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Navigating through immigration court procedures requires some important information for individuals with pending cases. Imagine a world where being updated and ready is like having a secret weapon. As immigration rules and situations change, being in the loop and well-prepared is your superpower. Being informed isn’t just a perk, it’s what empowers you to make a difference!

Hearing Dates

Be prepared for hearing dates to change frequently. Although you should eventually get a hearing notice by mail, these notices often take a while to arrive. To stay in the loop about your upcoming hearings, it’s smart to keep an eye on your case status. This requires your A# – a special 9-digit number on your court documents. You’ve got two simple ways to check your case status, Both of these systems provide information about your upcoming hearing, including its date, time, and location, available in both English and Spanish.

Types of Hearings

Nowadays, many courts are using video or phone for hearings. If you’re not sure which format your hearing will follow, it’s wise to show up in person. To find out the specifics, just get in touch with the immigration court handling your case. Additional info about each immigration court can be found here: Operational Status Map.

⚠️WARNING⚠️ Remember, missing a hearing could lead to an order for your removal (deportation) from the United States. It’s absolutely vital to attend your hearings, whether they’re in person, via video, or on the phone.

Updating Address

Don’t forget, that the law requires you to keep your address current with the immigration court where your case is being heard. If your case is at an immigration court, fill out and submit Form EOIR-33IC to change your address. If it’s at the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), use Form EOIR-33BIA. You can grab both forms here: Downloadable EOIR Forms.

Court Closures

Sometimes, due to weather, COVID-19, or other reasons, immigration courts might temporarily close. If you want to find out whether an immigration court is open on your scheduled hearing day visit https://www.justice.gov/eoir-operational-status/operational-status-map.

Do I Have to Wear a Mask in Court?

Remember to follow any mask requirements in the area where the court is located. You can call the court to find out what these requirements are. Just use this link to find the phone number for the court handling your case: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/eoir-immigration-court-listing

Will I be provided with a lawyer for my removal (deportation) hearing in immigration court?

Immigrants appearing in immigration court have the right to a lawyer, but the government isn’t required to pay for the lawyer or make arrangements. A formal study on how foreign nationals get legal help in immigration cases actually shows that immigrants who have a lawyer are more likely to win. Immigrants who are in detention and have a lawyer are almost 11 times more likely to win their case compared to those without a lawyer. Similarly, immigrants who were never detained but had a lawyer are 5 times more likely to win their case.
Having a lawyer can make a big difference for immigrants dealing with deportation cases in immigration court. So, if you want the best outcome possible, working with an experienced immigration lawyer is a smart choice.

Nadine Heitz

Nadine Heitz is an immigration attorney in Lake Worth, Florida where she helps her clients obtain legal status in the United States. Book your consultation with her to find out how to solve your immigration issues and achieve your desired goals.