Checking your immigration court date is absolutely critical. Immigration laws say that if a person misses a court hearing that they can automatically be given a deportation order. This is why it’s so important to know when and where you have to be for your immigration court hearing.
Starting recently, you can check your immigration court date online, but it’s best to confirm your court date using multiple methods. Read below to find out the four best options for checking the date, time, and place of your immigration court hearing.
Option #1: Check Your Immigration Court Hearing Date Online
To check your immigration court hearing date online, you need to visit the EOIR Automated Case Information page. When you go visit this page, you’ll need to enter your A-number. This is a 9-digit number, preceded by an “A.” If your A-number has only 8 digits, then first enter a zero.
Once you plug in your alien number into the Automated Case Information page, you’ll see 4 boxes containing the following categories of information:
- Next Hearing Information
- Decision and Motion Information
- Case Appeal Information
- Court Contact Information
Here’s what it looks like:
A word of caution: as with all government databases, you can’t trust everything you see. The immigration court information online may not be current, and it may not have been entered correctly. Mistakes happen.
That’s why it’s important to check your immigration hearing date in multiple ways — not just one.
Read on to learn about your other options.
Option #2: Use the Automated Immigration Court Hotline
There are a few ways to check your immigration court date. The first option is to call the immigration court hotline at 1-800-898-7180. When you call, you will be given a menu. (For English, press 1. For Spanish, press 2.)
After you choose a language you’ll be asked to input your alien number. This number is the identification number that immigration gives you and you will need it any time you ask for information about your case. This can be found on almost any immigration document you have.
The alien number is 9 digits long. An example of what an alien number looks like is A 200 123 456). Sometimes, when you have been given an alien number long ago, you will have 8 digits. If that’s the case then you’ll need to punch in a 0 before inputting the rest of the numbers.
So, returning to the phone system, here are the first steps that you will complete:
- As stated above, select a language (For English, press 1. For Spanish, press 2.)
- After selecting a language, you will enter your alien number.
- Press 1 to confirm the alien number. If you got it wrong, press 2 and reenter the alien number.
- Next you’ll be asked to confirm your name. Your name will be spelled out. Press 1 to confirm if you hear your name spelled out
After you have completed these steps and confirmed you’re in the system, you’ll be given 4 options:
- Press 1 for your next hearing date
- Press 2 for case processing information
- Press 3 for decision information
- Press 4 for case appeal information
Here is what you will learn and won’t from each of these options:
Press 1 for Your Immigration Court Hearing Date
When checking the status of your next immigration court hearing, there are some important things to keep in mind.
- By pressing 1, you can find out the date of the removal hearing. A removal hearing is not a hearing where you get arrested. It’s just a type of hearing where an immigration judge decides whether you should be removed from the country. By showing up for your removal hearing, you have a chance to fight your case.
- Sometimes when you check your court date on the hotline, it will tell you that you do not have a hearing date scheduled. This could happen for many reasons. For example, you may have just recently been placed in removal proceedings and you don’t have a scheduled a hearing date. It could also mean that your hearing date was moved and the court staff is still working on giving you a new date. It could also mean that there are not going to be any future dates, because your case has been resolved. In the worst-case scenario, for example, you missed a court date and got a deportation order.
- It’s important to know that you won’t get information on bond hearing dates. A bond hearing is one of two types of immigration court hearings. At bond hearings, the immigration judge decides whether you or your loved one can get out of jail by paying a bond. The court hotline will not tell you the date of a bond hearing.
Press 2 for “Case Processing Information”
When you press 2, you’ll learn “case processing information.” This usually refers to one thing — your asylum clock. If you don’t have an asylum case, then don’t worry about this.
If you did file for asylum, you will find out the number of days that the immigration court believes your asylum application has been pending. This is important because if your asylum application was pending for at least 150 days, you can apply for a work permit. Keep in mind that just because the court says you have a certain number of days on your clock, it does not mean that it’s correct. Sometimes you have to take action to fix the clock, if you are trying to get a work permit as fast as possible.
Press 3 for Decision Information
Here you will learn whether the immigration judge has made a final decision in your case. If you have not been to a hearing yet, there will not be a decision and so the system will not have information to share. But if you have completed your case, you will find out the immigration judge’s decision. (You should already know the immigration judge’s decision if you appeared in court.)
There are several types of decisions an immigration judge can make. Here are some common examples.
- The Immigration Judge terminated your case. This is a good thing. This is where the immigration judge decided to dismiss your case.
