Does your nonprofit agency want to develop a legal immigration program, but lack attorneys on staff or the money to hire them?
Does your nonprofit agency want to continue providing legal immigration services, but avoid engaging in the unauthorized practice of law?
Does your nonprofit agency have immigration attorneys on staff, but want to expand its capacity by getting authorization for non-attorney staff to practice immigration law?
In these situations, your agency needs to seek recognition for itself and accreditation for its non-attorney staff from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). BIA recognition and accreditation is the Department of Justice’s certification of charitable immigration agencies and staff, and allows non-attorney staff to practice immigration law before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the immigration courts.
The rules governing recognition and accreditation can be found at 8 CFR Section 292.2 .
However, the regulations are brief and do not address some of the challenges in compiling the BIA recognition and accreditation application.
This toolkit is designed to educate agencies on the need for BIA recognition and accreditation and to assist them in the application process. It is divided into four sections:
- Section One provides background information about the importance of BIA recognition and accreditation.
- Section Two takes you through the steps needed to prepare for and compile the application.
- Section Three provides guidelines on the professional code of conduct for BIA accredited representatives and information on how to protect your agency from liability.
- Section Four focuses on the widespread problem of immigration fraud and provides resources for educating the immigrant community.
CLINIC welcomes your feedback on this toolkit, including suggestions for additional materials to include. If you have any feedback or questions, please contact Laura Burdick at firstname.lastname@example.org .
1. GENERAL INFORMATION
EOIR Main Page on the Recognition & Accreditation Program
New “BIA Issues Three Decisions on Recognition and Accreditation” – CLINIC news article
New BIA Precedent Decision, Matter of United Farm Workers Foundation (2014)
New BIA Precedent Decision, Matter of Ayuda (2014)
Update on New BIA Regulations
CLINIC webinar, “All About BIA Recognition and Accreditation”
Board of Immigration Appeals FAQ Sheet on the Recognition and Accreditation Program
"BIA Releases New FAQ Sheet on Recognition and Accreditation" - CLINIC news article
BIA Precedent Decision, Matter of Central California Legal Services, Inc. (2013)
“BIA Addresses Training Requirements for Accredited Representatives” – CLINIC news article
"BIA Issues Two Decisions on Recognition and Accreditation" - CLINIC news article
Form G-28: Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative
2. PREPARATION: SETTING AN ACTION PLAN, ACQUIRING ESSENTIAL TRAINING, AND COMPILING THE APPLICATION
Step-by-Step Guide for BIA Accreditation and Recognition - World Relief and CLINIC
Form EOIR-31, Request for Recognition of a Non-Profit Religious, Charitable, Social Service, or Similar Organization
NEW Form EOIR-31A, Request by Organization for Accreditation of Non-Attorney Representative
Checklist for BIA Recognition and Accreditation Process
Action Plan for Applying for BIA Recognition and Accreditation
CLINIC Training Calendar
Self-Directed E-Learning Course on Fundamentals of Immigration Law
Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) Training Calendar
Immigration Law Library Resources
Sample Application for BIA Agency Recognition and Staff Accreditation: See page 16 of Step-by-Step Guide
Sample Application Cover Letter for BIA Staff Accreditation: See page 20 of Step-by-Step Guide
3. CONSIDERATIONS FOR PRACTICE AFTER BIA ACCREDITATION
EOIR Fact Sheet on Professional Conduct Rules for Immigration Attorneys and Representatives
CLINIC's Core Standards for Charitable Immigration Programs
Model Code of Professional Responsibility for BIA Accredited Representatives
Prohibition Against Providing Legal Services Outside the Office & Expectations of Employees
Applying for Renewal of Agency Staff/Volunteer Accreditation: See page 14 of Step-by-Step Guide
Immigration Advocates Network manual, "Notario Fraud Remedies: A Practice Manual for Immigration Practioners"
4. IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY EDUCATION MATERIALS
How to Tell if an Agency is Recognized:
EOIR List of Currently Disciplined Practitioners
American Bar Association (ABA) Campaign to Fight Notario Fraud
USCIS Information on Finding Legal Advice
USCIS Outreach Materials
Federal Trade Commission Resources