What is an immigration consultant bond?
An immigration consultant bond is a license and permit bond that consultants must obtain to protect their clients from unethical or illegal behavior. It ensures that consultants will abide by state and city laws and regulations. If a consultant financially harms someone they are assisting, the harmed individual may file a claim against the bond to receive compensation for their losses.
Immigration Consultant Definition
Immigration consultants provide services to immigrants seeking legal status in the United States. Depending on the state in which you live, this role could go by different names: immigration assistance provider, immigration service provider, or document preparation service provider.
Due to the sensitive nature of this job, consultants must obtain a surety bond before they can serve legally.
Get Your Immigration Consultant Bond:
- Consultants must obtain an immigration consultant bond to protect their clients from unethical or illegal behavior.
- You may need to maintain this bond throughout your career to remain certified.
- If you break the law by misrepresenting information or committing fraud or another form of misconduct, the bond will offer the harmed party financial compensation.
- Depending on your state, you may need to renew your immigration consultant bond annually or biannually.
Who needs an immigration consultant surety bond?
You may need this bond to become licensed as an immigration consultant or immigration service provider in your state. You might also need to maintain the bond throughout your career to remain certified. Posting this surety bond can give people peace of mind that you are an ethical, reliable, and law-abiding consulting business.
How do immigration consultant bonds work?
An immigration consultant bond is a three-party agreement involving the following entities:
- Principal: The immigration consultant that obtains the bond
- Obligee: The state authority that requires the bond
- Surety: The financial entity that underwrites and issues the bond
This bond does not protect your business but your clients and the state. If you break the law by misrepresenting information or committing fraud or another form of misconduct, the bond will offer the harmed party some protection. They can make a claim on your bond, and if the claim is valid, your surety may settle it for you. You must repay them in full, plus interest and fees.
How much does an immigration consultant bond cost?
The cost will vary based on where you operate your business. It also depends on the bond amount your state requires and the percentage you must pay as your premium.
In California, for example, you may need a $100,000 bond and could pay between 1-10% of that amount annually. Georgia, however, only requires a $5,000 bond. New York falls in between – at $50,000. So if you had to pay 2% of the bonds in each of these states, you’d pay $2,000, $100, and $1,000, respectively.
Other states that may require an immigration consultant or immigration service provider bond include:
Your credit score may also play a role in the percentage you pay, as well as your assets, liquidity, and work experience. If you have excellent credit, you might pay as little as 1% of the bond amount. If your credit score is low, you could pay upwards of 10%.
To become a certified immigration consultant, research the specific requirements in your state. You will likely need to fill out paperwork, obtain a surety bond, and pass a background check. In California, for example, you must submit various materials to the Secretary of State, including a surety bond, an Immigration Consultant Disclosure form, photo identification, and a passport photo.
Depending on your state and how your certification continues, you may need to renew your immigration consultant bond annually or biannually. Before your bond expires, you can submit a new application with your bond provider. The cost may change based on changes to your business and credit score. If your bond is continuous (e.g., in California), you won’t have to refile but must pay your premium on time for it to renew.
If your surety company investigates the claim and deems it valid, it will pay the claimant in full – up to the total bond amount. Then they will come to you to collect the same amount (plus applicable fees and interest). To avoid claims on your bond, settle disputes with your clients as quickly as possible. Or pay for the damages before your surety company must pay for you. A claim against your bond can have negative consequences on your business, finances, credit, and reputation.
Get an Immigration Consultant Bond in Your State
We can help you find the right surety bond for your immigration services business. ZipBonds offers the fastest and most secure option for getting bonded. Our all-digital platform is intuitive and straightforward. Apply online or call us at 888-435-4191 to speak with an agent directly.
Founders Ryan Swalve and Zach Mefferd formed the vision for ZipBonds.com when they realized how overly complicated it was to help clients place surety. The frustration of being unable to incorporate the technology they’d used in other insurance-focused projects left them thinking “there has to be a better way.”
Fast forward a couple of years, and that better way is the impetus of everything we do at ZipBonds. We constantly look for innovative ways to improve the bonding process for our clients and agents. Our team comprises individuals who understand all angles of surety – for companies, agencies, and individuals. Incorporating everyone’s point of view to improve the process while simultaneously integrating cutting-edge technology is what sets our business apart.