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.
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 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