We can file a motion for change of venue with the Immigration Court if you have moved or are planning on moving
Motions for Change of Venue
What is a change of venue in Immigration Court?
If you move or change your address, you must file form EOIR-33 with the Immigration Court to inform them of your new address. This may result in a change of your location for your hearing. This is known as the Change of Venue. A change of venue can be done at any time during your removal proceedings by either by the Immigration Judge, the ICE Attorney or yourself.
Why does Immigration schedule court far from where I live?
There are some circumstances why your family member or friend is scheduled to appear at an Immigration Court located miles away from where they will live. If your family member asked for Asylum at the border they are placed under ICE detention. Then when released ICE detention they are issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) in Immigration Court in Texas when the family lives in California.
What happens if I don't file for a Motion for Change of Venue?
If you don't file a motion for change of venue, then you must continue to appear at the same court where you have been appearing. For example, If you have been appearing to the Immigration Court in Colorado and then you move to California, you will have to make sure you are physically present at the Immigration Court in Colorado. The worse thing that can happen is that you fail to appear at your Immigration Court hearing because you moved then the Immigration Judge could order you deported in your absence (In Absentia)
Do I have to pay a fee for a Motion for Change of Venue?
There is no filing fee to file a Motion for Change of Venue.
Why should I file a motion for change of venue?
Whether to file a motion for change of venue or not depends on a case by case basis. The best thing to do is to speak with an experienced Immigration Attorney to help you determine if you are better off staying with the same Immigration Court or not. Keep in mind that Immigration Judges do not like it if you create a situation so that you can file a Motion for Change of Venue in order to be in a court where you can still qualify for relief. For example, if you live in Texas and you have a criminal conviction that's considered an aggravated felony and then you move to California where that same conviction is not an aggravated felony then you would have a better chance at winning your Immigration case in California. Aggravated felonies leave you with hardly any form of relief. This may be called forum shopping and Immigration Judges may become aware of it.
Updates on Motions for Change of Venue
On January 17, 2018, The Immigration Court issued new policies and procedures regarding a change of venue such as:
More than two motions to change venue by the same party are disfavored
Motions to change venue filed solely to delay the case should not be condoned
Motions to change venue filed after the merits hearing has begun are disfavored.
These are not rules; but merely guidelines, meaning that if you fit under any of the above situations the Immigration Judge may still grant your motion for change of venue.
If the case is ready to be scheduled for an Individual Hearing (trial) then the new Immigration Court may schedule an Individual Hearing instead of a master hearing. This can be problematic because it puts pressure on the immigrant to find a new attorney in their new area.
In addition where a change of venue motion has been granted and the case will be scheduled for a master calendar hearing, “the hearing should occur as soon as practicable, no later than 14 days (for detained cases) or 60 days (for non-detained cases) after the date the change of venue was granted.