A master calendar hearings are preliminary immigration hearings which act as the initial effort of removing an immigrant from the country. It begins when a US immigrant receives an NTA, or Notice to Appear. The NTA contains the information of the time and date when the immigrant shall appear before an Immigration Court.
The Immigration Court handles two types of hearings which both take place before an Immigration Judge (IJ):
- Master Calendar Hearing
- Individual Hearing
Individual hearings are where evidence and witnesses are presented to the Immigration Court as a defense for the immigrant’s case. Presentation of evidence and witnesses do not take place at master calendar hearings. These two types of hearings are different in nature so it’s always important not to confuse one with the other to properly be prepared when facing them.
What Happens at Master Calendar Hearings?
As the name implies, master calendar hearings are about the schedules in the most important parts of your immigration case. In these hearings, the court will determine if you are removable. If you are deemed removable by the court, you will then have the opportunity to indicate which form of relief you intend to file in order to stay in the U.S. In some of these hearings, an IJ will set which documents you will need to present, as well as the date and time you need to submit them to the court.
If you have an immigration attorney, he or she will be the one to mostly answer the judge’s questions and will also be the one to prepare what’s needed for each hearing. Note that you will still need to attend the hearing even if you have a lawyer to represent you. The master calendar hearings are only about determining removability and scheduling matters, so you will not be questioned on any substantive issues regarding your case and you will not present any witnesses.
What to Expect at Your Master Calendar Hearing
Master calendar hearings are, in most cases, set in groups at a time so your immigration case may likely be heard together with other cases. If you don’t have an attorney, then you will have to wait until the judge calls your name and your Alien Registration Number (ARN) when he or she is ready to address your case.
As soon as you are called, you will stand before the judge and he or she will ask a few basic identification questions like your name and your native language. If you’re not well-versed in English, you can ask the help of an interpreter.
Get the Right Legal Support
Although the master calendar hearing is short, it can be intimidating. It is always a good idea to have an immigration attorney help you through this process. Contact our team at (956) 412-0707 to determine how we can assist you during your master calendar hearing.