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How to Become an Immigration Consultant in California

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An immigration consultant is an individual who helps potential immigrants complete their paperwork correctly. While a good immigration consultant is an expert in the field of immigration, he is not an attorney and therefore cannot perform all of the tasks of a properly-licensed attorney. In exchange for this more limited service, an immigration consultant will usually be considerably more affordable than a licensed attorney. In California, almost anyone is eligible to call himself an immigration consultant. However, the state does require immigration consultants to follow certain procedures and regulations.

Get fingerprinted. As part of the background check necessary for all immigration consultant applicants in California, you must go to a Live Scan location. Complete the Request for Live Scan Service, bring identification to the site and pay the fingerprinting processing fee of $51. Live Scan may charge an additional fingerprint processing fee that you must pay. Submit the copy of the Request for Live Scan Service to the California Secretary of State.

Obtain a surety bond. California immigration consultants must be bonded in the amount of $50,000. Various service providers can offer you a bond, which typically costs between 1 percent and 3 percent of the face value of the bond, or $500 to $1,500. If you have bad credit, you may be unable to find a company to bond you, and those that will may require a higher fee.

Complete the Immigration Consultant Disclosure form. This simple form essentially requests your identifying information, such as name, address and date of birth.

Provide a copy of your current, valid identification. Acceptable forms of identification by the State of California include an ID card or driver's license issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, a passport issued by the U.S. Department of State or an ID card issued by any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Take a two-inch by two-inch passport photo.

Pay a $30 filing fee.


After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA, John Csiszar earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served 18 years as an investment adviser. Csiszar has served as a technical writer for various financial firms and has extensive experience writing for online publications.