Bonded Immigration Consultant in California

How to Become a Bonded Immigration Consultant in California in 5 Easy Steps

If you want to help immigrants navigate the complex process of coming to the United States, becoming a bonded immigration consultant is a great option. But in California, there are specific requirements that you must meet to become an immigration consultant. The good news is that registering as an immigration consultant is relatively simple and can be completed in 5 easy steps, one of which is to obtain your California Immigration Consultant Bond. Read on to learn more about the immigration consultant qualification requirements and the steps you’ll need to take to become a bonded immigration consultant in California.

What is an immigration consultant?

An immigration consultant helps immigrants with the process of emigrating from another country to the United States; This can include helping to fill out paperwork, preparing for interviews, and providing resources and information about the immigration process. An immigration consultant may also perform other services, such as helping immigrants find housing or jobs once they arrive in the United States. However, immigration consultants cannot give out legal advice.

In California, you do not need to be a lawyer or have a special license to become an immigration consultant. Although, you do have to register with the state and obtain a surety bond. As mentioned before, immigration consultants can only give non-legal help. It’s not uncommon for an immigration consultant to translate answers to questions on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forms or to obtain copies of supporting documents. If asked, immigration consultants can also submit the forms to the USCIS.

There are several steps to becoming an immigration consultant in California. We’ll cover those next, but the most important thing to know is that the state requires immigration consultants to be bonded in order to operate.

California Immigration Consultant Steps

Steps to becoming a California immigration consultant

We mentioned earlier that there are only five steps to take to become a bonded immigration consultant in California. Those five steps are as follows:

Step 1: Pass a Background Check

Part of the application process to register as an immigration consultant is to satisfactorily pass a background check conducted by the California Secretary of State. To submit to a background check, you must have your fingerprints taken at a Live Scan location within the state.

Step 2: Obtain a $100,000 California Immigration Consultant Surety Bond

Next, you’ll need to get a surety bond for the correct bond amount. Bonding is often a source of confusion, so we cover this step in more detail below.

Step 3: Complete an Immigration Consultant Disclosure Form

You can fill out the form online, but you will need to print it out and submit a physical copy along with the other required paperwork.

Step 4: Get a Passport Photo Taken

To register as an immigration consultant in California, you’ll need to submit a 2″ x 2″ passport photo with your other paperwork.

Step 5: Submit Your Completed Paperwork to the California Secretary of State

The last step to becoming an immigration consultant in California is to submit all the required documents to the state. Be sure to include:

  • A copy of your current Immigration Consultant Surety Bond.
  • A completed Immigration Consultant Disclosure Form.
  • A copy of your valid and current photo identification. Acceptable forms of photo identification are:

                 -Identification card/driver’s license issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

                -A passport issued by the Department of State of the United States.

                 -An identification card issued by a state other than California.

                 -A driver’s license issued by a state other than California.

  • A passport photo.
  • A $30.00 filing fee (amount as of 2022).
Immigration Consultant Surety Bond

What is an Immigration Consultant Surety Bond?

In very general terms, a surety bond is a three-party contract designed to protect individuals from harm due to the actions or negligence of another party. The Immigration Consultant Surety Bond is a specific bond required by the State of California. Anyone acting within the capacity of an immigration consultant (that is not an attorney), or engaging in the business of immigration consulting, must have an Immigration Consultant Bond.

There are three parties involved in this surety bond:

  1. The principal, or the person who needs to obtain the bond (you),
  2. The obligee, or the entity requiring the bond (the California Secretary of State), and
  3. The surety company, who writes and backs the bond.

Who does the bond protect?

The California Immigration Consultant Bond is not the same as liability insurance. Though the two may seem similar, instead of protecting the consultant (you) like an insurance policy does, this bond protects an individual or group of individuals from loss caused by the actions of an immigration consultant. The bond ensures that California immigration consultants follow the provisions of the California Business and Professions Code.

The Immigration Consultant Bond does this by providing people who utilize the services of immigrant consultants a way to recuperate financial losses or damages that are directly related to the services of that consultant. For example, if an immigration consultant made false statements to a client that injured the client, the bond could provide that client a means to recover financial damages. An Immigration Consultant Surety Bond may also cover losses caused by a consultant’s theft, fraud, or misrepresentation.

If any such loss occurs, the injured party can file a claim against the bond. If the surety company finds the claim valid, the surety would then compensate the injured party up to the bond amount of $100,000. As the principal on the bond, the immigration consultant would be financially responsible for reimbursing the surety company for the claim, plus any applicable fees and legal costs.

Immigration Consultant Bond Cost

How much does an Immigration Consultant Bond cost in California?

The cost of an Immigration Consultant Bond in California depends on several factors, primarily your credit score. The surety will require a soft credit check, which will not harm your credit, to quote your bond.

The bond premium (what you pay) is a percentage of the total bond amount and is generally between 1% and 15% (but it can go higher). With strong credentials and optimal credit, it’s possible your bond premium could start as low as 1% to 1.5% of the bond amount. Even if you have nonstandard credit, we encourage you to apply for your bond anyway. Applying for a quote is free, and at South Coast Surety, we work with multiple sureties to try and find you the best quote available.

Apply for your bond today

Ready to get your California Immigration Consultant Bond? Apply on our website for your free quote today! Or if you have any questions, please call us at 949-361-1692 or email us at apps@southcoastsurety.com.

Key Takeaways

  • To work as an immigration consultant in California, you first need to register with the state and obtain an Immigration Consultant Surety Bond.
  • An Immigration Consultant Bond protects an individual or group of individuals from loss caused by fraudulent or illegal acts committed by an immigration consultant.
  • To become a bonded immigration consultant in California, you must pass a background check, submit an Immigration Consultant Disclosure Form along with a passport photo and photo identification, obtain a $100,000 surety bond, and pay all related fees.
  • Bond premiums are calculated as a percentage of the bond amount based on the applicant’s credit (using a soft credit check).
  • The best way to get an exact quote for your Immigration Consultant Surety Bond is to fill out the short application online. Applying for a quote is free!

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