The idea behind a Master Calendar Hearing (MCH) may sound a little frightening given this is the first step the government takes in removing you from the United States. This article seeks to break down exactly what happens at your MCH, so you feel more confident about the process. The MCH aims to learn more about you to determine what legal pathway your case should take.

Preparing for Your MCH

Pay close attention to your mail, because your MCH details typically come via mail which gives you the days and times of your hearing. You are required to attend this hearing and it is highly recommended that you bring legal representation with you. If you have family members who would like to join you at court, they can do so, but be sure they are legal immigrants/citizens otherwise they risk arrest and/or deportation.

  • Appearance – Wear tidy semi-professional clothing to give the court your best impression.
  • Be Prompt – Plan on getting to your MCH appointment early. Give yourself plenty of time to park, walk and get through security. An absence or late attendance can have a dire impact on your case that could result in a deportation order.
  • Learn The Court – If you decide to work with an immigration attorney, they can assist in helping you do this. The idea is that you want to understand how your court handles MCH proceedings.
  • Bring Documents – Bring your notice to appear, any other correspondence from the courts, and valid identification such as your passport or driver’s license. Bring a calendar too, or use your phone’s calendar so you can keep track of your next hearing dates.

The Master Calendar Hearing

At this hearing, you will meet with a judge and an attorney representing the U.S. government to discuss the future of your case. At this time, you will need to explain to the judge what paperwork you will be submitting to the court, and the judge will often give you a date for you to produce all the required application and supporting documents. A merits hearing