Board Certified Immigration Law Attorney in Texas

At Lawyer Legion, we created a directory to find board certified immigration lawyers in Texas. For the public, board certification programs validate an attorney's claim to focus on immigration law.

At last count, 163 attorneys are board certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS).

Started in 1979, TBLS has certified attorneys has board certified in immigration law in Texas. For purposes of board certification, the phrase "Immigration and Nationality Law" involves securing immigrant or non-immigrant U.S. visas or other documentation, immigration proceedings and administrative review before government agencies and judicial courts.

The standards for certification require showing the following qualifications to become board certified in immigration law by the TBLS:

  • practicing law full time for at least 5 years as an active member of the State Bar of Texas;
  • having at least three (3) years experience with a yearly minimum 25% substantial involvement in Immigration & Nationality Law;
  • participating in a specific number of matters related to immigration and nationalization;
  • obtaining references from judges and lawyers in the area;
  • completing 60 hours of TBLS approved continuing legal education in Immigration & Nationality Law;
  • meeting all of the TBLS Standards for Attorney Certification; and
  • passing a comprehensive 6-hour examination in Immigration & Nationality Law.

Immigration attorneys tend to concentrate on a few areas of immigration and nationality law.

As a general matter, immigration attorneys understand how employment and family status affect an immigrant's classification and how certain conduct might result in the deportation of an immigrant.


TBLS's Definition of Immigration Law

According to Section VII of the Standards for Attorney Certification, the term immigration and nationality law" is defined as the practice of law dealing with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended, and all successor and other laws and regulations dealing with immigration and naturalization.

According to Section VII, the practice includes, by way of definition and not limitation:

  • all aspects of securing an immigrant or non-immigrant visa or other documentation to enter the United States, including all petitions and applications filed with the U. S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U. S. Department of Justice, the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U. S. Public Health Service;
  • naturalization proceedings;
  • citizenship proceedings;
  • asylum applications;
  • removal proceedings and related applications for relief;
  • bond and custody proceedings;
  •  rescission proceedings;
  • registry proceedings;
  • administrative proceedings not listed above relating to immigration and nationality law before
    government agencies of competent jurisdiction;
  • all administrative and judicial review of the above; and
  • original proceedings in immigration matters before judicial courts.

Exam Specifications in Immigration Law

The purpose of the certification exam in immigration law is to require an applicant to demonstrate substantial knowledge of significant legal concepts and corresponding skills in immigration and nationality law. The exam consists of a three-hour morning session.

In addition to the multiple chose questions, the exam covers essay questions consist of a fact pattern followed by a series of questions (usually 4-6) for an applicant to answer. The fact patterns involve situations the attorney would likely encounter in their practice.

 The essays often involve the following type of issues:

  • how immigration status may be affected by one’s employment, job requirements, and profession;
  • conduct or activity which might result in the removal of an individual;
  • the procedures involved in the removal process; or
  • the effect of one’s marital or family status on immigration status.

According to the TBLS Exam Specifications, the following topics might also be covered in the exam:

  • Immigrant visa classification and processing (family based, employment based, diversity visa lottery, special immigrant juvenile, asylum and refugees)
    • Grounds for immigrant and non-immigrant waivers of inadmissibility
    • Abandonment and Revocation of permanent residence and non-immigrant status
    • Admission issues (withdrawal of application for admission, record of intercept, expedited removal, and errors on I-94s)
    • Entry Without Inspection, Unlawful presence and INA 212(a)(9)
    • Temporary Protected Status
    • Adjustment of Status eligibility and procedures
    • Non-immigrant visa classifications, eligibility and processing, and maintaining status
  • Relief from Removal
    • Bond and custody
    • Voluntary departure
    • Adjustment of status
    • Cancellation of removal (various kinds)
    • Motions to re-open
    • Withholding of removal
    • Asylum (affirmative and defensive)
    • Convention against torture claims
    • Parole (advance parole, humanitarian parole, etc.)
    • Deferred inspection
    • INA 212(c)
    • INA 212(h) and 212(i)
    • Deferred Action
    • Recent and precedential Supreme Court, 5th Circuit and BIA decisions
    • Administrative Closure
    • Voluntary Return
  • Administrative Proceedings
    • Consular processing of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas
    • EOIR hearings (detained and non-detained procedures, rules, bond and bond redetermination
    • Administrative appeals (BALCA, AAO, BIA, BAR, OCAHO)
    • Deportation and exclusion proceedings commenced pre-IIRIRA
    • Administrative removal (of aggravated felon no-LPRs)
    • Reinstatement of removal orders
  •  Federal Court
    • Litigation (habeas, mandamus, and declaratory actions)
    • Appeals
  •  Immigration Consequences of Criminal Conduct
    • Aggravated felonies
    • Drug related offenses
    • Bond and custody
    • CIMTs (including effect of Silva-Trevino)
    • Family violence
    • Alien smuggling and related offenses
    • Document fraud
  •  Employer Sanctions
    • Worksite enforcement penalties
    • E-Verify
    • Discrimination
    • Employment Verification Issues / I-9
  •  Administrative Agency Jurisdiction
  • Employment-Based LPR Issues
    • involving labor certification and non-labor certification,
    • including all employment-based categories,
    • including Extraordinary ability
      • Outstanding Researchers & Professors
      • Multinational Managers & Executives
      • Schedule A
      • National Interest Waivers
      • Labor Certification
      • Religious Workers
      • EB-5Investors
  •  Naturalization
    • Acquisition and loss of U.S. citizenship
    • Naturalization eligibility and processing, including special cases (marriage, military, etc.)
    • Automatic and discretionary disqualifications
  •  Other Issues Related to Immigration and Nationality Law
    • Asylum and refugees, including Refugee status (INA 207) and I-730s (following to join refugee/asylee)
    • Legalization and Family Unity, NACARA (Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act), HRIFA (Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act)
    • 245(i)
    • CSPA (Child Status Protection Act) and Child Citizenship Act
    • Retaining priority dates
    • Public charge considerations and I-864s
    • Marital status
    • VAWA (Violence Against Women Act)
    • DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

Additional Resources

TBLS Standards for Becoming Board Certified in Immigration Law in Texas - Visit the TBLS website to learn more about the specialty area of immigration law, the task requirements, deadlines for submitting the application, and task requirements.

American Immigration Lawyers Association - Many board certified immigration attorneys are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and its Texas Chapter known as Aila Texas.


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