deSeguin Immigration Law llc

Immigration Court FAQs

Below are some of the frequently asked questions related to removal proceedings (previously known as deportation proceedings) that have been addressed to our immigration office.  We have provided general responses that may vary given individual circumstances.  You are strongly advised to consult with an immigration attorney who is experienced in removal defense if you have been issued a Notice to Appear. 

How many court hearings do I get?

Some immigrants have only one hearing before the immigration judge. In other situations, an immigrant may have six or more hearings over several years.  The backlog in court cases means that Immigration Judges are under pressure to complete cases quickly, but  the backlog also means many cases can take years to complete

How do I know if I have been put in removal proceedings?

You or your immigration lawyer will receive a Notice to Appear informing you that you have been placed in removal proceedings.   If you know your alien registration number you can check if the Notice to Appear has been filed with the immigration court by phoning the toll free EOIR number at 1-800-898-7180.

What is a Master Hearing?

In immigration court, there are generally two types of hearings.  These are referred to as “Master Calendar” hearings and  “Individual” hearings.  Your very first hearing will always be a “Master ” hearing.  Generally, many immigrants are scheduled for Master Calendar hearings at the same time.  Each immigrant is called up separately.

What is an Individual Hearing?

An Individual Hearing, also called a Merits Hearing, is the scheduled court time when you will present your case for relief from removal or deportation, such as, adjustment of status or asylum.  This time is scheduled specifically to hear your case and generally no other immigrants will be scheduled at the same time.

What is a continuance?

A continuance is when the  immigration judge  grants a party (you or the government) more time to proceed with your case. If an immigrant requests more time to find an immigration attorney at the first Master hearing,  the immigration judge will generally grant the continuance.  But the immigration judge will not grant an unlimited number of such continuances and is even less inclined to continue an Individual hearing.

How long is the Individual hearing?

Most individual hearings take from 1 to 4 hours, depending on the type of case and the number of witnesses.     For a simple adjustment of status, the individual hearing may take only thirty minutes.  For a complicated case of contested removal and complicated forms of relief, the case can take multiple days, but that is unusual.  

Can I change my lawyer during the individual hearing?

You can ask, but the decision will be up to the immigration judge.  An immigration judge will generally not want the case delayed, unless you have a compelling reason for not being able to go forward with your attorney of record.  In most cases you will be expected to change your immigration lawyer prior to an  individual hearing.

Will the Immigration Judge set the date deportation?

No.  The Immigration Judge issues the deportation order but does not execute it.  Generally you will receive notice some weeks later directly from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Have questions?

If you or a family member has been placed in removal proceedings, you should seek legal advice from an experienced immigration attorney.

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