Citizenship Information: Federal Courts

Under federal law, most non-citizens cannot clerk for federal judges in the continental United States. That prohibition does not extend to federal courts outside of the continental U.S., namely federal courts in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, or the Northern Mariana Islands.

For additional information regarding the employment of non-United States citizens, call the Office of General Counsel at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts at (202) 502-1100.

Citizenship Information: State Courts

State-court clerkships are often a better option for most non-citizens. State courts’ requirements vary, so you should check directly with the state court(s) in which you are interested. As a general matter, though, state court judges do not require their clerks to be U.S. citizens. Note, however, that even if citizenship is not required, non-citizens may encounter visa issues, so this is a topic that applicants should consider carefully before applying.

If you are an international JD student interested in clerking, consider watching this recording of an alumni panel discussion from 2019 entitled “Clerkships for International JDs.”