Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law

Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law

Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and EducationRule 6-15.1 provides that "[a] lawyer who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar and meets the standards prescribed below may be issued an appropriate certificate identifying the lawyer as "Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law." The purpose of the standards is to identify those lawyers who practice immigration and nationality law and have the special knowledge, skills, and proficiency, as well as the character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism to be properly identified to the public as board certified in immigration and nationality law."

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Definitions for Certification in Immigration and Nationality Law

Rule 6-15.2 provides the following definitions for certification in immigration and nationality law:

(a) Immigration and Nationality Law.

"Immigration and nationality law" is the law dealing with all aspects of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act.

(b) Practice of Law.

The "practice of law" for this area is defined as set out at rule 6-3.5(c)(1).


Minimum Standards for Immigration Law Specialty Certification

Rule 6-15.3 sets out the minimum standards for specialty certification in immigration law in Florida, including:

(a) Minimum Period of Practice.

The applicant must have been engaged in the practice of law for at least 5 years preceding the date of application.

(b) Substantial Involvement.

The applicant must demonstrate to the immigration and nationality certification committee substantial involvement in the practice of immigration and nationality law during the 3 years immediately preceding the date of application. Substantial involvement means that the applicant has devoted 40 percent or more of the applicant's practice to matters in which issues of immigration and nationality law are significant factors and in which the applicant had substantial and direct participation in those issues. Matters in which issues of immigration and nationality law are significant factors include, but are not limited to:

(1) the representation of clients before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and/or Customs and Border Patrol and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement through either the preparation of petitions and applications for immigration benefits and discretionary relief or the appearance as counsel at deferred inspections, adjustment of status, and other interviews;

(2) the representation of clients before the Executive Office for Immigration Review during exclusion, deportation, removal, asylum only, bond proceedings, and appeals;

(3) the representation of clients before the Department of Labor through the preparation of Labor Certification Applications, Labor Condition Applications, and such other Department of Labor applications, petitions, and processes as are required in the Immigration and Nationality Act as a prerequisite for immigration benefits:

(4) the representation of clients before the Department of State in matters pertaining to the consular processing of visa applications; and

(5) the representation of clients in matters of original and appellate jurisdiction before United States district courts and United States courts of appeals concerning immigration and nationality matters.


The immigration and nationality certification committee may waive the 3 years immediately preceding the date of application requirement upon good cause shown.

(c) Peer Review.

The applicant must submit to the immigration and nationality certification committee the names and addresses of 5 attorneys who are neither relatives nor current associates or partners, as references to attest to the applicant's reputation for substantial involvement and competence in the field of immigration and nationality law, as well as the applicant's character, ethics, and reputation for professionalism. No less than 1 reference shall be board certified in immigration and nationality law. The immigration and nationality law certification committee may authorize references from persons other than attorneys upon good cause shown.

(d) Education.

The applicant must demonstrate completion of 50 credit hours of approved continuing legal education in immigration and nationality law during the 3-year period immediately preceding the date of application.

Accreditation of educational hours is subject to policies established by the immigration and nationality law certification committee or the board of legal specialization and education.

(e) Examination.

The applicant must pass a written examination designed to demonstrate sufficient knowledge, skills, proficiency, and professionalism in the field of immigration and nationality law to justify the representation of special competence to the legal profession and the public.


Recertification as a Board Certified Specialist in Immigration Law

Rule 6-15.4 sets out the rules for recertification as a certified specialist in immigration law in Florida.

During the 5-year period immediately preceding application, the applicant must satisfy the following requirements for recertification:

(a) Substantial Involvement.

The applicants must demonstrate continuous and substantial involvement in the field of immigration and nationality law during the period since the last date of certification. The demonstration of substantial involvement shall be made in accordance with the standards set forth in rule 6-15.3(b). Upon good cause shown, the immigration and nationality law certification committee may waive all or any portion of the substantial involvement requirement if an applicant was or is currently a judge presiding over matters of immigration and nationality law.

(b) Education.

The applicants must demonstrate completion of 100 credit hours of approved continuing legal education in immigration and nationality law. At least 60 of such hours shall be during the 3-year period immediately preceding the date of application. Accreditation of educational hours is subject to policies established by the immigration and nationality law certification committee or the board of legal specialization and education.

(c) Peer Review.

Peer review shall be conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in rule6-15.3(c).

(d) Examination Requirement.

If the immigration and nationality law certification committee determines that the applicant does not meet the standards set forth in subdivision (b) of this rule, the immigration and nationality certification committee may, for good cause shown, require that the applicant pass the examination in lieu thereof.