Messing Law Offices Arizona immigration lawyers
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Immigration Law
Tel: (520) 512-5432
Fax: (866) 641-2090
By John Messing

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Immigration Factoids ™
  Most J-1 visa's are subject to Section 212 (e) of the INA, which requires a visa holder to return home for two years at the conclusion of the stay in the United States. In 2009 a number of countries were removed from the Exchange Visitor Skills List . The removal relieves a J-1 visa holder from the two year requirement.

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Sample Notice to Appear

A Notice to Appear commences removal (deportation) proceedings against the person who is named in the Notice.

Learn about removal, deportation and inadmissibility proceedings.

Find out about immigration bonds.

A Notice to Appear is not effective until it has been served AND filed with the Immigration Court. Until it is filed, the Immigration Court lacks jurisdiction to order removal of a person from the United States.

front side of notice to appear

Sample of front of Notice to Appear


The grounds asserted by the Government to justify removing the Respondent from the country are listed on the front of the Notice to Appear. It is a list of charges. Any legal or factual errors in the allegations of the Notice to Appear can lead to termination of the proceedings unless amendment to the Notice to Appear is requested in time and allowed. Such amendments are routinely made by Government lawyers and granted by Immigration judges.

back side of notice to appear

Sample of back of Notice to Appear

In addition to filing the Notice to Appear in court, it must be served on the Respondent. This can be done by regular mail, certified mail or in person. If the person is not served, then the proceedings have no legal effect. However, where a Respondent has changed residence without notifying the Immigration authorities, arrival of the mail to the Respondent at the old address may be presumed in the absence of evidence to the contrary and an order of removal entered in absentia, that is, without knowledge or participation of the Respondent. (This is a good reason to keep the USCIS and Immigration Court aware of any change of residence.) Re-opening such proceedings to set aside the absentia order and for a hearing on the true facts and law presented by the case is not an easy matter and should be only be attempted with a competent and experienced immigration lawyer.

If an order of removal was entered against you or a loved without their knowledge or participation, and a decision should be taken whether to contest it, please contact Messing Law Offices to schedule a confidential initial consultation.

The eventual outcome of the removal proceedings can be 1. an order of deportation, 2. termination of the case, or 3. a grant of relief from removal. The last two possibilities constitute a win for the Respondent and allow a further period of time in which s/he is authorized to remain in the United States. Either the Respondent or the Government can appeal a removal decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals can be reviewed by petition to the federal circuit court of appeals for the geographic area in which the deportation proceedings were held.

Often while in removal the respondent is entitled to employment authorization, which allows a respondent to work legally and save money while the case is proceeding through the immigration courts. If you have received have questions about whether you can obtain employment authorization, please contact Messing Law Offices for a free seven minute telephonic consultation or to schedule an initial consultation.

To apply for employment authorization, consult the forms section of the USCIS website.

If you have received a Notice to Appear and are unsure of what to do next, please contact Messing Law Offices for a free seven minute telephonic consultation or to schedule an initial consultation.

Expedited Removal without a Notice to Appear

In some cases, removal can be effectuated administratively by the Government without a hearing before an Immigration Judge, in which case, a Notice to Appear does not issue.

Section by Section Discussion of the Notice to Appear by John H. Messing, Messing Law Offices, Arizona immigration lawyer

Below appears the same sample of a Notice to Appear, this time with the various sections highlighted in different colors, for greater clarity.

front of notice to appear, highlighted

Displayed blanks in grey in the sample form to the left normally contain information specific to the Respondent in the removal proceeding.

The portion of the Notice to Appear that is highlighted in yellow describes how the person entered the country. The first refers to someone who is given the Notice at or near the time of entry into the country. The second refers to a person who was not lawfully admitted by an immigration official, and the third is someone who came in legally but whose authorization to remain expired or was lost. In the sample, the third box is checked, indicating that the Respondent was lawfully admitted but lawful status expired.

The portion of the Notice to Appear that appears in orange contains more specific allegations. Because this Respondent overstayed his or her visa, the allegations in the sample state: 1. the Respondent is not American, 2. the Respondent is a native of a particular country and a citizen of a certain country (these may or may not be identical), 3. The date of admission, category of admission (e.g., visitor, student, immigrant, etc.), and date upon which authorization was set to expire, and 4. an allegation that the Respondent stayed beyond the date of expiration without legal authorization. The Government must prove the allegations.

