My girlfriend and I are thinking about moving to the U.S. she recently finished her degree and articles in South Africa... what would the process be for someone with a law degree to be able to practice in the U.S.
You would need to find an employer who is willing to help you, or you need to have a mother or father who is a US citizen.
You are asking two different questions here:
1. What would the process be for a young South African lawyer to immigrate to the U.S.?
She would need to have a way to petition for U.S. permanent residence, either through family (possibly through U.S. citizen or permanent resident parents, siblings, children, spouse/fiance). If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and planning to get married, that may be one avenue.
There are also green cards available through employment or investment in the United States.
2. What would the process be for someone with a law degree to be able to practice in the U.S.?
This will depend on the state as the rules for practicing law in the United States are governed on a state-by-state basis. Further, it will depend as to whether she intends on advising U.S.-based clients on South African law, or becoming a U.S.-licensed attorney to advise on U.S. law. Some states allow foreign-licensed attorneys to become licensed to advise on foreign law. Some allow foreign-licensed attorneys to take the state bar examination. In either case, the attorney licensing authorities in the state where she wishes to practice would be able to provide information as to the requirements.
This post is intended as general legal information and is not legal advice. You should contact a lawyer for legal advice about your particular situation.
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