Can An Immigration Lawyer Practice In Any State?

Immigration and State Law

Typically, immigration lawyers just need to be licensed in one state but can practice immigration law in states other than the one they are licensed in, or even while in a country besides the United States. 

Federal Immigration Law

The Department of Homeland Security is the federal agency that administers and regulates immigration law in the United States. Federal courts are divided into 13 circuits based on region and while an immigration lawyer needs to adhere to the different circuits’ differences and interpretations of immigration law, as long as they possess a valid license to practice law in one or more states in the U.S., immigration lawyers can typically help people with their immigration issues in any state. As well, they are not limited to only being able to practice immigration law in the state they are licensed in. 

Immigration authorities recognize and accept representation by lawyers who are licensed to practice law in states that are different than the one that their own office is located, and regardless of which state the office or immigration court the immigration applicant will be interacting with, is located. Many immigration lawyers do not practice in the state that they are licensed in and even if they do, they often help clients that are located in states other than the one that they are in.

Immigration Authority

Immigration authorities must follow their local circuit court’s interpretations of immigration law. The different circuits may interpret and administer everyday administrative matters, as well as issues such as deportation and other removal proceedings, differently than other circuits do. Because of this, as well as other matters that may affect an individual’s immigration issues, such as state crimes, it is often recommended that people seeking immigration help hire a lawyer who is experienced with successfully defending immigration rights in the state and circuit that their immigration case will be tried. When it comes to criminal matters, if an immigration lawyer that is licensed to defend the immigration rights of their client is not licensed in the state where their client was charged or convicted of a crime is responsible, they will likely enlist the help of an attorney that is to be a consultant for their client’s case.

Immigration Lawyer Qualifications

Even though the qualifications for an immigration lawyer may seem more relaxed compared to that of a lawyer that practices other kinds of civil or criminal law, it is important to make sure that an immigration lawyer you are thinking of hiring to help you with your immigration needs, is in fact qualified to do so. 

Regardless of where, an immigration lawyer must be licensed by at least one state bar association, and they must be in good standing with it (and any other state bar associations they have membership for). If an immigration lawyer does not have a law degree from an accredited U.S. law school and has not passed at least one state’s bar, they are not qualified to represent a client in immigration matters. If you are in need of an immigration lawyer, it is important to make sure that they are licensed to be able to legally protect your rights.

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