Code of Federal Regulations Definition of “Practice” of Immigration Law

The Code of Federal Regulations (the “Code”) defines the “practice” of immigration law as: “The act or acts of any person appearing in any case, either in person or through the preparation or filing of any brief or other document, paper, application, or petition on behalf of another person or client before or with DHS.”[1]

 

Under 8 C.F.R. § 292.1, only the following may practice immigration law: (1) attorneys, (2) law students and law graduates not yet admitted to the bar, (3) “reputable individuals”, (4) accredited representatives, (5) accredited officials, and (6) attorneys outside of the U.S.[2] For the most part, the regulations prohibit receipt of payment for services rendered unless the provider is a U.S. attorney or an accredited representative.[3] It serves to note, however, that the Code distinguishes between preparation of forms constituting the “practice” of immigration law and a service solely consisting of “assistance in the completion of blank spaces on printed DHS forms.”[4] Under the latter, an individual may charge “nominal” fees for the preparation of these DHS forms so long as the individual does not hold himself or herself as qualified in legal matters or an expert in immigration procedure.[5]
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[1] 8 C.F.R. § 1.2.
[2] 8 C.F.R. § 292.1 (a) (1) – (6). Besides attorneys bared in the U.S., the other five groups have unique definitions and requirements in order to practice immigration law. Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.