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Due to the current changing nature of immigration law, and typically low number of examinees each year, the Board of Legal Specialization will offer the immigration law specialty exam during even years only until further notice.

The exam will be offered in 2020, 2022, and 2024, etc. Applying for certification may require more planning in order to meet the CLE requirements for certification. Please contact Denise Mullen with any questions.

Complete a Declaration of Intent Form to declare your interest in becoming a board certified specialist. Submission of this declaration form allows the specialization staff to review the applicant’s progress toward meeting the standards for certification, as well as to keep the applicant informed of application deadlines and other available resources. No payment is due with the declaration.

Immigration Law Exam Structure

  • 2022 exam offered at the NC State Bar building (ExamSoft Remote Proctoring upon request).
  • Four 90-minute modules (six hours total).
  • Exam sessions will begin around 8 AM and finish prior to 5 PM.

Morning Module 1

  • 16 multiple choice questions regarding family immigration issues (3 points each).
  • One long essay question regarding family immigration and naturalization and citizenship issues (80 points).

Morning Module 2

  • 15 multiple choice questions regarding employment immigration issues (3 points each).
  • 1 long essay question regarding employment immigration issues (80 points).

60-minute lunch break

Afternoon Module 1

  • 16 multiple choice questions regarding removal, bond, and temporary/humanitarian protection immigration issues (3 points each).
  • 1 long essay question regarding removal, bond, and temporary/humanitarian protection issues (80 points).

Afternoon Module 2

  • 23 multiple choice questions regarding other non-immigrant visa, asylum, refugee, naturalization, federal litigation, non-EOIR administrative appeals, and ethics immigration issues (3 points each).
  • 10 short answer questions regarding other non-immigrant visa, employment, family, naturalization, removal, and ethics issues (5 points each).

All questions require responses that demonstrate accuracy, clarity (including spelling and grammar), reasoning, recognition of the problems presented, knowledge of the principles of law involved and correct application of those principles. Full or partial credit for answers may be given.

Subject Matter

The examination shall cover the applicant's knowledge and application of the law in all areas of immigration law including, but not limited to, the following topics:


  • Affidavits of support—when to use and requirements for I-864, I-864W, I-864EZ and I-134
  • Special Immigrant/Widow(er)
  • Relationship definitions (out-of-wedlock births, step-child, etc.)
  • Child Status Protection Act
  • K-1 requirements and adjustment after K-1
  • Life Act
  • Foreign state chargeability
  • Child Citizenship Act
  • VAWA
  • Removal of Conditions
  • Adjustment of Status vs Consular Processing
  • Accompanying and following to join
  • Adam Walsh Act
  • Marriage fraud bar
  • Marriage while in proceedings


  • Work authorization related to F1, OPT, and CPT
  • AC21
  • Concurrent filings of I-140/I-485
  • Portability
  • Grace periods following termination
  • R visas
  • P visas
  • 7th year extension of H-1bs
  • TN visas
  • LCAs
  • Visa validity date vs I94 validity - and petition expiration date
  • Prevailing wage
  • Employment-based immigrant visas – all categories
  • Labor Certification Application – PERM
  • H-1B Cap and exceptions
  • E visas
  • L—1As, L-1Bs, and blanket L-1s


  • Continuous residence and physical presence requirements (and the statutory exemptions) for naturalization
  • Language and civics test and exceptions for naturalization
  • Good moral character requirements and effect of convictions on GMC for naturalization
  • Acquisition of citizenship by birth and through parents


  • All grounds of inadmissibility under INA § 212 and their waivers
  • Maintenance of NIV status, nunc pro tunc extensions
  • Fundamentals of unlawful presence
  • Eligibility for AOS under INA § 245(a)  
  • Eligibility for AOS under INA § 245(c)  
  • Adjustment of status jurisdiction for arriving aliens (USCIS vs EOIR)
  • Impact of pending removal proceedings or final order on AOS
  • D/S designation and accrual of unlawful presence
  • Visa revocation
  • Material misrepresentation 
  • False claims to citizenship


  • Initiation of removal proceedings: Notice to appear, common forms of relief including 42b/a 237a1h; AOS, NACARA, asylum, rights to appeal, which party bears the burden of proof before the immigration court in removal, rescission proceedings
  • The stop-time rule
  • Cancellation of removal for LPRs and non-LPRs
  • 237(a)(1)(H) waiver: grounds covered and prima facie eligibility
  • AOS in proceedings
  • Definition of a conviction for immigration purposes, INA § 101(a)(48)
  • 212h elements for relief
  • Criminal grounds of removability and inadmissibility
  • Fundamentals of U visas and grounds of inadmissibility that can be waived
  • Aggravated felonies and crimes involving moral turpitude, including the petty offense exception
  • Motion to reopen general filing requirements and deadlines
  • Border encounters: distinguishing between voluntary return vs. expedited removal and understanding the consequences of each
  • Arriving alien burden of proof in proceedings
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel: Padilla claims, Matter
  • recognizing effective post-conviction relief, including vacated convictions
  • appealing a denied I-130


  • Protected grounds (asylum and refugee status)
  • Bars to eligibility (Asylum & refugee status)
  • Differences between asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT
  • Employment eligibility for asylees
  • Frivolous applications (asylum)


  • TPS, eligibility, re-registration requirements, and late-initial registration
  • U visas: grounds of inadmissibility and waivers, qualifying criminal activities direct and indirect victims
  • T visas
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile status
  • DACA eligibility and consequences of criminal convictions
  • Advance parole for DACA and TPS holders
  • Parole in place for military family members


  • Third party payment for services (ethics)
  • Joint representation (ethics)
  • Candor for tribunal (ethics)
  • Meritorious claims and contentions (ethics)