that a particular attorney, accredited representative, or law student working under an attorney’s supervision is handling the case of an applicant for immigration benefits or relief.

If you are a noncitizen submitting an immigration-related application or are in removal proceedings and you do not have an attorney, you do not need to submit a Form G-28.

If you hire an attorney for help with your immigration case, you should expect him or her to ask you to sign a Form G-28. And if you do not intend to hire that attorney as your representative for immigration matters, you should absolutely refuse to sign this form! If you switch attorneys, the new one will submit a G-28 in your case, and this will automatically substitute for the old attorney’s G-28.

Once you sign Form G-28, the attorney is authorized to access your immigration file and to send and receive correspondence from U.S. immigration authorities on your behalf. (Your immigration file is confidential, so people outside the U.S. government can view it only with your consent.)

Having an attorney receive such correspondence in your case can be very handy, in that the attorney most likely has a stable address and a good system for tracking your case, and will immediately understand the significance of any letter that arrives. For example, if USCIS sends a letter asking for additional documentation, the attorney can figure out why USCIS believes that information is lacking, and help you figure out what will satisfy it in time for the USCIS deadline.

In many situations, you will receive a copy of whatever original document the attorney receives from the U.S. government concerning your case. For example, if you submit a Form I-130 visa petition to sponsor a family member for U.S. lawful permanent residence (a green card), versions of the USCIS approval notice should come to both you and your attorney.

Nevertheless, there may be times when the attorney receives a notification that you do not – particularly if you change addresses and forget to tell anyone. And even if you do the right thing and notify your attorney and the immigration authorities, the U.S. government sometimes loses these notifications and continues sending correspondence to old addresses regardless. In other words, it’s good to have your attorney as a backup recipient of U.S. government correspondence.

by: , J.D.

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