Topics on this page:
If you disagree with the Immigration Judge's decision, you can ask the Board of Immigration Appeals to review the decision. You must file the appeal within 30 days of the judge's decision.
Read the Department of Justice's Self-Help Guide: What if You Disagree with the Judge's Decision.
Are you scared to return to your home country because you have been harmed by someone in the past and/or fear that someone will harm you if forced to return there in the future? If so, you may be eligible to apply for asylum. Asylum is a form of protection that allows you to remain in the United States. Generally, you must apply for asylum within one year of your last entry, although there are exceptions such as being in valid status or other circumstances. You may also apply for certain family members to remain here with you or join you from abroad once you have obtained asylum. Asylum also allows you to work legally and, after one year, to apply for a green card.
Read the Self-Help Guide: I’m Afraid to Go Back: A Guide to Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and The Convention Against Torture
If you know someone who is being held in ICE custody, they may be able to be released by paying a bond. “Posting a bond” is paying an amount of money, set by ICE or an immigration judge, to the government to release the immigrant while he or she awaits a hearing. The government keeps the money until all of the immigrant’s hearings are finished. The money is then returned to the person who posted the bond.
You need to have lawful immigration status and be able to provide the immigrant’s last name and alien registration number (A-number) to post a bond.
Read the Self-Help Guide: Do You Need to Post a Bond?
Cancellation of Removal for Nonpermanent Residents (42B)
Immigrants have the right to defend themselves in removal (“deportation”) court proceedings. Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents is one type of defense in deportation proceedings that, if granted, leads to a greencard or lawful permanent residence. To be eligible, applicants must show that they:
- have lived continuously in the United States for at least ten years prior to being placed in proceedings (with exceptions);
- have a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, child or parent;
- can show that their qualifying relative would suffer severe hardship if they were deported (“exceptional and extremely unusual hardship”);
- have good moral character; and,
- are not disqualified by their criminal history. These materials explain how to apply for Cancellation of Removal and how to collect the necessary evidence to win your case.
Change of Address and Change of Venue
When you move, make sure to change your address. If you move or change your phone number, you must file Form EOIR – 33/IC with the Immigration Court and with the Office of the Chief Counsel for the DHS (U.S. ICE) within 5 working days of when the change took place. This is the only acceptable way that will change your address.
Read the Self-Help Guide: Have You Moved? Do You Need to Move Your Case?
Missing a hearing in immigration court (also called “deportation” or “removal” proceedings) has serious consequences. When immigrants miss their immigration court hearings, the immigration judges may order individuals removed (“deported”) in their absence. If you missed your hearing because (1) you did not know when or where your hearing was scheduled; or (2) for some other serious reason, you may be eligible to reopen your case. These materials explain steps you can take if you missed your hearing to have a judge re-consider your case.
Notice to Appear
If you received a form that says, “Notice to Appear,” it is the government’s way of explaining why they want to deport you. The form, also known as an “NTA,” includes some very important information for you and your attorney, if you have one.
The first part of the NTA starts with “In the Matter of.” This section includes general facts the government is alleging about you. It always includes your name and address. It usually includes which country you come from, when you came to the United States and how you came to the United States. If the general facts are wrong, you should say that to the judge at your hearing.
The second section starts with “On the basis of the foregoing.” In this section, the government explains what part of the immigration law they are using to charge you. You will either be charged with “inadmissibility” under Section 212 of the Immigration Nationality Act or “removability” under Section 237 of the Immigration Nationality Act. You have the opportunity to explain why these charges don’t apply to you at your hearing.
The hearing that has been mentioned is scheduled in the last section of the NTA. This is the most important section for you. It starts with “YOU ARE ORDERED.” Immediately after this heading, the government lists your hearing date and the address of the court you must go to. It is incredibly important that you go the court that is listed on the indicated date and at the indicated time. If you do not go, you will not have to chance to defend yourself, and the court will hold your hearing without you.
Have you ever been forced against your will to perform labor or a sex act? The T visa is a legal immigration status that allows victims of human trafficking to remain in the United States for up to 4 years if they have assisted law enforcement in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. You might also be able to obtain immigration status for certain members of your family. If you obtain the T visa, you may be eligible to work and obtain certain public benefits. T visa holders may also be eligible to apply for their green card.
Voluntary Departure allows non citizens to leave the United States to avoid the consequences of a Removal (“deportation”) Order, which generally means having a prohibition to return to the United States for 10 years. You must be able to: 1) show that you are a good person, 2) travel at your own expense and 3) prove that you departed the U.S. BEFORE the date indicated in the Voluntary Departure Order. You can ask for Voluntary Departure at the beginning of your removal case instead of applying for any other relief and you can ask for a maximum of 120 days to prepare and depart. If you apply for relief and the judge denies your case, you will be required to pay a bond within 5 business days of the final Order and you will be given a shorter period of time to leave the U.S. (and be able to prove that you departed on time). If you do not obey the judge and do not depart on time, the Voluntary Departure Order will automatically become a Removal Order and you can have fines of up to $5000 and prevented from other immigration relief for 10 years.