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How to be an immigration attorney

by Nathan Zachary

Do you know what are the requirements to practice law in the immigration branch? At UNIR we give you the keys on how to be an immigration lawyer, a specialization also called Immigration Law.

Duties of an immigration attorney

An immigration or aliens lawyer is an expert in the regulations that affect the status of foreign citizens in Spain. He is the right professional to advise on the application of Immigration Law both on a personal and professional level.

The process of globalization of the economy has favored the flow of citizens between countries, giving rise to migratory processes between different countries and regions motivated by the search for work. The link between different States at a personal, professional and industrial level is growing and this situation gives rise to the necessary bureaucratic procedures for citizens to reside and work legally in each territory, something that depends on the legal system of each country.

In the Spanish case, it also depends on whether the citizens migrate from a Member State of the European Union or are non-EU citizens, that is, citizens of other countries in the world. In both cases, they have rights and obligations that must be managed and that will be the basis of the work of an immigration lawyer: from asylum and refugee applications, to the processing of residence permits or nationality applications, to work permits, request for family reunification or the legalization of documents necessary for all these processes.

Immigration Law: a branch in constant evolution

The professional career to be a lawyer specializing in Immigration Law begins with a Law Degree. These are the studies that give access to the master’s degree in the Practice of Law, which makes it possible to prepare and pass the official exam to access this profession, as well as collegialization.

Immigration Law is a quasi-autonomous branch that is constantly evolving and draws on both public and private law regulations. Thus, a professional who wishes to specialize in this discipline must deal in depth with matters that were already dealt with during the Degree in Law, such as Public and Private International Law, know in detail the legislation on Human Rights and Labor Law, among other branches, to delve into the legal-practical aspects that affect both asylum and refugee applications, as well as the processing of permits and visas, the management of migrant status and the social and labor insertion of foreign workers in Spain.

After finishing the Degree in Law and obtaining the bar to practice, the lawyer has the knowledge to dedicate himself to this legal specialization. Still, for both recent graduates and practicing lawyers, specific training in this area will always be a way to make your work stand out.

How to specialize to be an immigration lawyer?

The universities offer postgraduate training that allows the professional to deepen their knowledge of Public and Private International Law, fundamental subjects for an immigration lawyer. There are also more specific programs such as master’s degrees in Immigration Law, International Migration or Social Integration, which address the range of regulations that an immigration lawyer must handle. Another avenue of specialization is a master’s degree in Labor Law, since the labor sphere is one of the key pillars of immigration law.

Postgraduate specialization in Human Rights will also be useful, a branch closely linked to immigration given the treaties that recognize the international protection of migrants and, therefore, the duties and obligations of each country in the face of requests for asylum and protection.

In addition, being a broad legal discipline, the immigration lawyer can choose to also specialize in relations with certain regions or countries, becoming an expert in the regulations that apply specifically to those cases. Beyond university training, an immigration lawyer must be very attentive to the regulatory changes that occur at a national and community level in order to offer their clients effective advice and quality service.


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