A notice to appear is a charging document that tells immigrants that the United States government has initiated deportation proceedings against them.
Receiving this notice (also known as “NTA”) means that the immigrant must appear in immigration court. It is important to understand an NTA as it will determine the alien’s future in the US.
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The Immigration Court Notice To Appear (NTA)
The notice to appear (NTA) is the official document that begins deportation proceedings against a foreigner. This document requires defendants to appear in immigration court for a master calendar hearing.
Immigrants can receive an NTA via:
- Mail, or
- In person.
However, this notice can also be sent to the attorney. Additionally, the foreigner will be allowed at least 10 days between receiving the NTA and attending their first hearing, although they have the option to waive this.
It should be noted that many immigrants waive this requirement if they are detained in a detention center and cannot be released through bail release.
Before attending the hearing, the individual should review their NTA to ensure they understand it and are prepared to correct any errors that may arise.
What Does A Notice Of Appearance Contain?
Form I-862, or NTA, contains crucial information about an immigrant’s case such as the following:
The top of the NTA indicates the foreigner’s current address. If the address is not correct, then a Form EOIR-33/IC , Change of Address, must be filed as soon as possible so that the court can contact you with information about the case.
Facts Or Accusations
It contains a list of facts, also known as “allegations.” Each fact is numbered and generally describes the following:
- Country of origin,
- Date of arrival in the U. S, and
- When and how the immigrant entered the country.
If the aliens had permission to be in the U.S., the facts also indicate how long they were allowed to stay. Also, if they committed any crimes, those crimes may also be mentioned here.
It also states why the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes the immigrant should be removed from the United States. These are called “charges” and indicate the immigration laws that may have been violated. Some charges could include:
- Entering the U. S. without permission,
- Staying in the country longer than allowed, or
- Commit certain crimes.
At the first hearing, the judge may ask if the allegations in the notice to appear are true and if you agree with the charges filed.
This is usually the time to tell the judge if there is any incorrect information. Likewise, it may also be ideal to ask the judge for time to find an attorney before admitting or denying any aspect of the NTA.
It is important to note that even if the judge determines that the immigrants are deportable, it does not automatically guarantee that the immigrants will be deported. These still have the option to request to remain in the country and look for ways to stop removal proceedings. For example:
Most notices to appear include the date, time, and location of the first hearing. If an NTA does not provide this information, the court will send the immigrants a notice by mail with the details of the time, date, and location of their hearing.
It is extremely important to arrive on time for your hearing, because if you do not attend, the judge could order your deportation from the United States. If you forget the hearing date, you can contact the immigration court by phone.
These hearing topics must be understood by all immigrants, as they can be overwhelming. Therefore, we invite you to read our related publication: “Individual hearing in immigration court”.
Even so, remember that our blog only provides general information and it is our lawyers who can analyze your case and give you reliable information. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation and you will find experts willing to help you.
What Is A Defective NTA?
In 2018, in the case of Pereira v. Sessions, the court determined that a notice to appear (NTA) is defective when it fails to designate:
- Time, or
- Specific location.
Therefore, there are possible defects in an NTA that must be carefully examined by one of our immigration lawyers. That said, we recommend contacting us immediately, as cases related to deportation must be responded to as soon as possible.
What To Do If There Is A Defective Notice To Appear?
When an immigrant receives a notice to appear, the experience can be deeply stressful and, in some cases, even frightening.
The process can become even more challenging if the NTA does not provide information on the date, time or location. In this situation, it is crucial that the individuals know how to respond to protect their rights. Some important steps include:
- Don’t ignore the notice to appear: First, you should never ignore an NTA. Ignoring it will not solve the problem, even if the notice is flawed. It is necessary to be prepared to respond as soon as possible.
- Be on the lookout for additional correspondence: In some cases, a defective NTA may be quickly followed by another containing the relevant missing information. If someone receives a notice to appear without a date or time, it is important to keep an eye out for any additional correspondence.
