Immigration Court

A Notice to Appear (NTA) is a legal document issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that initiates removal proceedings (deportation) against an individual in immigration court. It serves as a formal notification to the individual that the government is seeking to remove them from the United States based on alleged immigration violations. We discuss the notice to appear and what to do if you receive one here.

What is a Notice to Appear (NTA)?

An NTA is typically issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and is served on the individual, stating the charges against them, the date and location of their initial court hearing, and their rights in the immigration court process.

The charges listed in an NTA may vary, but commonly include allegations such as unauthorized entry or presence in the United States, overstaying a visa, fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining immigration benefits, or other violations of U.S. immigration law. The individual who receives an NTA is generally required to appear before an immigration judge to defend against the charges and seek relief from removal if eligible.

I received a notice to appear what should I do?

If you have received a Notice to Appear (NTA) for immigration proceedings, it’s important to take prompt action and follow the necessary steps to protect your rights and navigate the immigration court process. Here are some general guidelines on what you should do:

  1. Review the NTA: Carefully read through the NTA to understand the charges against you, the date and location of your initial court hearing, and any other important information.
  2. Seek Legal Counsel: It’s highly recommended to seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. An immigration attorney can provide you with expert guidance and representation throughout the immigration court process, help you understand your rights, and explore potential defenses and relief options.
  3. Prepare Your Case: Work closely with your immigration attorney to gather and organize all relevant documents and evidence to support your case. This may include documents related to your immigration history, such as your visa, passport, or other immigration status documents, as well as any evidence that can help establish your eligibility for relief from removal, such as evidence of your ties to the U.S., family relationships, employment history, or other relevant factors.
  4. Attend All Court Hearings: It’s important to attend all scheduled court hearings as stated in the NTA. Failure to appear in immigration court can result in an automatic removal order against you. If you have a valid reason for not being able to attend a hearing, notify your attorney as soon as possible.
  5. Follow Immigration Court Procedures: Follow all immigration court procedures and guidelines, including submitting any required documents or forms on time, providing truthful testimony in court, and respecting the court’s rules and procedures.
  6. Explore Relief Options: Work with your immigration attorney to explore potential relief options that may be available to you based on your individual circumstances, such as asylum, cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, or other forms of relief.
  7. Keep Your Immigration Status Updated: Keep your immigration attorney and the immigration court updated with any changes in your contact information, immigration status, or other relevant circumstances.

It’s important to note that receiving an NTA does not automatically mean that an individual will be deported. They have the right to present their case in immigration court, and they may be eligible for various forms of relief from removal, such as asylum, cancellation of removal, or adjustment of status, depending on their individual circumstances. It is highly recommended that individuals who receive an NTA seek legal counsel from an experienced immigration attorney to understand their rights and options in the immigration court process.

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