** LEGAL UPDATE **
As numerous media outlets have reported, the U.S. immigration court system is in an increasingly chaotic state. Backlogged with cases, it has engaged in odd practices like rescheduling hearings several times and sending out notices with fake hearing dates. Thus it has become crucial for non-citizens in removal proceedings to double check where their case is and when they might be called for a hearing.
This update offers information on how to use the relatively new toll-free automated phone line set up by the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR).
This phone line is different from general immigration customer service numbers. It’s an automated line, meant for people with a case pending in an immigration court or at the Board of Immigration Appeals (B.I.A.). The number is 1-800-898-7180. Although it’s theoretically reachable at any time of day, the line is sometimes unavailable due to system maintenance.
When you call, the line will first ask you pick your language preference between English (press 1) and Spanish (press 2). Next, it will ask you to enter your A-number. This is your unique nine-digit identification number, which you can find on most of your court documents including your Notice to Appear or NTA (the document that begins the removal process). If your A-number has only eight digits, start by entering a “0.”
Once you enter your A-number, the system might respond that your number does not match one in the system or it has not yet been filed with the immigration court. If you receive this message, you might want to enter your number one more time to be sure you did so correctly. If you still receive this message, then you have not been given a first hearing date yet.
If you have not been given your first hearing date, you should call the line at least once a week to check on your case. While the U.S. government should mail you notification of this first hearing date, these notices can get lost in the mail or sent to the wrong address. If you miss your first hearing, you could be ordered removed in your absence (“in absentia”), so it is in your interest to check the line frequently.
Once you have been given a court date, the system will spell out your name and ask to confirm by pressing 1. Listen to the name being spelled out to check that it is in fact your case. Once you have confirmed that you are accessing your information, you have several options.
If information is missing from the system or it is different from other notices you have received, you should directly contact the immigration court where your case is pending.
Effective Date: November 1, 2019