BIA Recognition and Accreditation
How can CLINIC help me get the training I need to qualify for initial accreditation?
Applicants for initial accreditation must establish that they have knowledge and experience in immigration law and have taken at least one recent formal overview of immigration law course. CLINIC offers two different training options to meet these requirements, each described below. We also offer monthly webinars on a wide range of immigration law issues, which helps both new and experienced practitioners stay up-to-date with immigration law developments.
Option 1: Training Series
Introduction to Immigration Law Practice: A Course for New Practitioners
Offered on a regular basis in two formats: a two-day onsite training and a six-week e-learning course. This training fulfills the formal overview training requirement the BIA requires for initial accreditation. The next onsite training will take place at the CLINIC Convening, where participants who attend each session (8 total over the course of two days) of the “Fundamentals Track” will complete the curriculum for the overview training.
Core Issue Trainings
CLINIC also offers several training courses that cover core topics in immigration law that would particularly benefit a new legal practitioner planning to seek initial accreditation. In particular, we recommend taking at least two of the following courses to ensure that you have a solid foundation in immigration law fundamentals:
Four-week e-learning course covering concepts of inadmissibility and deportability and providing in-depth coverage of most common grounds of inadmissibility.
Four-week e-learning course covering waiver eligibility and how to file a successful waiver.
Six-week e-learning course covering all the stages of immigrating through a family-based petition.
Four-week e-learning course covering both acquired and derived citizenship for certain children born abroad, and citizenship through an application for naturalization.
Note that each e-learning course includes one live or recorded webinar for each week of the course, as well as self-directed learning activities involving reading, exercises, and a quiz. These additional weekly activities take about two and a half hours to complete.
These four courses are also available as archived independent study courses you can take whenever you choose. Visit our training page on independent study courses to learn more about this training format.
Option 2: COIL Course
Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law (COIL)
CLINIC now offers an intensive six-week e-course for the aspiring or new practitioner who is prepared to make the time commitment required to fully participate in this course and complete its requirements.
The Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law ("COIL") e-course has an accelerated pace, including two 90-minute webinars each week, as well as self-directed learning activities to support each course unit.
Overall, a course participant should expect to spend between 8 and 10 hours each week to attend or listen to recordings of the weekly webinars, and complete the corresponding course activities. Course completion also requires achieving a passing grade on an open-book final exam.
If you have the time to devote to this learning experience, then this course is a great way to quickly learn the fundamentals of immigration law and establish the training background to support an application for BIA accreditation.
Enhanced Knowledge via 90 Minute Webinars
Each month, CLINIC offers a webinar addressing a specific topic or issue in immigration law. Webinars cover topics of common interest to immigration legal practitioners, including a review of the latest developments in immigration law.
How can a widow immigrate after the US citizen spouse dies? Does it matter if the deceased spouse had previously filed an I-130 petition? What about derivative children? What if the surviving beneficiary is in one of the preference categories? Can they apply for a waiver of the unlawful presence bar if they have to consular process? Join us as we answer these questions and detail eligibility for relief for widows, for survivors under section 204(l), and for those seeking humanitarian reinstatement.
Absentia Orders: The Consequences of Not Showing Up
Do you know the consequences of an in absentia removal order? Join us for this webinar to learn the answers to many questions and get practice tips to help clients make the best of their failure to appear in immigration court. You'll get the answers to:
- What inadmissibility grounds are triggered?
- If your client has an in absentia order, what can be done?
- When can you file a motion to reopen (MTR) with the Immigration Court?
- What constitutes improper notice or exceptional circumstances for purposes of a MTR?
- What about asking ICE to exercise prosecutorial discretion as a last resort?
Even when we think we’ve done everything right as an advocate, we all have to face receiving application denials. Maybe USCIS made an erroneous decision, or maybe a client neglected to provide information impacting on eligibility for the benefit sought. Or maybe the advocate missed a legal or factual issue that was relevant to the case adjudication. If your client is indeed eligible for the benefit she or he is seeking, what options can you pursue after an application is denied? Move to reopen or reconsider? File an appeal? Contact a congressional liaison or advocacy network? Refile? To examine these alternatives in detail, and determine what actions to take, join us for a webinar addressing these issues.
and many more.
Frequently Asked Questions About BIA Accreditation and Training
How much immigration law do I need to know to qualify for initial BIA accreditation?
Case decisions issued by the BIA require candidates for accredited representative status to have a broad knowledge of immigration law and procedure. This means that you need to have an immigration law background that enables you to spot issues or remedies that may relate to services not provided by your agency. For example, even if your agency doesn't represent asylum applicants, the BIA wants to know that you have enough knowledge of immigration law to recognize when this remedy may apply to someone you counsel.
