Immigration Law Training Programs and Requirements

Immigration law programs prepare students to work with clients seeking stay in a country where they don't possess citizenship, as they learn about issues related to the subject, such as naturalization and extradition.

Essential Information

In order to practice in the United States, immigration lawyers must earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree with a concentration in the specialty from an accredited program. Coursework in these programs covers dispute resolution, legal research, contracts, ethics and interviews. The immigration-based classes discuss immigrant rights, political asylum, extradition, visa processes, naturalization and deportation. Direct experience is gained through research projects and internships in clinics and firms. Enrollees must pass comprehensive examinations to graduate. The admissions process is very competitive; applicants must have a bachelor's degree and superb Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores.

  • Program Fields: Juris Doctor (J.D.)
  • Prerequisites: A bachelor's degree and stellar standardized exam scores
  • Program Specializations: Options include immigration law
  • Other Requirements: Completion of a research thesis or dissertation, comprehensive exams and an internship for graduation

Continuing Education

All practicing lawyers have to be licensed by their respective states by passing the bar examination and often the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). The MPRE is required as part of the bar exam in 48 states and other U.S. districts. Immigration lawyers complete a varying number of continuing education hours in order to maintain state licensure. Many workshops are available through law associations, government agencies and employers to keep legal counselors up-to-date on the latest legal changes and case law issues. Immigration law training is continuous in order for attorneys to do their best work. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) sponsors an annual national conference, along with regular regional meetings by individual chapters. Members of AILA receive business management support, current news alerts, research resources and networking opportunities. Additionally, numerous publications are readily available.

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