The portion of the notice that is highlighted in green contains very important information as to the hearing date, place and time. Sometimes, the hearing will be set at a later time. In that case a second notice setting the date, place and time will issue. It is important to receive such a second notice and to make sure that any change of residence in the meantime is accompanied by a timely notice to the Immigration Court.

If a date, place and time is noticed, it is very important to dress, appear at least 30 minutes before the appointed time and act appropriately in court.

If the Respondent fails to appear, a removal order may be entered in absentia. If a Respondent is present but not represented and expresses a desire to be represented by a lawyer to the Immigration Judge, often a continuance is granted for this purpose. If the Respondent is in custody, typically the first hearing addresses whether the Respondent is eligible for release on bond. Where a Notice to Appear is served by regular or certified mail, the Government does not normally seek detention and the person remains free on his or her own recognizance, absent a change of circumstances such as an arrest.

back of notice to appear, highlighted
The back of the Notice to Appear contains information in the form of a Notice to Respondent advising of certain rights. They should be reviewed carefully with the help of an attorney for the meanings of any technical terms.
The portion of the Notice to Appear that is highlighted in blue is useful to alien who is presented with the form while in custody or being taken into custody since it provides that an expedited hearing will be held, without waiting 10 days as may be otherwise legally required. The use of this request form should be balanced against a need for an attorney at all stages of the proceedings and should only be invoked if an attorney has already been retained and is ready for a quick hearing.

The portion of the Notice to Appear that is highlighted in purple states how service of process was made on the Respondent by the immigration enforcement officials. While in this sample the notice was sent by regular mail, in many cases the officials prefer to serve the Notice in person to a Respondent, and have the Respondent sign for the Notice to Appear. Such a procedure avoids any argument later in court about whether the Respondent received notice of the proceedings.

Where the Respondent expresses a fear of persecution by returning to his or her country, the officials are required to assess whether the fear is reasonable and credible, in which case the Respondent may be referred for political asylum prior to being processed for removal.

Each immigration court maintains a list of organizations and attorneys who have volunteered to provide free legal services to Respondents. In the sample, the box was checked showing that the list was sent along with the Notice.

Tucson Permanent Residency Attorney: Family, Labor, Business-based Immigration Lawyer 

At Messing Law Offices, we provide high quality legal services and expertise to families, working men and women, and businesses. If you have a concern in the areas of family based immigration, business based immigration, employment based immigration, or naturalization and you are seeking the help of an experienced immigration lawyer, call Messing Law Offices for professional Arizona immigration attorney assistance.

John Messing has been reappointed the Liaison from the American Bar Association (SciTech Section) to United States Citizenship & Immigration Services 2010-2012. Read the October 2011 Report on the USCIS proposed Transform E-filing System by John Messing, Tucson immigration lawyer.

Messing Law Offices  accepts payments through Visa, Mastercard, Discovery and American Express credit cards, and Paypal
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Copyright JHM 2007-15

Corporate Intl Magazine Legal Awards Winner 2015 for top Arizona immigration law firm Winner of the Corporate Intl Magazine Legal Award for ‘Immigration Law Firm of the Year in Arizona for two years running. American Immigration Lawyers Association American Immigration Lawyers 2015 Member

Here are some representative client testimonials:

SaMa - Feb 9, 2011
"Smart ,honnest, compassionate, great understanding of the immigration laws. john messing is the best lawyer you can get."

Leah - Sep 1, 2010
An exceptional immigration attorney Mr. Messing helped me sponsor my husband to come to the U.S. from France. Even though I was missing some of the income qualifications he found every possible solution to get us through the process successfully. I am very impressed with how smooth he made this process for us and quick w were approved by USCIS! We will be using him again in the future to apply for citizenship. I highly recommend Law Offices."

These and more testimonials can be viewed here

Messing Law Offices, P.L.C., based in Tucson, Arizona, provides immigration and naturalization attorney services to Eloy, Florence, Nogales, Sierra Vista, Tucson and Yuma as well as Coconino County, Gila County, Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County and Yavapai County. Immigration services also offered in San Diego and Southern California.

tel.: 520-512-5432
. Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), American Bar Association (ABA).

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