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How To Prepare For An Individual Hearing In Immigration Court

Author: New York Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova

How To Prepare For An Individual Hearing In Immigration Court

An Individual hearing in Immigration court is basically a trial, a day when one’s application will be heard on merits. First, you will need to get familiar with the Immigration Court Practice Manual and read when and what you can submit. If the judge did not specify when you need to submit the documents during the Master hearing, then you will use the deadlines specified in the Manual. If you are not sure, you should call the judge’s clerk and ask to verify when the “call up” date is.

Currently, Manual establishes these filing deadlines:

(A) Non-detained aliens. — For individual calendar hearings involving non-detained aliens, filings must be submitted at least fifteen (15) days in advance of the hearing. This provision does not apply to exhibits or witnesses offered solely to rebut and/or impeach. Responses to filings that were submitted in advance of an individual calendar hearing must be filed within ten (10) days after the original filing with the Immigration Court. Objections to evidence may be made at any time, including at the hearing.

(B) Detained aliens. — For individual calendar hearings involving detained aliens, filing deadlines are as specified by the Immigration Court.

Note: the court would generally do not care if the submission “got stuck” in the mail. It means the documents should be delivered within the time listed above.

Another very important point: all submissions with the Immigration Court have to be in the format specified by the Manual. For example, a submission has to have a cover page; the pages have to be numbered; there should be a table of contents with tabs affixed to the right side of the pages.

The court may reject the submission that is late or does not correspondent to the standards specified in the Manual. After one’s done with paperwork, he/she needs to think what questions the government may have about the case and submission; who the witnesses will be; and prepare for some legal challenges.

For example, if one is filing for asylum based on membership in a particular social group, he/she should be prepared to articulate that group(s) at the beginning of the Individual hearing. If one is filling for cancellation of removal, prepare to call witnesses who will confirm hardships and moral character.

Remember, both judge and government attorney are professional lawyers; they will use specific language when they address evidence (such as admissible; inadmissible, hearsay, etc.); they are familiar with the recent cases… Right before the hearing, you will need to research the state of relevant policies and law to make sure that the points you will be making will be valid.

If you have questions regarding Immigration court proceedings, please request an appointment by calling 917-885-2261 or by emailing us at

05 June 2018
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