An attorney representing a non-citizen in immigration-related legal matters, such as applications, appeals, benefits, etc., within US borders or before the US DHS (Department of Homeland Security), must file Form G-28, an official immigration document.
The form ascertains that the particular lawyer is an accredited representative. The form is filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as a notice of entry or appearance of the legal representative named in the document.
The form is filed when an accredited immigration representative seeks help from a non-citizen. USCIS must acknowledge that the attorney is representing the client. The form is typically filled out and signed by the attorney before being submitted to USCIS.
Different categories of people can act as representatives. This includes:
- A lawyer
- Social services representative
- Representative of a charitable organization
- Law student under a lawyer’s supervision, or
- A member of any other entity or institution whose domain is to help individuals with such matters.
To represent the non-citizen, however, the representative must first receive permission from the Board of Immigration Appeals.
The form authorizes the representative to access the client’s files and send and receive immigration-related correspondence from the USCIS on the client’s behalf. This way, the attorney can better assess the client’s case and guide them on how to handle it. In addition, the form gives the attorney permission to represent the non-citizen before any immigration authorities and offices, such as the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
This article will look into how this form establishes the eligibility of an immigration representative and how to complete it appropriately.
Fillable Form G-28
Who May Need Form G-28
The purpose of the attestation is to authorize the representative to represent the non-citizen in any formal and official proceedings involving the non-citizen under the relevant immigration laws and rules.
Since multiple parties can operate in this capacity, this form can be used by different parties, including:
Attorneys and accredited representatives
Attorneys and accredited representatives can use the form if they are to represent a client in the capacity outlined under 8 CFR parts 1.2 and 1292. 8 CFR parts 103.2(a)(3) and 292.1(a)(1) direct that the attorney should complete the form when their personal appearance or signature signifies representation. Part 1292 stipulates that if an attorney or accredited representative is authorized or qualified to represent the non-citizen individual or entity, they should complete and sign the form.
Any attorney or accredited representative handling the case at the request of another attorney or accredited representative who had previously filed this form is subject to the terms of this clause. However, in this circumstance, the initial attorney or accredited representative continues to act as the client’s official representative, and all correspondence will continue to be addressed to them.
Law students and graduates
Law students and recent graduates are only qualified to serve as representatives under certain circumstances. A law student or recent graduate who is not yet licensed to practice law can be eligible to use this form as long as they are representing the client under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney or accredited representative. Moreover, DHS will typically require law students and graduates to prove their eligibility and make an appearance before a DHS official accompanied by their supervising attorney.
As per 8 CFR 292.1(a)(2), the law student or graduate ought to complete Part 2 – Item Numbers 4.a. and 4.b., of the same form completed by their direct supervisor. Once completed, the law student or graduate should sign Part 5. – Item Numbers 2.a – 2.b of the form.
Legal representatives who have not been licensed to practice law within the US can use this form to represent individuals in matters outside the U.S. that are being handled by DHS offices located outside the U.S. Such representation should be done with the permission of DHS.
Other individuals who want to represent non-citizens are required to be reputable individuals. As such, they must get consent from DHS and satisfy the definition of a reputable individual as stipulated under 8 CFR 292.1(a)(3) to be eligible. Thus, they cannot use this form as a notice of entry or an appearance as a legal representative.
How to Complete Form G-28
Form g-28 should be submitted along with other documents in the case made by the non-citizen. The document must be signed by both the legal representative and the client. The signatures must be handwritten; scans or photocopies of the form are not accepted.
Below is a cohesive guide for appropriately completing the said form.
Part 1: Attorney or accredited representative’s information
The form has different sections that ought to hold specific, precise information to aid with the application or appeal. The first part of the document deals with the USCIS Online account number and personal information of the filing attorney or accredited representative.
All applicants who previously submitted an online or paper-based notice of entry or appearance with the USCIS were given this number. If the previous application was online, the account number could be located on the profile page of the attorney’s or accredited representative’s online account. If the previous application was paper-based, the online account number can be found at the top of the USCIS Online Account Access Notice.
The USCIS online account number should not be confused with the Alien Registration Number. Secondly, the attorney or accredited representative should include their full name, mailing address, and contact details such as phone number, email, etc.
Part 2: Eligibility details of the attorney or representative
The next section ascertains the attorney’s or accredited representative’s eligibility to represent the applicant. Since it is the attorney who will be completing the document, they are required to declare that they are licensed to practice law in good standing in “all states, possessions, territories, commonwealths, or the District of Columbia” (as applicable) by indicating the licensing authority (part 2. 1.a) and providing their bar numbers (part 2.1.b).
Any additional information regarding the licensing authority can be provided in Part 6. This is for all attorneys licensed to practice law within the United States. The form can outline the bar numbers for all jurisdictions in which the attorney is licensed to practice law. Attorneys are also required to disclose if they are under suspension, restraint, disbarring, or any other restriction in their practice in part 2.1.c.
The attorney should indicate the name of the law firm or organization in Part 2.1.d, if applicable. Any other information in this regard should be provided in Part 6, Additional Information.
Accredited representatives ought to complete Part 2, sections 2.a to 2.c. They should indicate that they are appearing as accredited representatives by selecting (2.a), providing the name of the recognized organization they represent in (2.b), and the date of accreditation in (2.c).
