Recognition & Accreditation (R & A) Program

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (PDF) Recognition Form EOIR-31 (PDF)
Recognition and Accreditation Rosters Accreditation Form EOIR-31A (PDF)
Recognition and Accreditation Regulations Recognition Form EOIR-31 (PDF) - Previous
  Accreditation Form EOIR-31A (PDF) - Previous

Update Regarding R & A Forms

EOIR will continue to accept both the new and previous versions of Forms EOIR-31 (application for DOJ recognition of organizations) and EOIR-31A (application for DOJ accreditation of representatives). The new and previous versions of the forms are located at the links above.

Organizations are encouraged to submit their documentation by email to R-A-Info@usdoj.gov R-A-Info@usdoj.gov instead of by mail or shipping service. EOIR will accept digital  [1] and electronic [2] signatures on all applications submitted through the R&A Program, regardless of method of submission to EOIR.[3] The resulting digital or electronic signature must clearly display the signer’s name or a reproduction of the signer’s handwritten signature. The signature should also include a printed (i.e., handwritten in print or typed) version of the signer’s name below or adjacent to the signature if it is not provided in the digital or electronic signature itself. EOIR will accept electronically-reproduced[4] copies of documents containing digital, electronic, or “wet” signatures.[5] EOIR will also continue to accept original documents containing wet signatures. Submitters must maintain original copies of all documents submitted by email and be prepared to produce them for EOIR upon the agency’s request.

Program Description

Federal regulations at 8 C.F.R. § 1292.1(a)(4) allow non-attorney “Accredited Representatives” to represent aliens before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which includes the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). These representatives are accredited through the Recognition and Accreditation (R & A) Program, which aims to increase the availability of competent immigration legal representation for low-income and indigent persons, thereby promoting the effective and efficient administration of justice. Accredited Representatives may only provide immigration legal services through Recognized Organizations. Only non-profit, federally tax-exempt entities may apply to be recognized.

Eligibility and Application Process

The standards for Recognized Organizations and Accredited Representatives, including the qualifications and application processes, are found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 8 C.F.R. § 1292.11–1292.20. The Office of Policy, through the Office of Legal Access Programs, adjudicates applications submitted by qualified organizations for recognition and for accreditation of qualified staff.

Organizations must submit Form EOIR-31 (PDF) to request recognition, whether initial, renewal, or extension. The regulations also require organizations to submit Form EOIR-31A when applying for or renewing accreditation of their representatives. Organizations should mail these forms and corresponding application packets to EOIR at the following address:

R & A Program Coordinator
Office of Legal Access Programs
Office of Policy
Executive Office for Immigration Review
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2500
Falls Church, VA 22041

The R & A Program’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (PDF) provide more detailed guidance on the requirements and application processes for recognition and accreditation. If you have questions that are not addressed in the FAQs, you can email the R&A Program at R-A-Info@usdoj.gov.

Recognition Renewal

A new standard under the regulations requires that all Recognized Organizations renew their recognition. The deadline for the first renewal of recognition depends on when the Recognized Organizations received initial recognition.

  • Organizations that received initial recognition after January 18, 2017, must renew their recognition within two years from the approval date.

Once Recognized Organizations have renewed their recognition under one of the standards outlined above, they must renew their recognition every six years.

Accreditation Renewal

Accreditation of representatives is valid for three years. Organizations must timely apply for renewal of their representative(s)’ accreditation. The schedule for renewal of recognition and accreditation does not run concurrently. Rather, it depends on when the expiration of each occurs.

Additional R & A Links

Press Release (PDF)

Stakeholder Webinar on Rule Changes

 


[1] A digital signature is defined as a signature performed via a recognized system that provides Personal Key Infrastructure (PKI) from the signer at the time of signing.

[2] An electronic signature is defined as a signature performed using a device that does not provide PKI at the time of signing (e.g., stylus and touchpad).

[3] This guidance does not apply to copies of applications or supporting documentation that an organization must submit to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

[4] An electronic reproduction includes documents that are scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced.

[5] A “wet” signature is defined as a signature completed with an ink pen on a paper document.

Updated December 23, 2020

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?
Yes No