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Archives: June 2014

Notice to Appear and Proof of Removability

In the immigration law context, a Notice to Appear (NTA) is a form that an alien in the United States receives from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to appear in an immigration court to respond to allegations that she has violated immigration law.  ICE is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  The form will have the alien’s identity, the factual allegations supporting the violation and the charge(s).  At the bottom will be the date that the alien is to appear in court.  In general, it will state that the alien will appear in court at a date to be set.

Notice to appear sample

It sometimes takes several months for the alien to receive a specific court date after receiving the notice to appear.  But no matter how long, the alien, in most cases, will receive the specific court date.

The alien must do everything she can to appear in immigration court on her scheduled date.  The first appearance is called the Master Calendar hearing. If the alien fails to appear, she could be ordered removed in her absence, and the removal is final, except there is a good reason to change the order.

When an alien receives a notice to appear, it is very important that she seeks advice and representation from an experienced immigration attorney. The alien should do so especially if she wants to avert the removal, and even if removed, be able to return to the United States in the future.

Notice to appear (rock and bridge)

Before the Master Calendar hearing, the alien must make sure that she understands the reasons ICE claims that she is removable, and the meaning and consequences of the allegation and charges against her and how to answer them.

At the first hearing, the alien can ask the immigration judge for more time to think about the cause against her or start addressing them that very day.  For the hearing to be postponed, the alien has to give a good reason to the court.  Where the alien has chosen to address the cause in the first hearing, she can admit or deny the allegations and charges.  But in doing so, she should make sure that she fully understands what she is admitting or denying because a mistake could have costly consequences.

If the alien believes that one or more factual allegations and charges are inaccurate or baseless, and she denies them, she has, in effect, challenged the reasons that ICE claims that she is removable, and ICE will then have the burden or responsibility to prove that she is removable based on the factual allegations and charges.  Where this is the case, the court should adjourn the proceeding and schedule a date for the removability hearing.  In the hearing, ICE will present evidence to prove that the alien is removable. Though it is ICE’s burden to prove that the alien is removable, it is very advisable that the alien cross-examines the government’s evidence supporting her removability.  If the government fails to prove that the alien is removable, the factual allegations and charges and the removal proceedings are dismissed and terminated.

notice to appear (arrest)

If, on the other hand, the government proves that the alien is removable, the court will sustain the allegations and charges.  At this point, the proceedings will move to the relief stage.  This is where the alien accepts the government’s factual allegations and charges, but tells the court that that she has relief that will help her stay in the United States, and even get a Green Card.  If the alien says that she is eligible for one or more relief, the court will adjourn the proceedings to give her time to prepare the relief application.  If there is no relief for which the alien is eligible, and the alien does not qualify for voluntary departure, she will be ordered removed from the United States.

notice to appear (land of liberty)

At another scheduled Master Calendar hearing, the alien will file her relief application, and the case will be set for a hearing in which she will defend her eligibility for the relief.  When the relief is approved, she will be granted the immigration benefit for which she applied.  If the relief is denied, she may be ordered removed.

Swaray Law Office believes that no alien who wants to continue to reside, make a living and the United States her home should be removed.  If you or your relative is in a tough removal proceeding and looking for a competent attorney to fight for you, contact us for an aggressive and competent representation.

DACA Renewal

On June 4, 2014, acting USCIS director Lori Scialabba, held a teleconference to discuss the DACA renewal process.  On the same day, the Service published a revised Form I-821D, the DACA application form, on which current DACA beneficiaries and those interested in the benefit for the first time can apply.  Current DACA recipients are to submit their renewal request approximately 120 days before their DACA and employment authorization expires.


DACA is an immigration relief granted to people from other countries who entered the United States as children and meet certain USCIS prescribed guidelines.  The Obama administration created the relief in June of 2012.  It was initially for two years, and at the end of which, it is subject to renewal.

