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What you should know about the Notice to Appear

A Notice to Appear is a document that the Department of Homeland Security issues to begin removal proceedings against a noncitizen. If you receive a notice, you might wonder what that means for you going forward.

There are a few things you should understand.

The details of the notice

The notice you receive will include important information about your case. It identifies the nature of the proceedings, such as removal, as well as the action or conduct that triggered the notice. It also includes information about the specific charges against you and the provisions they claim you violated. Finally, it also provides the date, time and location of the hearing.

The potential consequences

A Notice to Appear serves as a summons for you to appear in court. Failure to appear at the scheduled hearing could result in an order of removal in absentia. This could bar you from any relief from removal for years.

When you appear at the hearing, the judge assesses the charges and the evidence before determining if you should face removal. You might have options for relief from removal depending upon the circumstances.

The basics of your response

Unlike many court documents, you have no obligation to respond to a Notice to Appear before the hearing. You can take the time before the hearing to focus on understanding the allegations and gathering evidence to support your defense.

The Department of Homeland Security reported a 110% increase in the number of Notice to Appear filings in 2019 over 2018. This reflects a more proactive approach on the part of the government. This makes it important for immigrants to understand the basics of these forms and what the proceedings could mean for them.