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What Is the Average Salary of an Immigration Lawyer?

Immigration lawyers are specialized attorneys who represent clients who need assistance with a variety of citizenship issues. Several factors influence how much an immigration lawyer can expect to earn per year, such as type of employer, years of experience and geographic location. Read on to find out more about what you could earn as an immigration lawyer.

Immigration Law Defined

Immigration lawyers help their clients to solve problems related to their immigration, naturalization and citizenship status. If you work as an immigration lawyer, you'll help clients obtain citizenship, avoid deportation, acquire visas and receive political asylum. You'll need to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, and you'll also need to pass your state's bar exam prior to practicing immigration law.

Important Facts About Immigration Lawyers

Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth (for all lawyers)
Key Skills Social awareness, critical thinking, clear spoken and written communication, time management, reading comprehension, problem solving
Work Environment Legal services, government agencies, private practice
Similar Occupations Judges, paralegals, legal assistants, arbitrators, mediators, conciliators, post-secondary teachers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Median Salary for Immigration Lawyers

PayScale.com reported that the median yearly salary for lawyers practicing immigration law was $67,331, according to a June 2019 report. Other factors like location, experience and employer could influence your salary as an immigration lawyer.

Salary By Location

Salaries for lawyers tend to be higher in larger cities; however, the competition for jobs and clients can be higher as a result. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (www.bls.gov) there may be less competition for private-practice lawyers in suburban areas due to fewer large and established law firms. PayScale.com reported that most immigration attorneys in New York City earned 12% more than the national average as of June 2019. At that same time, most immigration lawyers in San Francisco who provided salary data earned 20% more, while those in Los Angeles made 2% less.

Salary By Years of Experience

According to PayScale.com, the median annual salary of an immigration lawyer generally grows with experience. The following figures are the salary earned for immigration lawyers with various years of work experience, as reported by PayScale.com in June 2019:

  • Less than one year: $56,000
  • 1-4 years: $64,000
  • 5-9 years: $84,000
  • 10-19 years: $96,000
  • 20 or more years: $90,000

Salary by Type of Employer

As an immigration lawyer, you can work for government agencies, private law firms and nonprofit organizations. You may also decide to open your own legal practice. The salary earned for an immigration lawyer also depend on the employer.