The Notice to Appear (NTA)

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Notice to Appear starts Deportation Process



Immigration Proceedings

You will never be in immigration court without a Notice to Appear or NTA for short being issued.

The Notice to Appear in Immigration Court deportation proceedings is like an indictment in criminal court. It will state why the government believes you are deportable or removeable and why you must be deported. It will list how you entered the U.S., what your status is and why you are inadmissible.

It is what is known as the charging document. This means in actuality that a division of Immigration will prepare it and serve it upon you. They will then get it filed in Immigration Court. Immigration Court will then send you notice of when your first Deportation Hearing will be and where the Immigration Court is located.

The NTA is issued for anyone who will begin and be placed in removal proceedings. It is the legal process which starts the deportation and whether or not the government can legally deport you.

The NTA is not issued to go to a civil court or criminal court, but only for removal proceedings in an immigration court.

Past Criminal History

Many times the reason an NTA is issued is because you have committed a crime and either are finishing your criminal sentence or were previously released and U.S. Immigration now has the information. On the NTA – Notice to Appear, it will specifically list the sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act which make one deportable.

For example, let’s say somebody committed some theft crime with a sentence of 8 months. This would most likely make them deportable under U.S. Immigration Law and they would then be issued a Notice to Appear. Keep in mind that the NTA does not by itself mean that you will automatically be deported. That is the very reason for the immigration court in the first place. It is to try to fight the deportation and to determine if you have any relief available to you. Such relief might be cancellation of removal, asylum, adjustment of status, registry, waivers and so on.

Burden of Proof is on U.S. Immigration

Many times U.S. Immigration will try to shift the burden in removal proceedings. They will try to get you to admit to the crime committed. This is not proper (which is why you should have a deportation attorney representing you in Immigration Court). The charging document will list the crimes. However, it is their burden to provide evidence you actually committed those crimes and were convicted of those crimes. Even if the Immigration Judge in Court asks you whether you ‘committed’ those crimes, it should not be answered as the Immigration Judge does not have the power to shift the legal burden of what must be proven. If U.S. Immigration cannot properly show you have committed those crimes, then the case could be terminated by the Immigration Judge and you may not be deported.

Due Process
Due Process is Key for Removal Proceedings and the NTA

Notice of Deportation Proceedings is Key to Due Process

You must have proper notice of your hearing. Otherwise, you could get an order for deportation in absentia and be physically deported from the U.S. without ever seeing the Notice to Appear and without ever having your ‘day in Court’. Thus, if you do find this happened, you should contact a deportation lawyer right away to see if a Motion to Reopen can be done.

By Brian D. Lerner, Immigration Lawyer & Deportation Attorney

I am an Immigration Attorney I help with all US Immigration Law. Please see my profile at I have been a licensed attorney since 1992 and started the Law Offices of Brian D. Lerner, APC. My practice consists of Immigration and Nationality Law and everything involved with and regarding immigration and deportation and citizenship. Regarding Immigration Law, in 2000, I passed a rigorous examination and extensive experience requirements by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. Iam now about 1 of only 150 Certified Specialists in Immigration and Nationality Law from a field of almost 200,000 attorneys. The Immigration Law part of the Law Offices of Brian D. Lerner, APC handles cases arising from business visas, work permits, Green Cards, non-immigrant visas, deportation, citizenship, appeals and all areas of immigration. The Law Offices of Brian D. Lerner, APC does EB-5 Investor Visas, H-1B Specialty Occupation, L-1 Intracompany Transferee, E-2 Treaty Investor, E-1 Treaty Trader, O-1 Extraordinary Ability among others. We also do K-1 Fiancee and K-3 Spouse Visas. Regarding immigrant visas for the Green Card, we do PERM and advanced degree PERM, Family Petitions, and Extraordinary Alien Petitions. In addition to affirmative petitions, we represent people in people in deportation and removal hearings, including political asylum, withholding of removal, and convention against torture cases. I received my B.S. Degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis on Computer Information Systems, from the University of Southern California. I graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law with a Juris Doctorate degree. I have argued Petitions for Review and direct appeals all over the U.S. I am admitted to the United States Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st - 11th Circuits. Please send me a note with your questions and I will be happy to help. The Law Offices of Brian D. Lerner, APC helps people from all over California, the United States and the world. Specialties:Immigration Attorney, Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law Our national deportation law firm will help with any removal case anywhere in the U.S. Our deportation attorneys have been providing deportation defense for nearly 30 years. Our immigration attorneys will appear with you in all immigration court appearances. Of course this will include the initial or master calendar hearing. Laws and regulations are changing all the time. Winning a deportation hearing takes years of experience. There are multiple grounds on what makes you removable from the U.S. If you are in immigration detention, our national immigration law firm can prepare and argue a motion for bond redetermination to get you out. We can also argue and submit during trial all the necessary evidence to try to win a cancellation of removal case. Even if you lose in immigration court, we can try to appeal the case to the board of immigration appeals.

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