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What is a Notice to Appear (NTA) and what does it mean for immigrants who receive one?

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If you or a family member have been served with a Notice to Appear, it is a very serious matter.

Read on to learn more about the following:

  • What NTA is
  • What does NTA mean for immigrants
  • How to respond to NTA

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What is a Notice To Appear?

Notice To Appear (NTA) is the document that is served on an alien to advise them that deportation proceedings have begun.

While some people are served the NTA and detained, there are thousands of people walking around the U.S. who have received an NTA and are "in proceedings."  The NTA usually has the initial court date.

The NTA also lists the allegations that the government believes require that you be removed (or deported) from the U.S.  These allegations typically track your immigration history and set forth the reason (or reasons) why removal is warranted.

The allegations typically say something like:

  • You are not a US citizen
  • You are a citizen of your home country
  • You entered the US on a particular date
  • Whether your entry was authorized or not and, if so, for how long
  • The reasons why you should be deported (criminal activity, overstay, etc.)
  • The specific statutory provisions that you are believed to have violated.

At a later date, you will be asked to admit or deny each of the allegations in the NTA.  Obviously, this document is very important and should be kept in a safe place.  Make sure to check that the biographical information about you in the NTA is correct.  You would not want future mail to go to the wrong address.

What Should You Do if You Receive an NTA?

Make sure to check that the biographical information about you in the NTA is correct.  You would not want future mail to go to the wrong address.

The NTA may be served upon you by hand or mailed to you or your attorney if you have an attorney on record with ICE.  ICE also serves the NTA upon the immigration court responsible for your deportation proceedings.

The law requires that you be allowed at least ten days between the service of the NTA and your initial court hearing.  You can waive this 10-day rule if you like, and you may want to do so if you are being kept in ICE custody.

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The Role of an Immigration Attorney

Receiving an NTA can be a stressful and confusing experience, as it marks the beginning of removal proceedings against you in immigration court. An immigration attorney can be invaluable in navigating immigration proceedings and significantly increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

Here's how they can help:

  • Explaining the charges. Your attorney will carefully review the NTA and explain the alleged immigration violations and why the government is seeking your removal. This will help you understand the legal basis for the case and prepare a strong defense.
  • Identifying potential defenses. Based on your circumstances, your attorney can elaborate more on immigration benefits and immigration laws. They will identify potential legal defenses or forms of relief that may be available to you. This could include asylum, cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, or voluntary departure. 
  • Gathering evidence. Your attorney will gather evidence to support your case. This may include documents, witness statements, expert opinions, and medical records.
  • Preparing you for testimony. Your attorney will coach you on how to effectively present your case in court. This includes understanding the rules of evidence and how to respond to questions from the immigration judge and opposing counsel.
  • Representing you in court. Your attorney will represent you at immigration court hearings, argue your case, and negotiate with the government on your behalf.

Remember, receiving an NTA is not the end of the road. With the help of a qualified immigration attorney, you can fight for your right to remain in the United States. Contact the Hacking Immigration Law today at 314-961-8200.

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