What are the training requirements for initial accreditation?
The BIA requires that applicants for initial accreditation have recently completed at least one formal training course providing an overview of immigration law. An overview training is one that covers the fundamentals of immigration law and procedure and shows how different sections of immigration law are interconnected and impact other areas of law.
Although the BIA has only specifically imposed a requirement of one formal overview training for initial accreditation, it has also addressed what issues it considers to be part of core training on immigration law. This includes routes to permanent resident status, inadmissibility grounds and waivers, the removal process and relief from removal, humanitarian remedies and naturalization, as well as practice skills including research and writing, interviewing, case management, and ethics.
If you are working for an agency or program that specializes in a particular type of service (e.g. VAWA and U visa applications), you also need to show that you have training directed to that specialty area.
Do I need to have a certain number of training hours to qualify for initial accreditation?
You do not need to show a specific number of hours of training to qualify for initial accreditation, but the BIA has stated that an application is strengthened by each extra hour of documented training. Ultimately, you need to persuade the BIA that you have a core knowledge of immigration law sufficient to represent your program's clients and to make appropriate referrals.
Do the proposed changes to BIA recognition and accreditation impact on training requirements for initial accreditation?
On September 16, 2015, the Department of Justice issued proposed regulations that address various components of the agency recognition and staff accreditation process. These proposed changes, however, do not concern training requirements for initial accreditation.
If I don't have time for a course, does CLINIC offer other types of training?
In addition to extended courses on core immigration issues, CLINIC also offers monthly webinars on specialized topics in immigration law. These 90-minute presentations can help deepen your knowledge about a particular immigration law issue and bring you up-to-date on legal developments. Recent webinars have focused on affidavits of support, international travel by LPRs, I-212 waivers, health-based inadmissibility, and family-based implications of executive action.
Is CLINIC's "Fundamentals of Immigration Law" rapid e-course an overview training that would meet the BIA training requirement?
No, this course is not the equivalent of a formal overview training on immigration law. This course is a 90-minute rapid e-course that provides a very basic orientation to core immigration law concepts and information. The course content, however, is much abbreviated and is not sufficient to support an application for accredited representative status.
Do I need any special training to qualify for full accreditation?
Full accredited representatives can represent individuals in immigration court and in appeals before the BIA. For this reason, an applicant for full accredited representative status needs to show the BIA that she or he has legal research and writing skills and training in trial and appellate advocacy. CLINIC has sponsored court skills training for non-attorney legal workers in the past and may provide this training again, depending on demand. If you are interested in a court skills training, please let us know by contacting the assigned Field Support Coordinator for your state.
Do I need to continue to get training in order to renew my accredited representative status?
Yes, we recommend that you participate in training on an ongoing basis after becoming an accredited representative. Immigration law and procedure is constantly changing, and training helps you keep abreast of these changes as well as deepen and strengthen your knowledge and your practice skills. In addition, a 2013 decision from the BIA notes that renewal requests should also provide documentation that the accredited representative has received additional formal training in immigration law since the most recent accreditation.
How can CLINIC help me get the training that will continue to develop my knowledge and skills after I am accredited?
Check CLINIC's training calendar and website to look for the courses that will provide you with training in new practice areas (e.g., waivers, removal, citizenship, crimes, humanitarian relief, and selected issues in naturalization) or deepen your knowledge of immigration law through more advanced coverage of particular immigration law issues. In addition, CLINIC's monthly webinars provide focused coverage and updates on immigration law and procedure and can also help you document your ongoing training as an accredited representative.
Whom should I contact if I have more questions about what training I should take?
If you have questions about a particular course, contact the person listed on the course flier for more information about the training content. For other general questions about training and appropriate courses to take for BIA accreditation, please contact the assigned Field Support Coordinator for your state.
How can I make sure I know about upcoming training opportunities?
Sign up to receive notifications of upcoming trainings and webinars, as well as other updates you would like to receive via email.
Please use the following chart to contact the appropiate Field Support Coordinator for your area.
|Laura Burdick||Nathaly Perez||Shaila Rahman||Leya Speasmaker|
|District of Columbia||Illinois||Arizona||Arkansas|
|Ohio||New Hampshire||New Mexico||South Dakota|
|Pennsylvania||New Jersey||Oregon||Puerto Rico|
|South Carolina||New York||Utah||Tennessee|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||Rhode Island||Washington||Texas|