Use this information to avoid common immigration scams. If you suspect you are a victim of immigration fraud, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission or your state consumer protection office.
Look out for individuals who pose as USCIS officials. USCIS will only contact you through official government channels and will not contact you through your personal social media accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
Look out for individuals who attempt to contact you online or through your social media accounts to offer to be your supporter or connect you to a supporter in exchange for your information, a fee, or other form of compensation. Supporters should be able to provide financial support to beneficiaries for up to a 2-year period of parole. Beneficiaries are not obligated to repay, reimburse, work for, serve, marry, or otherwise compensate their supporter in exchange for the potential supporter submitting Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support, on their behalf or for providing financial support while they are in the United States. Find more information on potential exploitation and abuse in the Understand Your Rights (PDF) guide.
We began accepting applications under Uniting for Ukraine in April 2022. We have received reports of email phishing scams targeting potential participants in Uniting for Ukraine. The scams are urging supporters to pay a fee before USCIS reviews their Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support.
We do not charge a fee for the filing of a Form I-134A.
Beware of denial letters with typos and other signs of not being official USCIS correspondence.
Please note that beneficiaries under the processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans are not obligated to repay, reimburse, work for, serve, marry, or otherwise compensate their supporter in exchange for the supporter filing Form I-134A, on their behalf or for providing financial support while they are in the United States.
Access to these processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans is free. Neither the supporter nor the beneficiary is required to pay the U.S. government a fee for any part of this process. Beware of any scams or potential exploitation by anyone who asks for money associated with applying under this process. DHS recommends the following actions:
- Avoid individuals who promise to “get you to the United States quickly” if you pay a large sum of money;
- Keep your passport and other identity documents in your possession at all times; and
- If you are concerned that the individual who filed Form I-134A on your behalf is not a legitimate organization or entity or legal representative, see our Scams, Fraud, and Misconduct webpage.
See more information about the Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans.
Anyone who is forced or coerced, through fear or lies, to perform labor, services, or sexual acts, is a victim of human trafficking. If you have seen or experienced this type of abuse, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. Learn more about human trafficking through the Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign.
Beware of individuals asking for personal information. Our Information for Afghan Nationals webpage offers complete information on what you need to do as a parolee. When reviewing an email, always remember:
- We do not routinely send emails to inform you that we have approved you for a diversity visa, immigrant visa, nonimmigrant visa, or any other type of immigration benefit, except in certain situations; for example, USCIS may email you from a uscis.gov email address to prompt you to update your physical address.
- Email addresses from the U.S. government always end in (.gov). Always check the sender information to make sure it ends in (.gov);
- At the top of all USCIS websites, there is a message and image of a U.S. flag to let you know the website is an official government website; and
- Identity theft can occur if your personal information such as Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or social security card is delivered to an old or incorrect address. If you did not receive an EAD that USCIS mailed, submit an inquiry on non-delivery of a card. If you suspect you have been a victim of social security fraud, visit the Social Security: Fraud Prevention and Reporting | SSA website.
USCIS will never ask you to transfer money to an individual or pay fees other than through your myUSCIS account. You can verify the myUSCIS account is an official USCIS government account because the web address will end in “.gov.” Read the Payments by Phone or Email section below.
Beware of companies offering a job in the United States from overseas or by email. If you receive a suspicious job offer by email before you leave your country to come to the United States, it may be a scam, especially if you are asked to pay money to receive a job offer. If you see a job offer on social media, make sure the company is legitimate before sharing any of your personal information.
Even if a job offer is legitimate, you are not allowed to work in the United States unless you have a Green Card, an EAD, or an employment-related visa that allows you to work for a particular employer. Read the Working in the U.S. page.
If you are already in the United States on a student visa, talk with your foreign student advisor (designated school official) at your school before you take any job. If you are about to graduate and are applying for Optional Practical Training, read the instructions on the Working in the U.S. page.
Do not pay for or submit any form until USCIS publishes a Federal Register notice with official TPS re-registration information for your country. Stay updated at our TPS webpage.
Social media pages, email offers, and websites that claim to be affiliated with USCIS may be impersonating USCIS. Make sure the website or email address ends with .gov. USCIS social media are: Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
We will never ask you to transfer money to an individual. We do not accept Western Union, MoneyGram, PayPal, Venmo, or gift cards as payment for immigration fees. In addition, we will never ask you to pay fees to a person on the phone or by email. You can pay some immigration fees online, but only if you pay through your USCIS online account and Pay.gov.
Remember, you can learn more on our Paying USCIS Fees page.
In many Latin American countries, the term “notario público” (which is Spanish for “notary public”) means something different from what it means in the United States. In many Spanish-speaking nations, “notarios” are powerful attorneys with special legal credentials. In the United States, however, notary publics are people authorized by state governments to witness the signing of important documents and to administer oaths, but are not necessarily authorized to provide legal services. A notario público is not authorized to provide you with any legal services related to immigration. Only an attorney or an accredited representative working for a Department of Justice (DOJ)-recognized organization can give you legal advice. Beware of individuals who pose as immigration attorneys (such as unlicensed or disbarred attorneys). For more information, go to the Department of Justice’s websites:
We do not manage the Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Program. The U.S. Department of State (State Department) manages the DV Program, also known as the visa lottery.
Visit the State Department’s DV website to learn more about the program, the requirements to enter, and how they notify selectees. Remember that the DV Program is free, and the State Department will never send you an email about being selected. For more information on the process if you are selected, visit the Diversity Visa page for those selected.
If you are an international student outside of the United States and want to come to the United States for education, make sure you are applying to an accredited college or university.
You must have a Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, to travel. After you are accepted into a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school, a designated school official will give you either:
- Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status –For Academic and Language Students; or
- Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status –For Vocational Students.
Schools that are not accredited cannot sponsor you for an F-1 student visa.
For more information on studying in the United States as an international student, please see the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Study in the States webpage.
If you are a student who have received a threatening call or intimidating messages over social media to try to extort money or impersonating as USCIS, contact your student officials at your school. Also, if you are being misled into believing the place where you are applying may be a fake university in order to illegally extort money, please see Scams Targeting International Students Are on the Rise page on the Department of Homeland Security’s website.
Sometimes businesses and websites pretend to be immigration experts or say they have special connections to the government. They might also “guarantee” that you can get a visa, Green Card, or work permit faster if you pay a fee. Remember, only USCIS can determine whether to expedite processing. Visit our Check Case Processing Times webpage for current processing times.
For employment-based petitions, we have premium processing times posted for Forms I-129 and Form I-140.
- We have learned that employers have received scam emails requesting Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, information that appear to come from USCIS. Employers are not required to submit Forms I-9 to USCIS. Employers must have a Form I-9 for every person on their payroll who is required to complete Form I-9. Employers must keep these forms for a certain length of time. Visit I-9 Central to learn more about retention, storage, and inspections for Form I-9.
- Although some email addresses might look legitimate, example: firstname.lastname@example.org, they are, in fact, a scam. The body of the email may contain USCIS and Office of the Inspector General labels, your address, and a fraudulent download button that links to a non-government web address (uscis-online.org). Do not respond to these emails or click the links in them.
- If you believe that you received a scam email requesting Form I-9 information from USCIS, report it to the Federal Trade Commission. If you are not sure if it is a scam, forward the suspicious email to the USCIS webmaster. We will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies as appropriate. Reporting fraud will not negatively affect your application.
If you receive a suspicious email, forward it to us at USCIS.Webmaster@uscis.dhs.gov.