Skip to main content
Chapter 7 - Other Proceedings Before Immigration Judges

7.6 – Streamlined Removal Proceedings

A noncitizen is placed into streamlined removal proceedings where the noncitizen was found to have a credible fear of persecution or torture and a USCIS asylum officer adjudicated but did not grant the noncitizen’s application for asylum.  If the noncitizen’s spouse or child was included on the application, then the spouse or child is placed into streamlined removal proceedings as well.

Streamlined removal proceedings are conducted on a specific timeline and are subject to specific procedures, as discussed below.  See generally 8 C.F.R. § 1240.17 (setting forth the timeline and procedural requirements of streamlined removal proceedings).  Otherwise, streamlined removal proceedings are conducted under the same procedures as ordinary removal proceedings.  See Chapter 4 (Hearings before the Immigration Judges).

(a) Initiation of Proceedings — Streamlined removal proceedings begin when DHS files a Notice to Appear (NTA) with the immigration court and serves it on the noncitizen.  The NTA is annotated to reflect that the noncitizen is being placed in streamlined removal proceedings.

DHS will also, no later than the first master calendar hearing, serve the respondent and the immigration court with the record initiating proceedings.  This is comprised of the written record of the positive credible fear finding, all unclassified information the asylum officer considered in adjudicating the respondent’s applications, the transcript of the asylum merits interview, the asylum officer’s written decision, and the Form I-213, Record of Deportable/Inadmissible Alien, pertaining to the respondent.  See 8 C.F.R. §§ 208.9(f), 1240.17(c).

(b) Applications — In streamlined removal proceedings, the respondent is not required to file an Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal (Form I‑589) with the immigration court.  Instead, the written record of the positive credible fear determination is deemed an application for asylum, withholding of removal (“restriction on removal”) under INA § 241(b)(3), and protection under the Convention Against Torture.  See 8 C.F.R. § 1208.3(a)(2).

Respondents in streamlined removal proceedings may apply for any form of relief or protection from removal for which they may be eligible, including voluntary departure.

(c) Timeline of Proceedings — 

          (1) Master calendar hearing — The initial master calendar hearing for cases subject to streamlined removal proceedings will be held between 30 and 35 days after the date DHS serves the NTA.  See 8 C.F.R. § 1240.17(b).

          (2) Status conference — A status conference will be held between 30 and 35 days after the master calendar hearing.  The purpose of the status conference is to take pleadings, identify and narrow the issues, determine whether the case can be decided on the documentary record, and, if necessary, prepare the case for a merits hearing.  See 8 C.F.R. § 1240.17 (f)(1)(2).

          (3) Merits hearing — In instances where the immigration judge has determined that a merits hearing is necessary, that hearing will be held between 60 and 65 days after the master calendar hearing.  See 8 C.F.R. § 1240.17(f)(2).

(d) Continuances & Filing Extensions — In streamlined removal proceedings, the immigration judge may grant continuances and extend filing deadlines upon either party’s motion.  The standard for granting a continuance or extending a deadline depends on which party made the request and other factors.  In addition, an immigration judge may continue a case, or extend a finding deadline, because of exigent circumstances, such as when the immigration judge, the respondent, or a practitioner of record is unavailable due to illness.  See 8 C.F.R. § 1240.17(h)(4).

(e) Appeals — In streamlined removal proceedings, the respondent may appeal the immigration judge’s decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals.  See Chapter 6 (Appeals of Immigration Judge Decisions).  DHS also may appeal an immigration judge’s decision to the Board subject to limited exceptions.  See 8 C.F.R. § 1240.17(i)(2).

(f) Other Provisions — Special provisions govern immigration judges’ in absentia orders in streamlined removal proceedings.  See 8 C.F.R. § 1240.17(d).  In addition, some of the regulations’ streamlining provisions do not apply in certain, specified situations.  See 8 C.F.R. § 1240.17(k).