If you are a current DACA recipient or interested in the benefit for the first time, please schedule an appointment with Swaray Law Office to know whether you are eligilble, and how you can appply.

Green Cards for Diplomats and International Organization Representatives

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues visas to diplomats and international organization officers and employees that enter the United States to perfom official duties on behalf of their governments or international organizations.  These visas are known as the A and G visas.

Diplomat AU 4

The A visas are are of three types — A-1, A-2 and A-3 visas.  A-1 and A-2s are issued to government officials and their family members while A-3s are issued to their personal employees, attendants or domestic workers.

To qualify for an A-1 visa, the diplomat must be a head of state or government; or a government officer that serves at a foreign embassy or consulate; or a cabinet member coming for official activities; or a European Union or African Union delegation representative.

An immediate family member can also be granted the visa. Immediate family members are the spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of any age that are members of his household and those that regularly reside in the household with benefits and rights associated with the diplomat, such as official passport or travel and the like.  Additonally, any other person related to the diplomat or his spouse by blood, marriage or adoption or a his domestic partner and a relative by blood, marriage or adoption of the domestic partner can be an immediate relative.

To qualify for an A-2 visa, the diplomat must be a full-time government employee entering the United States to work at a foreign embassy or consulate or to perform embassy related duties; or a government officer entering the United States upon a written request of his country to perform official government duties; or a foreign military member stationed at a US military base; or assigned to a foreign embassy or consulate in the United States; or a European Union or African Union delegation representative, and their immediate family members.

To qualify for an A-3 visa, the personal employee, attendant, domestic worker or servant must prove that he is qualified for the job that he is coming to the United States to do and that the wage offered him is self-supporting and comparable to that offered for the same employment in the United States.

Diplomat lady 3

The USCIS issues G visas to international organization representatives and their family members, and are of four types, which are G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4.  G-1 visas are issued to permanent mission members of a recognized government entering the United States to serve in an international organization.  G-2 visas are issued to representatives of a recognized governmental officer traveling to the United States temporarily to attend meetings of a designated organization.  G-3 visas are issued to representatives of non-recognized or non-member governments while G-4 visas are issued to individuals entering the United States to take up appointments into designated international organizations including the United Nations.

diplomat 2 black car

Diplomats and international organization visa holders can adjust their statuses to Green Card holders in the United States.  To adjust, however, they must waive their diplomatic privileges, immunities and rights and reside and work in the United States just like any other permanent resident.  The adjustment is done in one of three ways:

The first is through qualifying relatives.  Here, the diplomat or international government officer uses a family or employment opportunity to adjust his status from diplomat or international orgnization officer to a Green Card holder.

The second is adjustment under what is known as a Special Green Card.  The diplomat or international orgnization officer qualifies for this visa if he fails to maintain his diplomatic status and is unable to return to his home country due to compelling reasons.  He must also demonstrate that he has good moral character, and admissible to the United States. The officer’s family members can also enter as dependents.  This adjustment type is, historically, very rare, and often tied to promoting the United States national interest.  In fact, only 50 of these visas are granted yearly.

Diplomat 1 world map

There is a third adjustment opportunity that is specifically open to only former international organization employees.  To qualify, the employee must have lived in the United States on the G visa for at least 15 years before retirement, and must apply for the visa in no later than six months after retirement.  The officer’s employees as well as spouses of deceased international organization officers may independently qualify for the Green Card, and if qualified, must apply for the visa no later than six months after the death of the officer.  Unmarried sons and  daughters of current or former international organization officers or employees are also independently eligible for the Green Card if they have lived in the United States on a G visa for at least seven years before ages five and twenty-one and apply for the visa before they are twenty-five years old.

The information in this blog is not intended to be a legal advice to the reader. For more information and legal assistance with adjusting from a diplomatic or international organization visa to a Green card status, contact an attorney at Swaray Law Office.  We have adjusted the statuses of many dipolmats and international organization officers from around the world serving in the United States.