Though it's rare, you may need a foreign lawyer to represent you in a case involving the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) abroad. In these instances, you’ll need to submit a completed Form G-281 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This article explains what Form G-281 and how the U.S. government uses it, who can file it, and how to complete it.
Written by Jonathan Petts.
Updated July 11, 2022
What Is USCIS Form G-28I?
Form G-28I is officially titled the Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney in Matters Outside the Geographical Confines of the United States. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) evaluates this form. USCIS is an agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
If you have an attorney who practices law outside of the United States, they can use Form G-28I to notify USCIS that they want to represent you before DHS. Typically, USCIS permits this representation when your immigration case involves events that occurred outside of the United States. If USCIS approves your Form G-28I, your attorney may continue representing you.
Is Form G-28I the Same as Form G-28?
Form G-28I and Form G-28 have similar form numbers, but they are for different types of attorneys. Form G-28 is the Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative. U.S.-based attorneys and accredited representatives must file Form G-28 when appearing before a DHS office. Foreign attorneys must file Form G-28I instead.
Who Can File Form G-28I?
Form G-28I is for foreign attorneys licensed outside the United States. Form G-28I makes your foreign attorney eligible to represent you in a proceeding outside the geographical confines of the United States. In other words, your case should involve immigration matters that occurred outside of the United States. Many prospective immigrants file petitions outside of the United States. Sometimes, these applicants will need an attorney’s help for their petition or application. Applicants may feel more comfortable hiring an attorney from their home country to help.
To file Form G-28I, your foreign attorney must be in good standing in their home country’s court of general jurisdiction. The Department of Homeland Security official who your attorney will appear before must also give their permission. Your DHS official will have the final say on whether a foreign attorney can represent you.
How To Complete Form G-28I
Form G-28I has six parts. Your attorney must complete the form in legible, black ink. If you plan on working with a foreign attorney, they should reference the USCIS instructions on completing Form G-28I. The U.S. government does not charge a filing fee for Form G-28I.
Part 1 asks for information about the foreign attorney. The attorney must provide their USCIS online account number if they have one. They must also give their full name, address, and contact information, such as their telephone number and email address.
Part 2 asks about the foreign attorney’s eligibility information. The attorney must indicate they are licensed to practice in their home country. They must provide their licensing authority and license number if they have one. They’ll also need to indicate whether they’re in good standing and associated with any law firm or organization.
Part 3 asks questions about immigration case matters. The attorney must indicate whether the case is with USCIS, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Then, the attorney should provide basic information about the client or authorized signatory. This information can include the client’s name, USCIS online account number, Alien Registration Number (A-Number), contact information, and mailing address.
Part 4 requires the client to consent to the representation. The client must sign and date the form to show that they approve of their foreign attorney.
Part 5 requires the signature of the attorney.
Finally, Part 6 provides space for the filer to provide any additional information they did not have room for earlier in the form.
Additional Considerations With Form G-28I
The Department of Homeland Security may exercise discretion when deciding whether to allow your foreign attorney to represent you. Without DHS approval, your foreign attorney cannot represent you. You and your attorney should carefully complete Form G-28I as accurately as possible. Failing to provide a valid signature or to use the most recent form edition can lead to rejection. If rejected, you’ll need to find new representation approved by DHS.
You and your attorney should never use Form G-28I to request records under the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act. If you are interested in requesting these records, review the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations instead.
You (the applicant, petitioner, beneficiary, derivative, or respondent) or your attorney have the authority to withdraw Form G-28I. To do so, you must submit a written request to the DHS office overseeing the case and state your intention to withdraw your form and move forward without representation. Alternatively, you can submit a new Form G-28I indicating your new attorney. This new form will override your original form.
If you are an immigrant caught up in a foreign matter, you and your attorney must resolve the issue. Resolving this specific matter will help you retain your eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits and status adjustments, like eventually getting a green card. Applying for a green card can be complicated, but working with a good immigration attorney can make it easier.
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