Immigration lawyers (also sometimes referred to as immigration attorneys) must have a doctorate of jurisprudence (JD), which is a 3-year degree when completed as a full-time law student. They also need to pass a bar exam. And they will likely be required to travel to other countries as well. They may be in private practice or work as part of an international law firm. And they may also practice is smaller firms located in cities with high immigrant populations.
What do immigration lawyers in the United States do? They have several tasks, especially at the Canadian and Mexican borders, but also at our Atlantic and Pacific shores, some of which are handling various aspects of United States citizenship, admission and deportation of immigrants (illegal or those who have committed criminal or other acts warranting expulsion from the US), issuing temporary citizenship to those who desire or need it (i.e. asylum for political, religious or other reasons), and the naturalization process of immigrants who wish to become United States citizens.
Immigration Lawyers can also be responsible for working with legal immigration issues and clients with difficulties in the permanent residency process, such as acquiring a Green Card or those seeking to obtain student or business visas, or help those who have overstayed their visas.
And of course Immigration lawyers, being the immigration law experts that they are, provide immigrants with legal counsel on topics such as lawful entry into the country, employment issues for recent immigrants, and laws pertaining to immigrants (temporary and permanent).
Immigration lawyers need to excel at working with many different kinds of people from nearly any country in the world, speak multiple languages, and understand other cultures and religions. Heartbreakingly, some immigrants much be turned down for citizenship request due to not meeting legal requirements, or uncover human trafficking, while reuniting long lost families and having the joy of seeing loved ones brought together after many years and hard work to get back together.
Immigration lawyers also work with US citizens on various issues, such as helping replace lost passports, helping families adopt children abroad, and helping persons with non-citizen spouses to help their family member enter the country. And in this post-911 era we live in, they also often work with local and federal courts, as well as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and Department of Homeland Security.