What to Know Regarding an Immigration Court Venue Change?

When someone has been detained by U.S. Immigration patrols and is later released from detention, they will generally receive a Notice to Appear (“NTA”). Such document instructs the non-citizen to appear before an immigration judge on a certain date and/or location. Generally, the NTA will be issued to the immigration court that is closest to where the individual was arrested. If the arrest occurs away from relatives and friends, the non-citizen will likely be without familial support the day of the hearing. The most common question in situations like this, is whether the hearing can be moved to a different location where the non-citizen may have relatives and friends?

As mentioned above, the NTA will specifically list the location of the court to which the non-citizen must appear. While the usual procedure is to have the non-citizen appear to the court closest to the location where he or she was arrested, the non-citizen may have the opportunity to seek a change of venue (court location). The decision to change immigration court locations is ultimately up to the Immigration Judge presiding over the case. Factors that may influence the Immigration Judge’s decision could be the amount of times the case has been rescheduled already and whether the non-citizen has alternative options to remain in the United States.

The process of requesting an immigration court venue change will require the non-citizen to state the date and time of the next scheduled hearing. The request must also respond to the allegations set forth in the NTA. In the event that the case is denied, the non-citizen must name a country to which they will return to after the hearing.

The request to change venues must explain in detail what type of relief the non-citizen seeks from the immigration court. But most importantly, the request must set forth the reasons why the non-citizen seeks a different location from the one initially listed on the notice to appear. While many non-citizens request to move the hearing to an immigration court closer to relatives or friends for financial and emotional support, it is also possible to make such request in the event that the non-citizen has moved. However, if those are the grounds for the request, the Court will require the non-citizen to provide proof of the address change. The required form that needs to be submitted is the EOIR Form-33/IC.

The request asking for the change of venue must be made with the court where the hearing is currently scheduled. Such request must be filed by form of a motion which includes all requirements set by the Court and described in the Immigration Court Practice Manual. The drafting of the referenced motion and following court proceedings are complex and require an understanding of the details of immigration law. The well-seasoned immigration attorneys at Theus Law Offices are readily available to ease the process for you or someone you may know.

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