How to Become an Immigration Lawyer

Once you know how to become an immigration lawyer, you can work in the area of law that focuses on helping non-native-born people interested in living and working in the United States. As an immigration lawyer, you specialize in resolving immigration issues such as citizenship denials cases, obtaining visas and appealing citizenship denials. You are also responsible for assisting clients with immigration paperwork, relocating businesses outside the country and advising clients of the process of becoming U.S. permanent residents or citizens.


  1. Earn a 4-year undergraduate degree at a college or university. A bachelor’s degree is required to enter law school.
    • Pick a major that you’re interested in. There’s no pre-law undergraduate major, so law schools don’t require you to have a certain major to gain admission.
    • Apply and gain admission to your school of choice.
    • Complete degree requirements and take classes such as public speaking, a foreign language, English and political science to obtain a multidisciplinary education.
  2. Prepare for law school.
    • Take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
    • Open a Law School Admission Council (LSAC) account online at and pay any associated fees. The account is how law schools receive most of the details for your law school application.
    • Have documents such as official transcripts and letters of recommendation sent to the LSAC.
    • Apply to law school and gain admission.
    • Take required first-year courses like Constitutional law, property law, legal writing and contracts.
    • Start studying immigration law in your second year.
    • Participate in summer internships at immigration agencies or firms.
    • Join college and professional organizations such as the American Immigration Lawyer Association (AILA) to network with other immigration lawyers and learn more about the specialty.
  3. Graduate from law school with your Juris Doctor (JD) degree.
  4. Pass the state Bar Examination to obtain a state license. The state bar exam is required for any lawyer to practice law.
  5. Work in immigration law.
    • You can work at the immigration law firm or immigration agency you interned at during law school.
    • You can find a job online, through networking or through classified advertisements.
    • You can start your own immigration law practice.


  • Although law schools are typically looking for students who have excellent undergraduate grades, high LSAT scores and work experience, each school places different weight on these factors. Thus, you may gain admission even if you don’t have stellar grades or a high LSAT score.
  • Law schools also place a lot of weight on the amount of volunteer work you do before, during and after you are working on your undergraduate degree.


  • As a law student, you must complete at least 1.5 years of school before declaring immigration law as your major.
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This entry was posted on Monday, September 26th, 2011 at 9:53 pm and is filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.