If you have been served a Notice to Appear, then deportation has begun, and you are being summoned to a Master Calendar hearing before immigration court. This is a preliminary hearing in an immigration court.
At this hearing, there will be no rulings on either your applications or charges. It lays the groundwork for the individual hearing. The individual hearing is where you would have to present evidence to back up your case, which could potentially lead to removal proceedings. For example, this could mean that if you are applying for asylum, you would have to prove that you have a credible fear of persecution in your native country.
Remember, you have the right to an attorney. If you have an immigration lawyer on your side, he or she can answer the questions, though you must still appear.
Preparing for Your Master Calendar Hearing
- Notice to Appear - When you get your Notice to Appear for the Master Calendar hearing, you will be told when and where it is. You should aim to appear early. If you do not attend this hearing or show up late, the court can order your deportation because you are not there, or your applications can be denied.
- Hearing Time - Do be aware that you might have to wait several hours for a hearing, however. The hearing itself probably lasts 5 to 20 minutes.
- Documents to Bring - As far as the documents you will need, your lawyer can explain what would be best for your case. Usually, you will need items such as a passport, driver's license, and your Notice to Appear, in addition to other documentation. Your attorney can detail other ways on how you can prepare for your master calendar hearing.
What Happens During a Master Calendar Hearing
- Court appearance before the judge - When you appear at court, there will be other people in the room at the same time, as multiple hearings are scheduled for the same time slot. When it is your turn, the judge will announce your name and Alien Registration Number, and you and your attorney will come before the judge. If necessary, you can ask for an interpreter, which the court can provide. You can ask for another interpreter if, for example, he or she does not accurately translate.
- The judge will ask you for some basic information, such as your name, address, and any languages in which you are fluent.
- Then the judge will look over your charges. You will get the chance to admit or deny them. This is also an opportunity to correct anything wrong in the related information, such as the date of entry into the U.S., your country of origin, etc.
- You will also announce the claim you want accepted, whether it is for asylum, withdrawal of removal, adjustment of status, etc.
- To end the hearing, the judge will schedule when you need to submit certain documents. Another Master Calendar hearing may be scheduled, or the judge may set the date for an individual merits hearing. You will leave with a notice for the next hearing. If you need more time than the deadlines you are given, then you can give reasons for an extension of deadline and/or different dates for the hearings.
Even though the hearing is only a brief beginning, it is still a vital part of your immigration process. As with any issue, having an experienced immigration lawyer with you can be of immeasurable benefit. If you have any questions, then we have more than 50 years of immigration experience with which we are ready to help you. If you or a loved one needs help with any immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact Brown Immigration Law. Time is of the essence. You need to act quickly to defend your rights. Call a North Carolina immigration attorney as soon as possible.