When You Receive a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court
It's overwhelming when you receive your first Notice to Appear in Immigration Court, but there are a few things you should check on it.
How to Check a Notice to AppearYou've just received a Notice to Appear (NTA). What do you do? First, check for your Alien Number (also called A# or "A Number"). Next, look at the bottom and see if there's a date and address set for your next hearing. The date may not be entered, and the address may not be the Immigration Court for your location. This is usually because you moved after receiving the NTA. No matter what the NTA says, you need to call the Immigration Court Hotline and verify the hearing date and location. The number is 1(800) 898-7180. When the machine answers, listen for the options and follow them. You want to get to the option to hear the next hearing date. If you hear a next hearing date and location, or if it is different from what is on the NTA, make a note of it. If the system says that there is no record found for that number, it usually means that ICE issued the NTA, but the Immigration Court has not had time to enter it into the system yet. You need to keep calling back until a date is listed. If the location is not the Immigration Court for the location of your nearest Immigration Court, and you do not wish to return to where your Master Calendar is scheduled, then you will need to file a Motion to Change Venue.
What to do if a Notice to Appear Has ErrorsYou may have to request a correction on the NTA. You can refuse to admit allegations in the NTA, such as an allegation that you were born in Mexico, if you reasonably believes that this is untrue, or may not be true. You can also refuse to admit your place of birth, identity, or other things on the NTA if you believe that the information was obtained unlawfully by the government. The government will be forced to prove any allegation that is not admitted. You may hear surprisingly wrong information from the government attorney, especially if your case differs from the typical procedure. You may have to take notes, and write a memorandum of understanding on the case for the government attorney and the court. The government attorney at the Master hearing may not be the attorney at the next Master or the Merits hearing, so in a complicated case this memo may be crucial for continuity. You do not want to have to rehash settled arguments over and over again. Explain what needs to be corrected on the NTA, and submit copies of any evidence you wish to use. Be very clear about how what information you would like the corrected NTA to contain. The court will likely mail the correction at a later date.