Information About CLINIC Training for DOJ 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 broad knowledge and adequate experience in immigration law and have taken at least one recent formal overview of immigration law course. CLINIC offers a course that meets this requirement: Comprehensive Overview Immigration Law (COIL) e-learning course. This course will be offered several times a year.


Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law (COIL)

CLINIC 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 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 DOJ accreditation.


We recommend supplementing the COIL course with additional 90 minute webinars or other substantive immigration law trainings.

CLINIC regularly offers additional trainings (webinar, webinar series, e-course, in-person) which address specific issues in immigration law covering topics of common interest to immigration legal practitioners and a review of the latest developments in immigration law and procedure. Visit our training calendar to learn about upcoming trainings.


Frequently Asked Questions About DOJ Accreditation and Training

How much immigration law do I need to know to qualify for initial DOJ accreditation?

Case decisions issued by the DOJ 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 does not represent asylum applicants, the DOJ 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 DOJ 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 affect other areas of law.

In addition to requiring one formal overview training for initial accreditation, the DOJ 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.


If I do not have time for a course, does CLINIC offer other types of training?

In addition to extended courses on core immigration issues, CLINIC also regularly offers 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. However, webinars alone would not be sufficient to support an application for accredited representative status.


Is CLINIC's "Fundamentals of Immigration Law" rapid e-course an overview training that would meet the DOJ 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 DOJ. For this reason, an applicant for full-accredited representative status needs to show the DOJ 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, you need to 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. DOJ notes that renewal requests should provide documentation that the accredited representative has received additional formal training in immigration law since the most recent accreditation. Visit our training calendar to learn about upcoming training opportunities, and be sure to keep a good record of all trainings attended with the date, title, provider, type of training, agenda, and certificate.


Will CLINIC provide a certificate of completion for all trainings?

Please see our updated Training FAQs regarding certificate issuance for trainings.


How can CLINIC help me deepen 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 or new policies affecting your practice. In addition, CLINIC's webinars provide focused coverage and updates on immigration law and procedure and can 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 DOJ accreditation, CLINIC affiliates may contact the assigned Field Support Coordinator for your state. If you are not a current CLINIC affiliate, learn more about the benefits and how to apply to join our network.


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.