Immigration Lawyer. If you have a passion for assisting people, enjoy mastering intricate aspects of the law, are motivated to work closely with your clients, fight for their rights, and have the capacity to speak or learn a second language in addition to English, as well as having an interest in different cultures, you should consider a career as an immigration lawyer.
As an immigration lawyer, you’ll guide people through a complicated process filled with pitfalls and slim margins for error. In addition to helping families and individuals immigrate to the U.S., you may also defend them against deportation.
What Is an Immigration Lawyer?
An immigration lawyer is a legally qualified representative that you can hire to help you with your immigration case. They can also be called solicitors. Advisors or caseworkers. Immigration law is incredibly complex, and they can give you legal advice and practical action to take, help you assemble evidence, and write your application. For example, ensuring an individual has the correct visa to exit or enter the country.
What Do Immigration Lawyers Do Daily?
Your day-to-day life as an immigration attorney may vary depending on the organization you are working for and the practice areas you focus on. Common activities that many immigration lawyers may partake in include:
Negotiating With Government Agencies
Negotiation skills are crucial for speaking on your client’s behalf. Also helping them get past obstacles as they go through the process of applying to gain entry into the country.
Researching And Analyzing
In addition to researching and analyzing the law, immigration lawyers must also gather information, data, and evidence and analyze and present it in a way that will make a compelling case for their clients.
Meeting With Clients
Immigration lawyers often have a lot of client contact and get to know their clients well, which can be very satisfying. You may interview new clients, provide advice and counsel to current clients in person or on the phone, and make appearances with your clients before administrative judges.
Knowing, Interpreting, And Applying the Law
Immigration policy changes frequently, especially when there is a new administration in the White House. When there are new policies, changes in laws and regulations follow. As an immigration attorney, you’ll need to stay on top of all the changes, be aware of those that will help your clients, and come up with strategies to deal with those that won’t.
Guiding Clients Through the Process of Applying for Visas and Green Cards
Applicants for visas and green cards must file applications, where even small errors can delay or destroy their chances. As an immigration lawyer, you will ensure that everything is completed correctly and filed on time, giving your clients a better chance at success than they would have been able to achieve on their own. Immigration attorneys also work with clients whose applications have been denied, filing appeals or reapplications when possible.
Working With Unaccompanied Minors
Some immigration lawyers work with children or youths under the age of 18 who have come to the U.S. unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. These children face an uphill battle to gain asylum or special immigrant juvenile status. Being represented by a lawyer significantly improves their chances.
Clients seek the help of immigration lawyers when they have problems they are unable to solve on their own. As an immigration lawyer, you’ll need to draw on your knowledge, experience, and creative problem-solving skills every day to give your clients the help they need.
Helping Clients Avoid Deportation
If you defend clients against deportation, you will be involved in a high-stakes, fast-paced fight to help your client remain in the U.S. This will call on many different skills, including representing your clients in immigration court.
Helping DACA Applicants
Immigration lawyers may help Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. by their undocumented parents when they were children, remain in the U.S. by guiding them through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process.
Reasons To Seek the Help of An Immigration Lawyer
If any of the following descriptions apply to you, it will be worth your while to seek legal advice from an immigration lawyer.
. If you have attempted the process on your own and cannot figure out what to do next. The immigration process is notoriously complicated, and many people hire lawyers because they have reached the limit of their patience. It is often better to hire a lawyer rather than improvise and cause unnecessary delays in your immigration process.
. If you are getting a visa or green card based on an employment offer but your prospective employer has not offered to handle the immigration process. The process of getting a visa or green card based on employment offers is complicated. Failure to follow procedures correctly can result in lengthy delays and even denials.
. You might consider getting an immigration lawyer if you divorced your first U.S. spouse before the condition was removed from your permanent residence and are now seeking to adjust your status based on marriage to another U.S. citizen. In many cases, proving that your first marriage was not a show will be difficult.
. You should hire an immigration lawyer if you have committed or been convicted of any crime. Most USCIS forms ask whether you have committed or been convicted of a crime, and remember that you will be fingerprinted if you want to immigrate. While not all crimes create a barrier to immigration, if you don’t tell the truth on your immigration forms, you risk deportation.
. If you have been deported or otherwise forced to leave the United States. Not all removals from the United States will result in a permanent ban on immigration.
. If you have filed your immigration forms and have been waiting an unreasonable amount of time for a response. A well-established immigration lawyer will have relationships with USCIS staff that can push for a timely determination of the status of your application.
