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Immigration Consultant Courses

by Kevin Wandrei

A career as an immigration consultant involves helping potential Americans navigate the ins and outs of complex immigration forms like visas and green cards. To be successful in this career environment, a potential consultant should be adept at dealing with diversity and multiculturalism, while also possessing a close understanding of difficult legal issues. As such, classes in law and languages are especially useful for a career as an immigration consultant.

Law Classes

Though immigration consultants are not usually lawyers -- and thus cannot offer their clients any legal advice -- consultants can still benefit from an understanding of immigration law. In particular, a good course geared towards becoming an immigration consultant will give a broad overview of the terms and services relevant to a potential immigrant. These include concepts like visas, green cards and the path to citizenship. Knowing how to become a citizen, for example, will help an immigration consultant teach immigrant clients how to prepare for the nationality exam.

Spanish and Other Languages

One of the single most important parts of an immigration consultant's work is to serve as a translator. As such, it is almost impossible to function as a good immigration consultant without fluency in a foreign language. For many American immigration consultants, the most popular language of choice will be Spanish, which is spoken by a large number of current immigrants to the United States. Other consultants, however, might choose to specialize in a language spoken by a small community that has located near where he or she lives. If someone lives in proximity of a large Vietnamese community, for example, it might be useful to learn Vietnamese to help more people from Vietnam join a local community.

Accounting and Taxes

Courses in taxes and accounting will help one become an immigration consultant. First, they help a student understand how to guide potential immigrants in understanding the American tax system and their obligations to it. Secondly, it also helps consultants themselves understand how to pay their own taxes, especially if they plan to open their own business. Classes in accounting, budgeting and income taxation will all be helpful on both fronts.

International Studies and Relations

An immigration consultant regularly encounters diversity and multiculturalism. As such, a course in international studies or international relations is usually part of a good program in immigration consulting. Students should not only be aware of different global cultures, religions and customs, but they should also understand the diplomatic infrastructure that facilitates communication between international people. Oftentimes, potential immigrants will have to apply for a visa or green card at an American consulate or embassy, so students should learn how these offices function and who runs them.

About the Author

Kevin Wandrei has written extensively on higher education. His work has been published with Kaplan, Textbooks.com, and Shmoop, Inc., among others. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Cornell University.

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