Public Act 094-0238
SB0233 Enrolled LRB094 05072 RXD 36490 b

    AN ACT concerning business.
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
    Section 5. The Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business
Practices Act is amended by changing Section 2AA as follows:
    (815 ILCS 505/2AA)
    Sec. 2AA. Immigration services.
    (a) "Immigration matter" means any proceeding, filing, or
action affecting the nonimmigrant, immigrant or citizenship
status of any person that arises under immigration and
naturalization law, executive order or presidential
proclamation of the United States or any foreign country, or
that arises under action of the United States Citizenship and
Immigration Services, the United States Department of Labor, or
the United States Department of State.
    "Immigration assistance service" means any information or
action provided or offered to customers or prospective
customers related to immigration matters, excluding legal
advice, recommending a specific course of legal action, or
providing any other assistance that requires legal analysis,
legal judgment, or interpretation of the law.
    "Compensation" means money, property, services, promise of
payment, or anything else of value.
    "Employed by" means that a person is on the payroll of the
employer and the employer deducts from the employee's paycheck
social security and withholding taxes, or receives
compensation from the employer on a commission basis or as an
independent contractor.
    "Reasonable costs" means actual costs or, if actual costs
cannot be calculated, reasonably estimated costs of such things
as photocopying, telephone calls, document requests, and
filing fees for immigration forms, and other nominal costs
incidental to assistance in an immigration matter.
    (a-1) The General Assembly finds and declares that private
individuals who assist persons with immigration matters have a
significant impact on the ability of their clients to reside
and work within the United States and to establish and maintain
stable families and business relationships. The General
Assembly further finds that that assistance and its impact also
have a significant effect on the cultural, social, and economic
life of the State of Illinois and thereby substantially affect
the public interest. It is the intent of the General Assembly
to establish rules of practice and conduct for those
individuals to promote honesty and fair dealing with residents
and to preserve public confidence.
    (a-5) The following persons are exempt from this Section,
provided they prove the exemption by a preponderance of the
        (1) An attorney licensed to practice law in any state
    or territory of the United States, or of any foreign
    country when authorized by the Illinois Supreme Court, to
    the extent the attorney renders immigration assistance
    service in the course of his or her practice as an
        (2) A legal intern, as described by the rules of the
    Illinois Supreme Court, employed by and under the direct
    supervision of a licensed attorney and rendering
    immigration assistance service in the course of the
    intern's employment.
        (3) A not-for-profit organization recognized by the
    Board of Immigration Appeals under 8 C.F.R. 292.2(a) and
    employees of those organizations accredited under 8 C.F.R.
        (4) Any organization employing or desiring to employ an
    alien or nonimmigrant alien, where the organization, its
    employees or its agents provide advice or assistance in
    immigration matters to alien or nonimmigrant alien
    employees or potential employees without compensation from
    the individuals to whom such advice or assistance is
    Nothing in this Section shall regulate any business to the
extent that such regulation is prohibited or preempted by State
or federal law.
    All other persons providing or offering to provide
immigration assistance service shall be subject to this
    (b) Any person who provides or offers to provide
immigration assistance service may perform only the following
        (1) Completing a government agency form, requested by
    the customer and appropriate to the customer's needs, only
    if the completion of that form does not involve a legal
    judgment for that particular matter.
        (2) Transcribing responses to a government agency form
    which is related to an immigration matter, but not advising
    a customer as to his or her answers on those forms.
        (3) Translating information on forms to a customer and
    translating the customer's answers to questions posed on
    those forms.
        (4) Securing for the customer supporting documents
    currently in existence, such as birth and marriage
    certificates, which may be needed to be submitted with
    government agency forms.
        (5) Translating documents from a foreign language into
        (6) Notarizing signatures on government agency forms,
    if the person performing the service is a notary public of
    the State of Illinois.
        (7) Making referrals, without fee, to attorneys who
    could undertake legal representation for a person in an
    immigration matter.
