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What should you expect in immigration court?

If you have to go to immigration court because of a problem with your visa, committing a crime or some other reason, you should know what to expect. You will be meeting an immigration judge, so you’ll want to have an immigration attorney on your team.

Immigration courts are specialized, because they only handle removal and deportation cases. The judges there are under high pressure to move through these cases quickly due to backlog, which does not necessarily work in your favor. A judge may have only a short time to hear your case, and they will have pre-trial records to review.

How will your attorney help in immigration court?

Since immigration court is a bit different from a traditional court in America, it’s necessary for your attorney to be succinct and persuasive. There is a limited amount of time to speak on your behalf, so your attorney needs to know everything you can tell them about your case. They’ll present the case to the judge in a way that paints you in the best light. If you are asked to give a testimony, stick to what you’ve practiced and be prepared for the judge to make a quick decision.

It may be surprising that a case that determines if you can stay in the country is handled so quickly. While it isn’t always the case, it pays to be prepared for a short trial.

What can you do to help your immigration case in court?

Follow some of the same basic rules as others who attend court in America. You should:

  • Come prepared with respectful attire
  • Be on time
  • Don’t interrupt the judge or others when they speak
  • Use appropriate language, such as saying “yes, sir,” or “no, ma’am.”
  • Be prepared with a testimony that you’re able to deliver. In some cases, your attorney will speak on your behalf, or an interpreter may help translate your statements

Much of the work that will decide your future is completed before you ever step foot in the courtroom, but once you are there, you need to present your best self. Your attorney can help you prepare, so you know what to expect.