If you receive a Notice to Appear (NTA) as a foreign national, this is the first step taken by the U.S. Government in initiating deportation proceedings against you. This will happen following an investigation by the Homeland of Security and can be for any number of reasons. Commonly this may be as a result of the commission of a criminal offense or overstaying a visa.
If following the investigation the decision is to initiate deportation proceedings, you will be issued with a Notice to Appear. Below are some of the steps you should take if you are in this position.
You’ll be required to attend a hearing
You will be given a date to attend immigration court for a Master Calendar hearing which will be at least ten days from receipt of the notice. It’s important that you thoroughly read through the Notice to Appear before you attend this hearing as it will tell you the grounds on which the Department of Homeland Security is using to try and deport you. It will also give your current immigration status and if this is incorrect, you will need to state to the judge why you believe it to be wrong.
If you deny the charges, you’ll attend a merits hearing
This is where both you and the government are given the opportunity to give reasons for and against your removal. Prior to attending this hearing, there are a number of documents you’ll need to provide to the court, including an application for relief. This is important as failure to do this can mean you waive your right to a hearing.
Given the technicalities, tight timescales and heavy burden that falls on you in defending yourself following a Notice to Appeal, it’s important you have some experienced legal help on your side to guide you through the process.