        (8) Preparing or arranging for the preparation of
    photographs and fingerprints.
        (9) Arranging for the performance of medical testing
    (including X-rays and AIDS tests) and the obtaining of
    reports of such test results.
        (10) Conducting English language and civics courses.
        (11) Other services that the Attorney General
    determines by rule may be appropriately performed by such
    persons in light of the purposes of this Section.
    Fees for a notary public, agency, or any other person who
is not an attorney or an accredited representative filling out
immigration forms shall be limited to the maximum fees set
forth in subsections (a) and (b) of Section 3-104 of the Notary
Public Act (5 ILCS 312/3-104). The maximum fee schedule set
forth in subsections (a) and (b) of Section 3-104 of the Notary
Public Act shall apply to any person that provides or offers to
provide immigration assistance service performing the services
described therein. The Attorney General may promulgate rules
establishing maximum fees that may be charged for any services
not described in that subsection. The maximum fees must be
reasonable in light of the costs of providing those services
and the degree of professional skill required to provide the
    No person subject to this Act shall charge fees directly or
indirectly for referring an individual to an attorney or for
any immigration matter not authorized by this Article, provided
that a person may charge a fee for notarizing documents as
permitted by the Illinois Notary Public Act.
    (c) Any person performing such services shall register with
the Illinois Attorney General and submit verification of
malpractice insurance or of a surety bond.
    (d) Except as provided otherwise in this subsection, before
providing any assistance in an immigration matter a person
shall provide the customer with a written contract that
includes the following:
        (1) An explanation of the services to be performed.
        (2) Identification of all compensation and costs to be
    charged to the customer for the services to be performed.
        (3) A statement that documents submitted in support of
    an application for nonimmigrant, immigrant, or
    naturalization status may not be retained by the person for
    any purpose, including payment of compensation or costs.
    This subsection does not apply to a not-for-profit
organization that provides advice or assistance in immigration
matters to clients without charge beyond a reasonable fee to
reimburse the organization's or clinic's reasonable costs
relating to providing immigration services to that client.
    (e) Any person who provides or offers immigration
assistance service and is not exempted from this Section, shall
post signs at his or her place of business, setting forth
information in English and in every other language in which the
person provides or offers to provide immigration assistance
service. Each language shall be on a separate sign. Signs shall
be posted in a location where the signs will be visible to
customers. Each sign shall be at least 11 inches by 17 inches,
and shall contain the following:
        (1) The statement "I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO
        (2) The statement "I AM NOT ACCREDITED TO REPRESENT YOU
        (3) The fee schedule.
        (4) The statement that "You may cancel any contract
    within 3 working days and get your money back for services
    not performed."
        (5) Additional information the Attorney General may
    require by rule.
    Every person engaged in immigration assistance service who
is not an attorney who advertises immigration assistance
service in a language other than English, whether by radio,
television, signs, pamphlets, newspapers, or other written
communication, with the exception of a single desk plaque,
shall include in the document, advertisement, stationery,
letterhead, business card, or other comparable written
material the following notice in English and the language in
which the written communication appears. This notice shall be
of a conspicuous size, if in writing, and shall state: "I AM
advertisement is by radio or television, the statement may be
modified but must include substantially the same message.
    Any person who provides or offers immigration assistance
service and is not exempted from this Section shall not, in any
document, advertisement, stationery, letterhead, business
card, or other comparable written material, literally
translate from English into another language terms or titles
including, but not limited to, notary public, notary, licensed,
attorney, lawyer, or any other term that implies the person is
an attorney. To illustrate, the words word "notario" and "poder
notarial" are is prohibited under this provision.
    If not subject to penalties under subsection (a) of Section
3-103 of the Notary Public Act (5 ILCS 312/3-103), violations
of this subsection shall result in a fine of $1,000. Violations
shall not preempt or preclude additional appropriate civil or
criminal penalties.
    (f) The written contract shall be in both English and in
the language of the customer.
    (g) A copy of the contract shall be provided to the
customer upon the customer's execution of the contract.
