3 Steps to Take If You Receive a Notice to Appear

You’ve received a Notice to Appear, either served in person by an immigration officer or in the mail. While this may induce some panic, it’s important to take a deep breath, read the document in its entirety, and make a plan. 

  1. Verify the Accuracy of the NTA

First, try to hold off the initial wave of panic and take a thorough look at the NTA. This charging document includes information about you, the nature of the proceedings, allegations, and why they believe you should be removed from the country. Go through the document and verify the information in each of these sections:

  • Your personal information. The document should include your legal name, aliases you’ve used in the United States, your address, and your registration number. If any of the information listed here is incorrect, you may have missed previous notices from ICE and your case may be even more urgent than expected.
  • The reason for removal proceedings. The document should indicate that you arrived to the U.S. and have not yet been admitted, that you entered the US without being admitted, or that you were admitted to the US but are no longer permitted to stay.
  • Allegations against you. The document should note your home country, when you entered the country, how long you have been in the country, and the reasons they plan on removing you.
  • Charge of removability. The last piece of information to verify on your NTA is your charge or charges of removability. This explains why ICE plans on deporting you. Possible reasons include conviction of a crime, illegal entry to the United States, or overstaying your visa.

Knowing whether or not this information is accurate will help you in the next step.

  1. Immediately Contact an Immigration Attorney

Reach out promptly to a trusted immigration attorney in your area. Depending on your case facts, having a good immigration lawyer can make all the difference between getting deported and remaining in the U.S. Those who receive an NTA have fairly limited rights in immigration court, and you do not want to attend your hearing without the assistance of an attorney. Have your NTA when you call; this will help you give your attorney accurate information and make a plan for your next step.

  1. Keep Track of Court Dates and Other Requirements

Double- and triple-check the date, time, and location of your first hearing. Missing or arriving late to a hearing can lead to a default judgment against you and lead to immediate removal. Communicate frequently with your immigration attorney and provide any documentation or evidence they request.

Work with an experienced, reliable immigration attorney who’s dedicated to helping you navigate the complicated immigration process—at RelisLaw, we provide assistance in a wide range of languages and help clients through complex situations. Contact us now to explore your options.

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We help people from around the world to live and work freely in the U.S., to achieve their dreams, unite families, or escape persecution. No matter what immigration service you need, RelisLaw will provide caring and dependable counsel to you and aggressive advocacy to vigorously fight for you using every available legal avenue. As a global firm, we work with people in countries around the world. We meet clients across the U.S., as well as in New York, Toronto, and Montréal. We also meet with clients globally, located in any country, via Skype and other platforms.

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