What should I do if I receive a Notice to Appear or NTA for immigration court?

Receiving a Notice to Appear or NTA can be a frightening experience because a Notice to Appear indicates that you are facing an immigration court case and that you could be deported. The following tips should be helpful if you or someone you know receives an NTA and have an immigration case at the Arlington Immigration Court.

Review The NTA Carefully

The first thing that you should do if you receive a Notice To Appear is to carefully review it. You should first take a look at the section of the NTA that lists the facts about your background and immigration history. This section will normally lists facts about your country of citizenship, when you arrived in the United States, and any changes to your immigration status. You should also take a close look at the section that lists why you were issued the NTA. This section will typically list things such as whether you have overstayed your visa or if you have any criminal convictions that led to your immigration court case.

If there are any errors, even very small errors, you should take note of those errors. You should also take note of anything that you think is missing from your immigration history. Even small changes in facts can play a significant role in the outcome of an immigration court case, so you should make a list of any errors or omissions so that you can let your immigration lawyer know about them.

Find An Immigration Lawyer To Represent You In Your Immigration Court Case

An immigration court case is a very serious matter. Although it is considered to be a civil administrative hearing, the reality is that it more closely resembles a criminal court proceeding. In some cases, the consequences of an immigration court hearing can have more severe consequences than a criminal court case. With this in mind, you should find an immigration lawyer to represent you in your case.

An immigration lawyer will be able to advise you of what options you may have to fight deportation. In addition, your lawyer will know the proper court procedures to file any applications that you can file to fight being deported. More importantly, your immigration lawyer will know what evidence you need to submit with your application so that you can win your case.

If your case is at the Arlington Immigration Court, most likely because you are a resident of Virginia or your case began in Virginia, you will likely want to hire a Virginia immigration lawyer to represent you in your immigration court case. If you live a long distance from the Arlington Immigration Court, you should consider whether you want to hire an immigration lawyer located in Northern Virginia or one located closer to your home.

An immigration lawyer located in Northern Virginia may be more familiar with the Arlington Immigration Court and may not need to charge additional travel fees for appearing at your court hearings. It may be a longer drive for you to meet with your lawyer, but you will likely be able to schedule your appointments with your lawyer at a time that fits with your work schedule. You will also be able to work with your lawyer using the phone and email, making it even more convenient if your lawyer’s main office is located closer to the court instead of your home.

Collect The Information Your Lawyer Needs For Your Case

As soon as you receive your NTA, you should begin collecting any documents that you have that would help your immigration lawyer evaluate your case. These documents include:

  • Copies of your important documents such as your passport, visas, I-94 card, and green card
  • Copies of any immigration applications that you have filed in the past
  • Copies of any documents related to any convictions you have, such as police reports, court records or parole records
  • Copies of any documents you have that would help to show that you would face harm or persecution in your home country
  • Copies of any documents that would show that your United States citizen or permanent resident relatives would face extreme hardship if you are deported

Never Miss An Immigration Court Hearing

Whether you decide to hire an immigration lawyer to represent you or decide to represent yourself, you should make sure that you are always on time for every hearing. If you are late or miss your immigration court hearing, you will likely be ordered deported even though you were not present so that you could present your case. Your absence will not be excused because you didn’t allow enough time for travel, had trouble finding parking, or had trouble getting time off from work. Always be at every immigration court hearing on time.

If you have an immigration court case at the Arlington Immigration Court and would like to discuss your case with an immigration lawyer in Virginia, contact Kimberley Schaefer at Schaefer Immigration at (703) 662-3244.

About Kimberley Schaefer

Kimberley Schaefer is an immigration lawyer with client meeting locations in Fairfax, Virginia, Reston, Virginia and Washington DC. She helps future Americans become citizens by assisting them with immigrant visas, fiance visas, adjustment of status and green card applications, applying for immigration waivers, fighting deportation and applying for asylum. To contact her, you can call (703) 424-2979 or send Kimberley an email now.

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