What Is a Notice of Appearance (NTA) and What Does It Mean for Immigrants Who Receive It?

The Notice of Appearance (NTA) is a document that can be issued by agencies such as the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service of the United States (ICE) or by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to a foreigner to inform them that a deportation process has been initiated against them.

The NTA is a subpoena to appear before an immigration judge where you can accept or reject accusations for which the United States government justifies the application for removal of an immigrant.

A Notice of Appearance (NTA) must inform the alien of:

  • The nature of the procedure
  • The alleged reasons for expulsion
  • The person’s right to hire an attorney and
  • The consequences of not appearing at scheduled hearings.

If you receive a notice to appear, the situation is delicate, but do not assume that it is a desperate situation.

The law states that at least ten days must elapse between the notification of the NTA and the first scheduled judicial hearing, and there you will have the opportunity to present a defense to the judge.

Immigration law in the United States is complicated, so the advice of an immigration attorney can be the difference between leaving or staying.

An immigration attorney can help you prepare for that first hearing, where you must tell the immigration judge if you want to apply for any type of “relief” against deportation.


If it is established that you received the NTA and the notice of the hearing, and do not appear, the immigration judge will issue a final order of expulsion in your absence.

Receiving an expulsion order means that you will not be able to have any immigration relief for the next 10 years.


It is the first hearing in the Immigration Court process. In this first hearing, the immigration authorities will present the charges against the immigrant and will also communicate their rights.

An immigration attorney can help you prepare for this first hearing, which is where you should tell the immigration judge if you want to file an application to apply for any type of “relief” against deportation.

If you do not file the application or notify the judge that you are preparing one, you will be given a deportation or voluntary departure order at your preliminary hearing.


If you are eligible to apply to stay in the United States, you will have an individual hearing.

At the individual hearing, you can present evidence and testimony that you must remain in the United States.

Your immigration application could be based on a family relationship, fear of harm in your home country, or your time living in the United States.

In the end, the judge will approve or deny your request verbally or in writing.

You can always appeal the judge’s decision if your request is denied.

An immigration attorney can guide you to find forms of relief that apply to your particular case if you are in deportation proceedings.

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