    (h) A customer has the right to rescind a contract within
72 hours after his or her signing of the contract.
    (i) Any documents identified in paragraph (3) of subsection
(c) shall be returned upon demand of the customer.
    (j) No person engaged in providing immigration services who
is not exempted under this Section shall do any of the
        (1) Make any statement that the person can or will
    obtain special favors from or has special influence with
    the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service
    or any other government agency.
        (2) Retain any compensation for service not performed.
        (2.5) Accept payment in exchange for providing legal
    advice or any other assistance that requires legal
    analysis, legal judgment, or interpretation of the law.
        (3) Refuse to return documents supplied by, prepared on
    behalf of, or paid for by the customer upon the request of
    the customer. These documents must be returned upon request
    even if there is a fee dispute between the immigration
    assistant and the customer.
        (4) Represent or advertise, in connection with the
    provision assistance in immigration matters, other titles
    of credentials, including but not limited to "notary
    public" or "immigration consultant," that could cause a
    customer to believe that the person possesses special
    professional skills or is authorized to provide advice on
    an immigration matter; provided that a notary public
    appointed by the Illinois Secretary of State may use the
    term "notary public" if the use is accompanied by the
    statement that the person is not an attorney; the term
    "notary public" may not be translated to another language;
    for example "notario" is prohibited.
        (5) Provide legal advice, recommend a specific course
    of legal action, or provide any other assistance that
    requires legal analysis, legal judgment, or interpretation
    of the law.
        (6) Make any misrepresentation of false statement,
    directly or indirectly, to influence, persuade, or induce
    (k) (Blank)
    (l) (Blank)
    (m) Any person who violates any provision of this Section,
or the rules and regulations issued under this Section, shall
be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a
Class 3 felony for a second or subsequent offense committed
within 5 years of a previous conviction for the same offense.
    Upon his own information or upon the complaint of any
person, the Attorney General or any State's Attorney, or a
municipality with a population of more than 1,000,000, may
maintain an action for injunctive relief and also seek a civil
penalty not exceeding $50,000 in the circuit court against any
person who violates any provision of this Section. These
remedies are in addition to, and not in substitution for, other
available remedies.
    If the Attorney General or any State's Attorney or a
municipality with a population of more than 1,000,000 fails to
bring an action as provided under this Section any person may
file a civil action to enforce the provisions of this Article
and maintain an action for injunctive relief, for compensatory
damages to recover prohibited fees, or for such additional
relief as may be appropriate to deter, prevent, or compensate
for the violation. In order to deter violations of this
Section, courts shall not require a showing of the traditional
elements for equitable relief. A prevailing plaintiff may be
awarded 3 times the prohibited fees or a minimum of $1,000 in
punitive damages, attorney's fees, and costs of bringing an
action under this Section. It is the express intention of the
General Assembly that remedies for violation of this Section be
    (n) No unit of local government, including any home rule
unit, shall have the authority to regulate immigration
assistance services unless such regulations are at least as
stringent as those contained in this amendatory Act of 1992. It
is declared to be the law of this State, pursuant to paragraph
(i) of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution of
1970, that this amendatory Act of 1992 is a limitation on the
authority of a home rule unit to exercise powers concurrently
with the State. The limitations of this Section do not apply to
a home rule unit that has, prior to the effective date of this
amendatory Act, adopted an ordinance regulating immigration
assistance services.
    (o) This Section is severable under Section 1.31 of the
Statute on Statutes.
    (p) The Attorney General shall issue rules not inconsistent
with this Section for the implementation, administration, and
enforcement of this Section by January 1, 1995. The rules may
provide for the following:
        (1) The content, print size, and print style of the
    signs required under subsection (e). Print sizes and styles
    may vary from language to language.
        (2) Standard forms for use in the administration of
    this Section.
        (3) Any additional requirements deemed necessary.
(Source: P.A. 93-1001, eff. 8-23-04.)
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 7/14/2005