How to Become a Immigration Paralegal
Immigration paralegals are responsible for helping their clients to become naturalized citizens or legal residents. Immigration paralegals do many of the tasks that other types of paralegals do including preparing forms, researching laws related to client matters and collecting documents.
Immigration Paralegal Qualifications, Requirements and Common Tasks
To become a qualified immigration paralegal, basic paralegal training in addition to specialization in immigration laws is essential.
Such specialization includes topics ranging from visa acquisition (worker and student) to family residence requirements including ‘jus soli’ (birthright citizenship laws unique to a few countries such as America) laws. A college degree is usually required by most law firms specializing in this field; however, some pro-bono or public interest groups do not require a degree. Learning a language commonly spoken in the region of practice (i.e. Spanish in California) is also useful, since many clients of immigration law-firms do not speak English as their first or second language. Common tasks for immigration paralegals include intake interviews of possible clients, writing summaries and memoranda’s involving case related matters and filing paperwork to obtain legal documents such as student visas or work permits.
Immigration Paralegal Salary, Job Outlook, and Employers
Immigration paralegals are employed by various interest groups, government agencies and private law firms. Due to the increased attention and focus on illegal immigration, immigration paralegals are in demand more than ever. According to the NFPA’s (National Federation of Paralegal Associations) 2009 survey, immigration paralegals average between $40,000 and $60,000 depending on experience, qualifications or specialization, as well as possible management responsibilities. Most law firms that hire a full or part-time immigration paralegal may offer benefits including 401k’s, insurance and performance bonuses. Many pro-bono or public interest groups however, do not pay as well or offer many benefits. Immigration paralegals in interest groups or rural areas sometimes make less than $20,000 a year, which, compared to major cities and private law firms, is very little; nonetheless they remain a necessity.
Paralegal Degrees, Training & Programs from Accredited Schools
- CERT: Paralegal Studies
Penn Foster Schools
- BAC-Paralegal Studies
- AS - Paralegal Studies
- Associate Degree in Litigation and E-Discovery Paralegal
Concord Law School
- Executive J.D. SM Program
- Juris Doctor Program
- Legal Studies, BA (Online)
California University of Pennsylvania
- Master of Science in Legal Studies: Law and Public Policy
- Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence: Legal Studies
Page Edited by Charles Sipe.