Integrity Legal

9th August 2009

On this blog, we often mention, quote, or write about the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA). Some readers have become curious as to what this organization does and what they represent. Further, some people do not understand what membership means.

In other countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, there exist what are known as registered Migration Consultants or OISC registered immigration advisers. In the United Kingdom, the organizations purposes is well articulated on their homepage which states that the OISC, “is responsible for regulating immigration advisers by ensuring they are fit and competent and act in the best interest of their clients.”

In the United States of America an attorney licensed and in good standing with either the United States Supreme Court or the highest court of at least on state is entitled to practice United States Immigration Law. However, unlike other countries with a history of common law, the United States does not have one singular regulatory body designed to monitor the activities of those who primarily act as a US Immigration lawyer.

In a way, the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association has come in to fill the breach regarding some of the duties inherent to a professional organization. The American Immigration Lawyers Association provides advice and mentoring for new attorneys practicing in the field of American Immigration. AILA also acts as a mechanism for advocacy on Capitol Hill. The American Immigration Lawyers Association disseminates information regarding pending legislation and provides resources regarding where interested parties can go to show their support for upcoming legislative initiatives.

One aspect of AILA that is particularly beneficial to the public at large is their campaign to eradicate so-called “notarios” and “Immigration consultants.” The American Immigration Lawyers Association provides information about where disaffected parties can go in order to lodge complaints against unscrupulous operators who prey on helpless victims who unwittingly retain their services believing they are real attorneys. In the United States this phenomenon is particularly common in the Latino communities. Oftentimes people are adversely affected by the activites of the notarios who offer either purposely malicious or incorrect advice.

It should be noted that membership in AILA is not necessarily indicative of one who can practice immigration law. Any attorney who is licensed and in good standing in at least one state can provide immigration advice. However, regular AILA members must have a license to practice law.  Therefore, AILA membership is indicative of an ability to practice before USCIS.

Some “fly by night” operations in Thailand and throughout the world falsely make claims to membership in AILA. In order to verify if an operator is AILA approved, check the website and search for the attorney in question.

For more on US Immigration from Thailand please see:

K1 fiance visa

K3 marriage visa or,

US tourist visa



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