How to Prepare for an Immigration Court Hearing


Some immigrants in the United States have a right to an Immigration Court hearing before being deported. 

In Immigration Court, an immigration judge decides whether you can stay in the United States or will be deported. During your court hearing, you must convince the immigration judge you should not be deported by proving the following: 

  • That immigration authorities are wrong in saying you should be deported.
  • Or you are eligible for an immigration benefit to remain in the United States. 

If you have been deported previously, you do not have a right to this legal process. 

If you inform USCIS that you are afraid to return to your home country at the port of entry, you could have your case heard by an immigration judge.

If you have questions about immigration deportation, our New Jersey immigration law firm recently wrote an article answering the most common immigration deportation questions

As an immigration law firm with a long history of helping immigrant victims with their immigration cases, Odunlami Law Firm can provide the legal representation you need to see this process through and fix your status. Our New Jersey immigration law firm works with clients locally, nationwide, and internationally.

Tips to help you prepare for an immigration court hearing

You will receive either a “Notice to Appear” or “NTA” or A “Notice of Hearing in Removal Proceedings” with information about your hearing, including the date, place, and reason for your hearing. 

Unfortunately, you will not be provided with a free attorney, so it is highly suggested that you speak with an experienced immigration attorney who can walk you through what to expect at your hearing and your options. It can be challenging to win a case independently because immigration laws are very complex. It is essential to be represented by a trusted attorney for the best chance for success.

Our immigration law firm is providing you with some tips to help you prepare for your immigration court hearing. 

  1. Gather your documents. Documents include your immigration paperwork, evidence supporting your case, and any documents you think the judge may want to see.
  2. Understand the legal issues involved in your case. Not having an attorney is not advised, but if an attorney does not represent you, you should research to understand the laws that apply to your case. You can find information on the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  3. Write out a timeline of your immigration history. Writing out a timeline will further help you prepare for your immigration hearing and help you answer questions that the judge.
  4. Practice answering questions about your case. Consider what you will say to the judge and how you will answer their questions. You should also practice your cross-examination if you think the government will call witnesses against you. Download our free immigration guide that will provide you with the most common questions.
  5. Dress professionally. First impressions matter, so make sure you dress appropriately for your hearing. Wear clean, neat, and business-casual clothing.
  6. Bring an interpreter. Having an interpreter is vital if you do not speak English fluently.
  7. Be on time. Arriving late for your hearing will make a poor impression on the judge. Ensure you arrive at least 30 minutes early to allow time to go through security and find the courtroom.
  8. Be respectful. The judge is the authority figure in the courtroom, so it is essential to be respectful of them. Showing respect means addressing them as “Your Honor” and following their instructions.
  9. Be prepared to answer questions. The judge may ask questions about your case, so be ready to answer them honestly and directly.
  10. Ask questions. If you need help understanding something, you can ask the judge for clarification.
  11. Stay calm. It is normal to feel nervous before an immigration court hearing, but it is important to stay calm. If you feel yourself getting upset, take a few deep breaths and try to relax.

What happens in immigration court?

The first, a Master Hearing, is usually a public hearing with many others. At this hearing, the immigration authorities must show that you can be deported because you are not a U.S. citizen and have broken specific immigration laws. The judge will also ask you where you live and what application you plan to submit to remain in the United States. The judge will give you a date for your next hearing and a new hearing notice.

At the next hearing, your individual hearing, you will have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses supporting your case. The government will also have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses. The judge will then decide whether to grant the individual relief from removal or order them removed from the United States.

If the judge orders the individual removed from the United States, the individual may appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The BIA is an independent agency that reviews immigration cases. If the BIA affirms the judge’s decision, the individual may appeal the decision to a federal court.

Here are some of the things that may happen in immigration court:

  • The judge may grant the individual relief from removal, such as asylum, withholding of removal, or cancellation of removal.
  • The judge may order the individual removed from the United States.
  • The judge may schedule a further hearing to allow the individual to present additional evidence or witnesses.
  • The judge may dismiss the case.

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How to Prepare for an Immigration Court Hearing

How to Prepare for an Immigration Court Hearing

Our immigration law firm works with clients to help them with their deportation proceedings. In addition, we work with clients in all 50 states. 

If you have any additional questions about immigration deportation or are looking for immigration services, don’t hesitate to contact the Odunlami Law Firm at 973-993-1900 or email us at

We can help you will your immigration needs.

Areas of Immigration Law:

  • Naturalization (Citizenship) Application
  • Immigrant Relative Petitions
  • Fiancé Visa Applications
  • Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing
  • Criminal Consequences and Deportation Defense
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Application
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • Green Card Renewals
  • Temporary Work Visas
  • Temporary Protected Status
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • Waivers
  • Immigration deportation 


Schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney and get your case started today.
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