If an individual is appearing on behalf of another attorney or accredited representative, they are expected to complete Part 2. 3 to prove their eligibility. They should state the name of the attorney or accredited representative they are standing in for a limited time at the request of the original representative. In such cases, the form should be submitted in person.
Law students and graduates who represent non-citizens in immigration matters are also expected to prove their eligibility for this role by completing Part 2. 4.a and 4.b and Part 5. 2.a and 2.b. The law student or graduate must first select (4.a) and indicate their name in (4.b). They should provide their signature under Part 5.2.a and the date of signing in 2.b. The law student or graduate must complete, as directed, the same form filed by their supervisor.
No g-28 form can be accepted if Part 2 1.a.-1.d. or 2.a.-2.c has not been completed with the appropriate information.
Part 3: Notice of appearance as an attorney and client’s information
Part 3 of the form indicates which institution the case will be tabled before, that is, either the USCIS (section 1), ICE (section 2), or CBP (section 3), and the client’s personal details and contact information. Parts (a) indicate the institution and parts (b) indicate the specific matter at hand or a list of the form numbers being filed with the form. Part 3. (4) should indicate the receipt number, and Part 3. (5) should indicate the client type. The options are applicant, petitioner, beneficiary/derivative, requestor, or respondent (ICE, CBP).
Part 3.6.a. to 6.c should indicate the personal information of the client, that is, the full name. If the client is an entity, their information should be provided in 7.a., which indicates the name of the entity, while 7.b. indicates the title of the signatory of the specified entity. Section 8 should provide the client’s USCIS online account number, if applicable, while Section 9 should indicate the client’s Alien Registration Number if any.
The client’s contact details (daytime telephone number, mobile telephone number, and email address) should be provided in Sections 10, 11, and 12, respectively. In addition, the mailing address of the client should be provided. It should include the street number and name, building, city/town, state, ZIP code, province, postal code, and country. This information should be entered in sections 13.a through 13.h of the form.
Part 4: Client’s consent to representation and signatures
The government requires clients to sign a form indicating their consent to representation and access to information. Parts 4.1.a. and 1.b. allow the attorney or accredited representative to receive original notices and secure identity documents such as the Permanent Resident Card from the USCIS while sending copies to the client.
However, clients can receive notices containing Form 1-94, Arrival-Departure Record, at their desired US mailing address if Item Number 1.c. is selected.
USCIS does not accept private, commercial, or business mailing addresses in a foreign country.
However, attorneys licensed to practice law outside the U.S. can provide their U.S. business address in this section, and it would be acceptable.Additionally, foreign addresses are accepted as well as a designated APO (Army/Air Post Office), FPO (Fleet Post Office), and DPO (Diplomatic Post Office).
Item Numbers 2.a and 2.b of Part 4 should provide the signature of the client or authorized signatory of the entity and the date of signing, respectively.
The legal guardian should sign this section for clients aged 14 or older or who are mentally incompetent.
The attorney or accredited representative should then fill out Part 5 as directed, and Part 6, if needed.
Things to Consider
US citizenship and immigration are the responsibility of the government. The government issues rules, policies, and regulations for immigration procedures. However, it is up to the attorney or accredited representative to ensure these regulations are complied with when handling an immigration case.
The things that ought to be considered include:
- The form must be properly signed. The USCIS expects “wet” signatures. That means it does not accept stamped or typewritten names as substitutes for signatures.
- The USCIS accepts photocopied, scanned or faxed copies of the original handwritten, ink signatures as long as they are of the original form g-28.
- Attorneys or accredited representatives are given options on how to obtain the form. They can download it from the official website of USCIS or request one to be mailed to them by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. For text telephone TTY mode, individuals can use 1-800-767-1833.
- All applicable sections of the form ought to be filled as directed and in black ink. The information must also be legible. Except for signatures, typing and printing are permitted.
- All representatives appearing to represent a non-citizen on immigration matters are expected to abide by the guidelines of Professional Conduct for Practitioners under 8 CFR 292.3.
- Attorneys and accredited representatives are not allowed to use the form to access information protected under the Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act, Title 5 USC sections 552 and 552a. Such information can only be accessed through 6 CFR 5 and the USCIS website.
- Each immigration case requires a separate form – one cannot be used for different cases or applications.
- Form g-28 should not be confused with form e-28, which is used when appearing before a US immigration court.
- Only the original form can be submitted; copies are not accepted, whether scanned, faxed, or photocopied.
- Representatives are allowed to withdraw their services as long as they do so in writing by requesting the DHS to grant their withdrawal.
- Always check for the latest version of the form before completing and submitting it
- It is the representative’s duty to complete the form; the client is only expected to sign the completed form.
- For all employment-related matters, an employment authorization application must be submitted along with the form.
Frequently Asked Questions
USCIS requires attorneys, accredited representatives, and any other person or group who appears for an applicant before USCIS to submit this form. Thus, it is not needed if the applicant is not using representation.
The form can be filed at any of the USCIS district offices. However, the form must be signed after completion before being sent to the USCIS. Depending on the case, it can be filed with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) port of entry locations and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The USCIS does not charge for this form. The form is downloadable for free at the official USCIS website and can be submitted online at no cost.
The form was revised in 2015, and the following changes were implemented. The revised form allowed clients to request that correspondence be sent directly to their representative if they so desired. It also contained a clause allowing the representative access to the client’s additional paperwork, such as travel documents. You should check the options that apply to your situation from the form.