Pros Of Being an Immigration Lawyer
If you’re interested in a legal career, there are many reasons to consider becoming an immigration lawyer. Reviewing some advantages of this profession can help you decide whether to pursue a career in immigration law. Here are some advantages to being an immigration lawyer:
Advancing Your Career
Gaining experience as an immigration lawyer can help prepare you for various career advancement options. Many immigration lawyers become faculty members at universities to teach students about the various aspects of immigration law. Others advance in the legal industry to become immigration judges, which allows them to make citizenship decisions on behalf of individuals.
Some immigration lawyers choose to go into politics as legislative assistants for elected officials, while others may run for political office themselves.
Working in this profession can introduce you to many people from different countries who want to immigrate to the U.S. While representing someone in court or helping them navigate the citizenship process, you work closely with those individuals and learn more about their beliefs, culture, and customs. In this way, working as an immigration lawyer can help you broaden your worldview, understand others’ points of view, and develop more empathy for people.
Often, immigration lawyers help their clients through important transitions in their lives. For example, they can help a foreign citizen apply for citizenship in the U.S. to improve their livelihood. These lawyers can also defend the rights of immigrants to ensure they’re treated fairly and assist people who want to come to the U.S. to work or study. As an immigration lawyer, your work could have a profound impact on many people, which can help you find fulfillment in this job.
Learning Different Areas of Law
Immigration law often intersects with various other areas of the law, such as criminal, business, and family law. As an immigration lawyer, you may conduct research and become knowledgeable about many of these areas to help you successfully defend or represent a client. This continued development can be a benefit to the profession for those who enjoy learning new skills and broadening their knowledge. It can also help you continue to find intellectual stimulation in your job.
Opening A Practice
While there are many employment opportunities for immigration lawyers, many of these professionals choose to open their own practices, especially after they’ve gained some experience in the field. These entrepreneurial opportunities can be attractive options for professionals who want to choose their clients and establish their work hours. Immigration lawyers with their practice can also set billable rates, which means they may have a higher earning potential than others in the industry.
Cons Of Being an Immigration Lawyer
While there are many benefits to a career in immigration law. It is also important to understand some of the challenges of working in this area. Comparing these drawbacks with the benefits of the profession can help you determine whether it’s the right career for you. Here are some cons to being an immigration lawyer:
Frequently Changing Laws
Immigration lawyers are responsible for staying updated on changes to immigration law, which can evolve rapidly. They research new and updated laws by reading new articles, researching other cases, and speaking with others who work in immigration law. Many immigration lawyers choose to take continuing education classes so they can strengthen their knowledge of the law and do their jobs effectively.
In addition to their responsibilities to their clients, immigration lawyers often spend a lot of time staying informed about changing laws.
Immigration lawyers often represent clients who are going through difficult times in their lives. They may work with people who feel scared or nervous about the prospect of being removed from the country or frustrated with lengthy and complex immigration processes.
Some lawyers may put increased pressure on themselves to represent their clients in a way that results in a positive outcome for them, which can lead them to feel stressed and overwhelmed with their work.
The Long Path to Employment
Becoming a practicing immigration lawyer can take many years. The educational requirements for these positions typically include a four-year undergraduate degree in a related area, such as political science or international studies, and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, which usually takes three years to complete.
After completing law school, some aspiring immigration lawyers work as associates at law firms to gain experience, while others offer their legal services for free to help them build a client base and reputation. Because the path to employment as an immigration lawyer can be long, it requires self-discipline and internal motivation.
Though immigration lawyers can make lucrative salaries, they often make less than lawyers who specialize in other areas of the law. On average, immigration lawyers make $69,505 per year. In comparison, a corporate lawyer who represents businesses in areas such as tax law makes an average salary of $142,018 per year. Many immigration lawyers can increase their annual salaries as they gain experience in the field, and they can also have a higher earning potential if they open their own practice.
More Job Requirements
Compared with other types of lawyers, there may be additional job requirements for those working in immigration law. Some employers prefer to hire immigration lawyers who also have experience in other areas of law, such as civil law. In addition, because these lawyers often represent clients who live outside of the U.S., some employers may require immigration lawyers to speak multiple languages so they can communicate effectively.
These increased job requirements can make it more difficult for some lawyers to find jobs in the field, particularly at the beginning of their careers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need An OISC-Accredited Immigration Lawyer?
It is very important to work with a professionally accredited immigration lawyer to ensure you are getting the best advice possible for your case. The OISC is the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, which regulates all immigration advisors. All Immigration Advice Service lawyers are accredited by the OISC, which means they are legally required to provide accurate, professional advice in the best interest of the client.
Who Employs Immigration Lawyers?
Immigration lawyers have many choices for where and how they will practice. Choosing the right option that best meets your interests and goals is essential. Options include working for:
. Governmental agencies
. Private law firms
. Non-profit organizations