- Talk to an experienced immigration attorney: It is essential to remember that a notice to appear is not a deportation order. Therefore, it is recommended to immediately contact our immigration lawyers in New Jersey to deal with this scenario.
Legal Warnings Before A Notice To Appear
A notice to appear must contain information about key legal warnings to the immigrant, including the following:
- The right to be represented by a lawyer during the deportation process, although the costs of hiring one on your own must be assumed.
- The consequences of failing to appear for a scheduled hearing, such as the possibility of receiving a deportation order in absentia.
- Your obligation is to notify the immigration court of any type of address change during the deportation process.
- Your duty to comply with deportation (if ordered) or voluntarily leave the United States if permitted to do so.
Finally, the notice will include a certificate of service detailing how and when the U.S. government provided the NTA to you. If relevant, you should prepare to submit evidence that this certificate was not received in the manner described.
What To Do If I Receive A Notice To Appear?
If someone receives a notice to appear, it is key to take immediate action and follow the necessary steps to navigate the immigration court process. Here are some general guidelines on what should be done:
1# Review The NTA
The NTA should be read carefully to understand the charges against you, the date and location of the initial court hearing, and any other relevant information.
2# Seek Legal Advice
Doing this is essential, as an immigration attorney can provide expert guidance and representation throughout the process. This helps understand immigrants’ rights and explore possible defenses or immigration relief options.
3# Prepare The Case
Another crucial aspect in these issues is working with an immigration attorney to gather and organize all relevant documents and evidence to support the case.
This may include documents related to immigration background and evidence demonstrating eligibility for relief from deportation.
4# Attend All Court Hearings
It is key to attend all scheduled court hearings as indicated in the NTA. Failure to appear may result in an automatic deportation order. If you cannot attend, the lawyer must be notified as soon as possible.
5# Follow Immigration Court Procedures
Comply with all immigration court procedures and guidelines. This includes timely submission of documents or any other required forms. Likewise, testimony in court and respect for rules and procedures are included.
6# Explore Relief Options
It is advisable to work with your immigration attorney to explore possible relief options available based on individual circumstances. For example,
- Cancellation of removal,
- Adjustment of status, or
- Other forms of immigration relief.
7# Keep Immigration Status Updated
Last but not least, the attorney and the immigration court should be kept informed of any changes in:
- Contact information,
- Immigration status, and
- Other relevant circumstances.
Background Of The notice to appear
According to USCIS, the updated NTA policy impacts the following categories of cases in which immigrants are subject to deportation:
- Criminal Cases: An NTA will be issued in situations where the applicant has been charged, convicted, or has committed a criminal offense. In some cases, this will refer to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without issuing an NTA.
- Fraud and abuse of public benefits: USCIS will issue an NTA in cases of fraud or evidence of abuse of any program related to public benefits.
- Denial of Form N-400: An NTA will be issued if USCIS denies a Form N-400 due to lack of good moral character related to a criminal offense.
- Unlawful presence at time of denial: The policy also affects cases where an applicant is illegally in the U. S. at the time their application is denied.
- Additional Considerations: The USCIS Policy Memorandum (PM) does not change existing policies in scenarios involving:
Do I Need The Help Of A Lawyer For The Notice To appear?
To begin with, yes. Immigration court proceedings represent a considerable challenge, even for experienced attorneys. Given the constant evolution of the area of immigration law, it is essential to be aware of new forms of relief.
In particular, quickly contacting an immigration attorney is one of the first steps to take if you are involved in these scenarios. Other cases in which you should know how to act are when you receive a:
Therefore, if you are faced with all this, we urge you to contact us. Our immigration attorneys at Curbelo Law, Carolina and Sharon, have more than 10 years of successful experience in complex cases regarding American immigration law and will be able to help you.
Call us, send us an email or schedule an appointment with the office and we will be happy to evaluate your scenario.