There are two types of hearings in removal proceedings: master calendar hearings and individual hearings.
Master calendar hearing
Your first hearing will always be a master calendar hearing. You might have several master calendar hearings. Master calendar hearings are status conference hearings, or chances to share preliminary information with the judge so that the judge can decide how your case will move forward. During the first master calendar hearing, the judge will explain the charges brought against you, and tell you your rights. The judge will ask whether you agree or disagree with each allegation and charge in the NTA.
You have the right to a lawyer throughout removal proceedings—but the government won’t provide you with a lawyer, or pay for one. If, at your first master calendar hearing, you still haven’t been able to hire a lawyer, ask the judge for more time to find one.
The second type of hearing is an individual hearing. During an individual hearing, your case is the only one scheduled. Before the hearing, you (or your lawyer) will submit evidence (in the form of documents) that you want the judge to consider when reviewing your application.
The judge will allot several hours to consider your application for relief (that is, the benefit that you think you qualify for that would let you stay in the U.S., if granted). During the hearing, witnesses may testify for you. The witnesses’ testimony and the type of evidence you submit depend on what kind of application you submitted (that is, the benefit you are seeking).
Several things can happen at the end of the individual hearing. If the judge needs more evidence or testimony, another individual hearing or a later master calendar hearing may be scheduled. If the judge needs time to consider the evidence and testimony, they might issue a written decision later, rather than announce their decision at the end of the hearing.
Finally, if the judge decides, they may announce the decision at the end of the individual hearing. If the judge announces a decision at the end of the hearing, you should get a one-page “Summary Oral Decision.” But, if the judge plans to decide later, that decision will likely be several pages long, with the reasoning behind the decision explained in detail. This article gives insight on the steps to take for detained immigrants.