After being served an NTA, attending your court hearing for removal proceeding is a top priority. The notice to appear is very specific about date, time and place of your removal hearing in an immigration court. If by any reason you are not able to attend court hearing do not panic.
Many foreigners have felt stuck because for one reason or another they are unable to attend their removal proceeding court hearing due to an emergency such as; a critical family matter or medical reason. Regardless of the situation there is something that can be done to help you overcome your circumstance.
You can petition to have your court hearing rescheduled. Rescheduling may entail filing legal paperwork which is known as a Motion for Continuance. The immigration judge has all authority to accept or deny such motion, just be mindful that you might be taking an extra risks when rescheduling your court hearing.
Requesting to reschedule may require the assistance of a professional immigration attorney as well as with handling your immigration court case.
Continuances Granted for Unique Circumstances
In most cases, Immigration judges will administer a continuance solely on the unique facts provided by foreigner. The immigrant or the immigration attorney must provide a written motion, detailing why rescheduling is necessary.
What works in your favor is if you provide fundamental supporting evidence that explains why you have a valid reason requesting for a continuance. Supporting documents may include a medical note from doctor explaining your medical health condition.
You are more favorably inclined to receive a continuance if you can show that you or immediate family members will suffer extreme hardship if you appear at your court hearing during the scheduled date and time.
Consider this example, if you or an immediate family member is scheduled for surgery the day of your scheduled court hearing, then you stand a better chance at receiving a continuance. If this is your first time asking for a continuance, you also have a better chance.
However, if you cannot attend court hearing simply because you have to work or had no time to prepare for your hearing you will not get continuance.
What is the Best Time to File a Motion for Continuance
Filing a motion for continuance as early as possible works on your best interest; before your original scheduled court hearing. Although you may not have the control to choose your own court date be free to indicate any specific dates in your motion that are convenient for you.
Failure to follow procedures, deadlines and filing stipulations to your immigration judge, and failing to send a copy of your motion for continuance to the government trial attorney will result in a denial.
Attend your Removal Hearing if the Continuance was not been Issued
If your motion for continuance has not been issued or is still pending you are obligated to attend your first removal court hearing. Your negligence to attend removal hearing will only result in an Order of Removal in Absentia.
An executive order of removal in absentia cannot be appealed. You might have an option to petition for a motion to reopen the final decision of the immigration judge but be mindful that it will be difficult getting your case reopened.
This is why it is very important to present yourself at your removal hearing on time. Make sure you plan ahead and give yourself the appropriate time to prepare. If you show up late an immigration judge will order you removed in absentia.
What to Expect if Motion for Continuance is Granted
Once you obtain your motion for continuance be prepared to receive an order granting your motion to continue. Normally, rescheduling a removal proceeding court hearing can take about a month from the initial court date.
Make note that an immigration judge may take up to several months to reschedule court date because of other matters that need to be attended in court.
Applying for a continuance of motion is a process and may take a while to receive a rescheduled court date. It is best to consult with an immigration attorney, because they understand the system. The Gambacorta Law Office is ready to assist you. Call us at 847-443-9303 for an office appointment today!