1) Service of the Notice - Keeping your adress updated: The notice is served by mail or personally. Because mailing is enough you should ALWAYS keep Immigration (CIS) uptdated with your adress. The NTA may also be served personally by an Immigration Officer.
2) Contents of the Notice - Allegations and Charges. The NTA will specify what actions sustain the removal charge or charges. It will always state that you are not as US Citizen and where you are a citizen or national of. The NTA will also specigy the transgressions against Immigration law that you are being accused of. Be familiar with this document.
WHO IS IN THE COURT - THE PLAYERS
1) The Judge (EOIR). The Judge is part of the Department of Justice so they do not really belong to "Immigration." They are Judges and have your life in their hands (Deportation (https://www.avvo.com/topics/immigration-holds-and-deportations) is quite a harsh punishment). Adress them properly as Judge or Your Honor.
2) The Trial Attorney (ICE). The Trial Attorneys belong to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of the Chief Counsel. Their job is to "prosecute" your case so it is important that you have proper counsel to assist you in this process.
3) The Clerk. The Clerk belongs to the EOIR and is there to assist the Judge with general information and support.
4) The Interpreter. Depending on your native language the Court will provide an interpreter at no cost to you.
1) The Master Hearing. This is your first hearing. Generally the Court will allow you to postpone this hearing, get a continuance, in order to aquire legal counsel. This will generally be done only one time. At this hearing you will adress the charges in the NTA and will also ask for relief (What is going to keep you from being deported. i.e. you are already a resident, the crime immigration says you were convicted of is not a removable offense, you are elegible for a waiver, etc..)
2) The Individual Hearing. At this hearing you will present your case to the Court. It may take several hours so be ready and prepared with your attorney.
THE DECISION AND APPEALS
Hopefully your decision is favorable and the Judge found in your favor. If the decision is negative you have 30 days to present an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia. Your appeal has to phisically be there on the 30th day or it will be late. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THIS POINT. Instead of appealing you may file a motion to reconsider within 30 days or a motion to reopen within 90 days. The decison as to which path to take should be made with your attorney as your rights will be affected by it.
CLEARLY THIS GUIDE IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR AN ATTORNEY. BE JUDICIOUS IN CHOSING ONE AND MAKE SURE HE OR SHE HAS AMPLE EXPERIENCE IN HANDLING REMOVAL CASES. NOT ALL LAWYERS ARE THE SAME AND NOT ALL IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS GO TO COURT.
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