The main role of immigration attorneys is to provide counsel and advice to immigrants and foreign nationals who are subject to U.S. immigration law. Immigration attorneys offer legal advice and assistance for matters including green cards, visa applications, immigration visas, immigration laws, adjudications, Removal proceedings, and alternative dispute resolutions, to name a few. In order to become an immigration attorney, a person must first attain a graduate degree in a related field. The type of degree program an individual goes into depends on the type of degree, he or she hopes to major in. After obtaining an education, a person can pursue a career as an immigration lawyer.
One of the many requirements needed to pursue this profession is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. Some states require that individuals seek a visa application and approval before beginning their studies. Some states also require graduates to obtain a Juris Doctor law degree as well in order to practice immigration law. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree may also be required to fulfill other prerequisites, which include: completion of a high school diploma; completion of AP courses in math, history, English, chemistry, biology, and psychology; participation in community service; completion of college courses in computer science, philosophy, and sociology.
There are certain specific tasks, as well, that all immigration lawyers must perform. First, an immigration lawyer must research the applicable federal immigration laws, as well as federal regulations that govern employers who hire foreign workers. Every worker hired by a U.S. employer must be authorized by the company to work in the country. An immigration lawyer will be required to gather information on all aspects of the immigration laws, as well as any regulations related to the hiring of the worker.
Second, these lawyers work with clients to compile a case concerning their employment status. This means that they must file paperwork with the Labor & Employment Office, as well as assisting with discovery requests. Lawyers who represent immigrants generally collect all of the documentation related to the employment-based status of their clients, including pay stubs, pay stubs, documentation about taxes (if necessary), and proof of residence. Lawyers who work with immigrants also prepare statements for clients that detail how much they earn, any financial assets, property owned, tax returns, travel expenses paid, and any other relevant information needed to determine their legal status in the United States.
Third, an immigration lawyer represents clients that are seeking either a green card or a visa to immigrate to the United States. A green card is a temporary visa that can be used for many purposes, including travel abroad. When it comes to visa applications, however, an immigration lawyer is required to gather more information on visa requirements by filing visa petitions with the State Department. If an applicant wishes to work in the United States legally by applying for a visa, they must first apply for an immigrant visa, which is a different process than a green card. The visas granted are usually longer-term than green cards, sometimes lasting up to five years
Finally, an immigration lawyer represents clients who are applying for either an employment-based or non-employment-based visa. Employment-based visas, which include H-1B, J-1, L-1, and LPR-2 visas, are designed to allow immigrants to work in specific fields in the United States for a specific period of time. Non-employment-based visas, such as work permits and green cards, are designed to allow individuals to work in the United States without obtaining a social security number, by entering into an employment contract with an employer who is either located in the United States or has workshops offshore. It is important to note that, unlike green cards and visas, the consular officers at the U.S. consulate abroad do not have the authority to enforce immigration laws or settle immigration issues.
When choosing an immigration lawyer, you need to ensure that they are familiar with immigration law and are able to assist you with your chosen application. There are several ways of obtaining legal advice when applying for one of these visas. The quickest and easiest way is to utilize the services of a local attorney. While hiring a local attorney can be slightly more expensive than using the internet, it is also the most convenient and can save you time and money in the long run.
Immigration lawyers may be required to take CLE courses in law school or obtain pre-licensing hours. CLE courses are a requirement for many state bar associations and are a highly recommended prerequisite for all lawyers who hope to sit for the state bar exam. Attorneys who have CLE courses can help their clients obtain the pre-licensing exam much easier if their client has failed the test before.