- The Immigration Judge gave you a removal order. This is a bad thing. The immigration judge decided to order that you be removed to a designated country. If you are unlucky enough to get this news, pay close attention to the exact date on which the immigration judge issued the order. If you told the immigration judge that you wanted to appeal his decision, or if you expressed that you may want to appeal it, then you’ll have 30 days from the date of his decision to file a notice of appeal.
- The Immigration Judge administratively closed your case. Sometimes the phone system will say that an “administrative decision” was made in your case. This is simply where your case is taken off the calendar. Sometimes it happens when you have some sort of application pending outside of immigration court, and the immigration judge wants to wait until this application is decided before moving forward with your case. In the past, cases were administratively closed when the government no longer wished to deport someone. Getting an administrative closure can be good and bad, but it is certainly better than getting a deportation order.
- The Immigration Judge granted relief to allow you to stay in the U.S. This is great news. It means that you applied for some sort of relief from deportation — you asked the government not to deport you based on an application you filed — and you won. If you were granted relief, you do not have to worry about being deported, unless the government appealed the decision of the immigration judge.
- The immigration judge affirmed the decision of the asylum officer. Don’t expect to get this decision unless you or your loved one is in a very special type of proceeding, called credible fear proceedings (or reasonable fear proceedings). This is only in specific situations, like when you are caught near the border, or if you have a prior deportation order.
Under Decision Information, you’ll also find out if there is a deadline for filing an appeal. So, for example, if either you or the government did not agree with the judge’s decision, the system will tell you the date by which to file a paper called a Notice of Appeal. This date should be exactly 30 days after the immigration judge made a final decision.
Press 4 for Case Appeal Information
When you press 4, you will find out some important information on the appeal.
First, you’ll learn if a notice of appeal was received and when. If it was received by the deadline, then you’re in great shape. But what if the system does not tell you that your notice of appeal was received? You have a few options:
- If you mailed in the notice of appeal only recently, then you may need to wait a few days until the staff at the Board of Immigration Appeals enters your notice in the system. Even if you mailed it in on time, it may not show up in the system.
- If you are cutting it close to the deadline, and you don’t want to take any chances, then you need to call the Board of Immigration Appeals directly to ask them if they have received your notice.
Second, you’ll find out if there is a briefing schedule in your case. But what is a briefing schedule? It is a deadline for you to submit an appeal brief, which is just a written argument explaining why the immigration judge got it wrong, and why you should not be deported.
Pay close attention to any deadlines set by the Board of Immigration Appeals. If the Board of Immigration Appeals does not receive your brief by the deadline, you may lose your last chance to fight your deportation.
Option #3: Call the Immigration Court Directly
Unfortunately, you can’t rely on the automated phone system to be 100% accurate. Sometimes the immigration court staff can make errors inputting the date and time into the court system. Sometimes the immigration court makes a sudden change that is not reflected in the automated phone system.
If you’re not sure whether to trust the automated court hotline, then your next best bet is to call the immigration court directly to speak to a live staff person. To do this, call the immigration court where your hearing is set. The location of the hearing is at the top of your notice of hearing. To find the phone number, you can check the EOIR Immigration Court Listing, which is found on the internet.
When you call the number, you should have ready your alien number. The court staff will almost certainly ask you for it. The alien number is 9 digits long. If you don’t know where to find it, then look at your notice of hearing or your notice to appear. It will be located on both documents.
After providing your alien number, the court staff member will be able to look up and verify your court hearing date.
Option #4: Check Your Hearing Notice (Assuming the Court Has Your Address)
In theory, you should always receive your first hearing notice in the mail, which will tell you the date, time, and place of your first immigration court hearing.
But sometimes, you cannot be sure that you will receive this hearing notice in the mail.
There are many reasons why.
- First, the court may not have your most recent address. People move all the time, and if you have not provided the court with your new mailing address, then there is no way for the court to send the notice to your new location.
- Second, the mail system is not 100% reliable. The court may have mailed you a notice, but the post office may lose it or send it to the wrong location. (The court is not required to send notices by certified mail, so the court will generally assume that you got it.)
- Third, sometimes the court staff can write down your address incorrectly, in which case you will not receive your hearing notice.
Therefore, the best practice is to check your mail regularly, to try calling the automated system, and also to call the court directly. All three are important to make sure that you don’t miss your hearing.
If you have already been to immigration court in-person then you should have received the notice of your next hearing in your hands. In other words, someone will hand you the piece of paper telling you when to show up next. Also, the immigration judge is required to tell you verbally when your next hearing date is.
Now that you’ve checked your immigration court hearing date, the the time to do the necessary steps to prepare for it. Remember, going to immigration court does not mean you will be deported. You can fight your deportation, whether you entered the U.S. without inspection, overstayed your visa, or have a green card.