How to Become an Immigration Judge

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An immigration judge's ruling can have a life-altering effect on entire families. Unlike most judges, immigration judges conduct administrative proceedings that determine whether foreign-born nationals have violated a United States immigration law and therefore are subject to removal. Immigration judges can order a person removed back to their country of origin or make a determination that they are eligible for asylum or another form of relief and may remain in the country.

Complete law school at an American Bar Association accredited law school and graduate with a Juris Doctorate.

Pass the bar exam in the state where you wish to practice law. Complete the required character and fitness background report as well as the multi-state professional responsibility exam if required in your state in order to become licensed to practice law.

Gain experience practicing immigration law. While practicing immigration law, join professional associations such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association as well as local or state bar associations and any sub-sections focused on immigration law.

Utilize the required continuing legal education requirements that are mandatory for all attorneys to further your knowledge and education in immigration law.

Receive an appointment from the Attorney General of the United States to a position as an immigration judge in one of the 58 immigration courts found throughout the United States.


The appointment process can be very political in nature. Involvement in party politics may help your chances to receive an appointment.