ICE Defense Part 1: The Master Calendar Hearing

You’ve received a Notice to Appear. This is a serious occasion that requires the immediate assistance of an immigration attorney. If you receive a Notice to Appear, the government intends to initiate removal proceedings and send you back to your home country. Your NTA should include information on your Master Calendar Hearing. Save this information and provide it to your attorney.

Preparing for the Master Calendar Hearing

The Master Calendar Hearing is a preliminary hearing on your immigration case. It is important to attend the MCH, no matter what you have to do to be present. If you fail to show up at your Master Calendar Hearing, the judge can order that you be deported due to your absence. Should that happen and you get detained by ICE again, they can immediately deport you without taking you to court.

To prepare for your MCH, retain an immigration attorney and plan on having them attend with you. Dress neatly and, if possible, do not bring children to the hearing. Prepare your documents and have multiple copies with you at court. You should have identification documents, your Notice to Appear, and anything else recommended by your attorney.

What Happens During the Master Calendar Hearing?

Plan on spending several hours at court. Although your hearing may only be 20 minutes long, you must go through security and wait for your turn in front of the judge. The court official will call your Alien Registration Number to summon you in front of the court. You may communicate in English if you wish, or you can request an interpreter. You can also present your attorney.

During your hearing, the judge will ask for your basic information. This includes your name, address, country of origin, and languages spoken. They should inform you of the charges against you. After each charge, you can admit or deny. You will have the chance to tell the judge which type of relief you are seeking. Your lawyer will discuss this step with you before court so you know how to answer each question.

The Next Step

Before you leave the Master Calendar Hearing, the judge will schedule the next steps in your case. Take note of these dates—you may need to submit additional information, attend another calendar hearing, or go to court for your individual merits hearing.

Deportation is a serious threat, and working with an immigration lawyer may help you avoid removal and remain in the country legally. To discuss your case in greater detail, reach out to RelisLaw at 1-800-514-4290.

The following two tabs change content below.


We help people from around the world to live and work freely in the U.S., to achieve their dreams, unite families, or escape persecution. No matter what immigration service you need, RelisLaw will provide caring and dependable counsel to you and aggressive advocacy to vigorously fight for you using every available legal avenue. As a global firm, we work with people in countries around the world. We meet clients across the U.S., as well as in New York, Toronto, and Montréal. We also meet with clients globally, located in any country, via Skype and other platforms.

Latest posts by RelisLaw (see all)