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Board Certified Immigration Attorneys in California

California Bar Board of Legal Specialization

At Lawyer Legion, we recognize the importance of board certification programs. These programs provide a powerful tool when the public begins their search for an immigration attorney in California. In California, the board certification for immigration and nationality law is awarded by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Only California attorneys board certified in immigration law can advertise or identify themselves as "certified specialists" or "board certified" in California for that field.

The Standards for board certification in immigration and nationality law in California must be read in conjunction with the rules governing the State Bar of California Program for Certifying Legal Specialists, which govern the program requirements.

For purposes of California's board certification program, the term "Immigration and Nationality Law" is defined as the practice of law dealing with matters arising under and related to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended (Title 8 U.S. Code), and other laws and regulations dealing with immigration and naturalization.

Requirements for Certification in Immigration Law in California

An immigration attorney in California must demonstrate that he or she has been substantially involved in the practice of immigration law. For the program, a prima facie showing of substantial involvement in the area of immigration and nationality law is made by the performance of certain specified number and types of activities including:

  • Application for immigrant and non-immigrant status;
  • Non-immigrant visa petitions or applications, or non-immigrant waivers including ancillary applications such as labor condition applications;
  • Labor certifications;
  • Hearings before immigration judges for individual hearings on the merits of an application for relief or a non-frivolous motion to terminate;
  • Contested removal, deportation or exclusion hearings or rescission proceedings before immigration judges;
  • Naturalization or Nationality cases;
  • Administrative Appellate Practice including judicial review of immigration proceedings in the federal courts which can include Writ of Mandamus, Petition for Review, Petition for Declaration of Judgment, or Habeas Corpus;
  • State Department or Consular Practice;
  • Immigration consequences of mergers, reorganizations, downsizing and other business or employment changes;
  • Motions, writs or pleas in criminal cases relating to collateral immigration consequences in federal or state courts, Bond or custody proceedings;
  • Immigrant visa petitions, applications, or immigrant waivers;
  • Refugee or asylum applications; and
  • Immigration-related enforcement proceedings other than immigration court.

Requirements for Immigration Specialist in California

An immigration attorney in California must show that he or she has completed not less than 45 hours of educational activities specifically approved for immigration and nationality law, including:

  • Citizenship and Naturalization (minimum of 4 hours required)
    • acquisition and loss of citizenship
    • derivation
    • naturalization
  • Non-Immigrant Visas (minimum of 8 hours required)
    • change of non-immigrant status and all categories of non-immigrant visas
  • Immigrant Visas (minimum of 15 hours required) -
    • labor certification;
    • adjustment of status;
    • grounds for exclusion and waivers;
    • special immigrants;
    • relative preference categories;
    • immediate relatives;
    • registry and consular procedures;
    • legalization;
  • Administrative and Judicial Review (minimum of 6 hours required)
    • appeals to an appellate body of the Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Labor;
    • motions to reopen;
    • motions for reconsideration.
    • The subject matter of Judicial Review may include: habeas corpus proceedings, appeals to the Court of Appeals, and other district court actions; and
  • Removal/Deportation/Exclusion Procedures (minimum of 12 hours required)
    • immigration and administrative law court procedures and rules;
    • defenses;
    • removal/deportation/exclusion grounds and waivers;
    • arrest and custody procedures;
    • anti-discrimination procedures and defenses; and
    • employer sanctions.

Re-certification for Board Certification in Immigration Law in California

An immigration attorney who has earned the distinction of board certification in California must also apply for re-certification every five years and show that he or she has continued to have direct and substantial participation in the practice of immigration and nationality law.

The task requirements include:

  • direct and substantial participation as the lead attorney in a specified number and type of cases; and
  • completion of a specified number of continuing education classes related to immigration law.

For more information on specialty certification in Immigration Law in California contact the:

California Board of Legal Specialization - Immigration and Nationality Law
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone 415-538-2120

Finding a Board Certified Immigration Attorney in California

The search for a good immigration attorney in California can be a daunting task. At Lawyer Legion, we make that task easier by properly recognizing board-certified attorneys in our online directory.

Use our directory to narrow your search to find only attorneys in California who have earned the important distinction of becoming a certified specialist in immigration law.

This article was last updated on Thursday, December 19, 2019.