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What you should know about the Immigration Court Practice Manual

Whether you are seeking refugee status, an employment visa to move to California, or you are applying for U.S. citizenship, the steps you must take are defined within the scope of U.S. immigration law. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and other federal agencies provide forms, instruction and other assistance, but many people choose to seek legal counsel, as well, particularly when it comes to appearing in court. We at the U.S. Law Center often provide advice and resources to assist immigrants at any stage of the process.

The U.S. Department of Justice has published the Court Practice Manual to improve immigration court experiences for everyone involved. If you need to file paperwork, schedule an interpreter or are unsure of what to expect in court, you may find this information in the manual. You may also learn about motions, deportation procedures and the appeals process.

You have the right to representation in court, but there are limits to who may provide this service. For example, you may choose to represent yourself, or you may hire an attorney who is registered with the Executive Office for Immigration Review. However, you may not be represented by a notario publico, a visa consultant or an immigration specialist who is not an attorney.

Although the manual provides information, you should keep in mind that it does not offer legal advice. Furthermore, judges have authority and discretion in their interpretations of U.S. immigration law, and the manual may be changed or invalidated at any time by the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge. For more information about what to expect from the immigration court system, please visit our web page.

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