What is meant by an immigration lawyer?

General Article

Before applying for immigration status, you need to understand the job description of an immigration lawyer. You should also know what type of education you need to become an immigration lawyer and the career path. Besides helping applicants get permanent residency,  an immigration attorney helps them in various ways. In the U.S., they help applicants get visas, apply for citizenship, and settle in the country.

Job duties of an immigration lawyer

Immigration attorneys provide counsel on various aspects of immigration law, handle immigrant and nonimmigrant visa petitions, and analyze critical issues. They also draft complex cases such as appeals, audit responses, and support letters. In addition, immigration attorneys manage client files and follow their progress from the time of origin to the time of final submission. As an immigration lawyer, you will be expected to keep up with the latest immigration news and developments.

While the majority of immigration cases are settled through USCIS, some cases can only be handled by a federal district court. In these cases, the immigration attorney acts as the point of contact between the client and the USCIS. They also help their clients prepare for additional steps, such as converting to citizenship. Alternatively, they will counsel clients on what to do if their applications are rejected. This type of work is considered high-level and requires extensive experience.

The ideal candidate will have a J.D. from a top law school and at least two years of solid business immigration experience. Their experience should include PERM labor certifications, EB-1 and EB-2 applications, and the National Interest Waiver. In addition, they must have good Spanish-speaking skills. Finally, the candidate should have experience with employment-based immigration and be well-versed in legal research, word processing, document databases, and international business.

Education needed to become an immigration lawyer

Becoming an immigration lawyer requires a thorough knowledge of the immigration code and other laws that apply to immigrants and their families. A law school usually requires excellent undergraduate grades, LSAT scores, and work experience. Although law schools may accept students with less-than-stellar grades or LSAT scores, they often give more weight to volunteer work. Regardless of your background, you must be passionate about immigration law to be a successful immigration attorney.

The minimum education to become an immigration attorney is a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Pre-law majors are also available. However, you may also pursue a bachelor’s degree in another field that suits your interests. Foreign languages, writing-intensive courses, and public speaking courses are particularly valuable. You must pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to become a practicing immigration lawyer, regardless of your background.

Immigration lawyers need to have excellent interpersonal skills. They often deal with individuals who have undergone torture, human trafficking, or other forms of trauma. Because of this, they must be able to communicate compassionately. They need to be able to help people understand immigration laws, and they need to hear that their needs are important. In addition to good communication skills, you should be good at public speaking and presenting your case. Moreover, you must be very familiar with the current state of immigration law, as there may be changes in legislation, presidential decrees, or situations like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Career paths for immigration lawyers

If you are interested in immigration law, there are a few career paths for this area of law. A major in the humanities can give you the academic foundation necessary for this field of law. At the same time, a minor in a foreign language can help you gain a competitive edge over your competitors. Immigration law is a diverse field, and it is important to have relevant experience outside the classroom before entering the field. 

An immigration lawyer can work for a private law firm or own their practice. In the former case, you might start as an associate, advance to a partner, or even own your firm. A partner position may open up for you later. Or, you may even decide to become a judge or work for the government in an immigration-related capacity. Regardless of your motivations, it is important to understand this career’s pros and cons before deciding whether this is the right path for you.

In addition to a law degree, an immigration lawyer must complete law school. In most cases, you must earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from law school. In addition, most law schools require that incoming law students take and pass the Law School Admission Test, which requires them to have completed a four-year undergraduate degree. You must then complete general courses in your first year while taking your immigration law classes during the last two years of law school.