What is a Notice to Appear?

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2023 | Immigration |

If you have overstayed a visa or entered the U.S. without one, you might worry about deportation. After all, according to the Immigrant Learning Center, immigration authorities deport thousands of individuals every single year. Many of these individuals first receive Notices to Appear, though.

An NTA is an official government document that effectively starts the deportation process. If you receive an NTA, the document should tell you when you must appear for a hearing before an immigration judge. Do not ignore this notice.

A list of charges

Most NTAs include a list of immigration-related charges. These charges are not criminal ones, though. Rather, they inform the named person about why the U.S. government believes he or she is not eligible to be in the country. Your document may have a single listed charge or multiple ones.

Your first hearing

Your NTA also should give you the time and location of your first hearing. Known as a master calendar hearing, this hearing may be only the first one you attend. Still, it is imperative not to miss the hearing, as an immigration judge can and will order your removal without your being present. If you cannot attend the hearing, you must reschedule it before the hearing date.

Your rights

Finally, your NTA should list a few rights you have, including your right to have an attorney with you during your immigration hearings. It is important to note, however, that the government does not pay for your legal counsel.

Ultimately, though, you might have rights that do not appear on your NTA, so it is critical to explore all your legal options as quickly as you can.