American Immigration Lawyers Association

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is a professional bar association of over 11,000 attorneys and law professors who teach and practice general immigration law or its many subspecialty practice areas. AILA was founded in 1946.

AILA is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that provides continuing legal education, information, professional services, and expertise through its 36 chapters and over 50 national committees.  It was established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

The vision of AILA includes:

  1. Increase member participation in advocacy before Congress, the Judiciary, the Federal Agencies, and the media, for immigration-related interests of our clients and society.
    • Educate the public about the ways in which U.S. immigration law and policy serves the national interest by reuniting American families, protecting refugees, & providing U.S. employers with the specialized skills they need to remain globally competitive.
    • Enhance respect for immigration law, and professional recognition of immigration lawyers, by government, the bar, and society.
    • Support AILF’s Legal Action Center and educational programming.
  2. Increase the level of knowledge and professionalism, and foster the professional responsibility, of our members.
    • Enhance the litigation capabilities of the membership as an important option to ensure the just administration of our immigration laws.
    • Assist members in effectively and competently pursuing their law practice and enhancing their professional satisfaction.
    • Advance the protection of the public by promoting consumer protection and authorized representation.
    • Promote and support delivery of competent, ethical, and lawful immigration services by lawyers, authorized accredited representatives, and pro bono programs.
    • Encourage and facilitate member participation in, and support for, pro bono services and programs.

AILA bylaws instructs that, any attorney, excepting a person in the employ of the Government of the U.S. (but for attorneys in the employ of the Federal Public Defenders, or federal court-appointed private counsel) or of the labor department, employment service or like body of any state, territory or subdivision thereof, is eligible to be a Member of this Association if such attorney:

(a) at the time of application is in good standing with, and for three years immediately preceding application has not been suspended or disbarred by, any court, mandatory bar association, administrative agency or other disciplinary authority;

(b) is licensed to practice law and is a member in good standing of the bar of any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia or, on June 14, 2007 was an active, approved Member of the Association and who thereafter has maintained that membership and eligibility for it under these by-laws without interruption; or,

(c) is employed full-time as a law professor at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and who is eligible for full membership in the American Bar Association but who is not admitted to practice in any State or the District of Columbia; and

(d) is engaged in the practice of law, is so engaged in compliance with the law applicable in every place where the attorney maintains an office for the practice of law.

The types of memberships in AILA can be classified as:

Private Practice Lawyers

Any U.S.-licensed attorney that is a member in good standing of a State Bar and in private practice may apply for membership in AILA. Please note that attorneys who are employed by the U.S. Federal government, the Department of Labor, Employment Service or like body are not eligible for membership in AILA. The only exception to the ban on Federal government employees is that Federal Public Defenders are eligible to be members of AILA. Regarding local government employees, please note that state, county, municipal and other local government employees who are not affiliated with the Department of Labor, Employment Service or a like body are eligible for membership in AILA. Private Practice Lawyers must remit both national and chapter dues with their application for membership.

Nonprofit Lawyers

Attorneys that are U.S.-licensed and employed on a full-time basis by a registered 501(c)3 (nonprofit organization) and earn less than $50,715 per annum can apply for reduced membership dues.

Non-U.S. Based Lawyers

U.S. licensed attorneys that reside and work outside of the United States may apply for At-Large membership.

Non-U.S. licensed attorneys that reside, work, and are licensed to practice law outside of the United States may not apply for membership. Persons residing and practicing outside the United States who are otherwise ineligible for membership in the Association may apply for International Associate status.

At-Large applicants must include a current Certificate of Good Standing issued by a bar association or court in the country where the attorney is licensed and practicing law. At-Large applicants pay national dues only.  Non-U.S.-licensed attorneys that reside and/or work in the United States are not eligible for membership in AILA and foreign legal consultants are not eligible for membership.

Retired AILA Member Lawyers

Persons who are already Members of the Association and who are retiring from the practice of law may apply for Retired Membership by contacting the Membership Dept. by e-mail at or by phone at 202-507-7600. Retired Members pay reduced national dues and retain full membership benefits, excluding (1) the right to vote in any AILA election and (2) the right to retain membership in any AILA chapter.

Law Students

Law student membership is open to full-time law students that attend an accredited law school. Please note that law students must attach proof of full-time student status with their application for membership such as a letter from the Registrar or a transcript.

AILA provides certain products and services such as:

  • AILA Online Bookstore – that enables to browse through the bookstore of AILA to see the latest immigration law publications.
  • AILALink – is an online link to provide immigration law information
  • AILA Association Partners’ products and services have been thoroughly reviewed and approved by AILA.
  • AILA permit a diverse collection of vendors and arranged direct links to a number of nationally recognized merchants for online shopping.
  • AILA offers a variety of marketing opportunities to reach your target audience.


American Immigration Lawyers Association
Suite 300, 1331 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-3142

Phone: 202-507-7600
Fax: 202-783-7853

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Inside American Immigration Lawyers Association