Voluntary Departure – Deportation
If you are wondering what voluntary departure is, you should know that it is often a last resort in deportation defense (ie: you should consider other alternatives first).
While voluntary departure is a legal way of leaving the country (if you are undocumented), you must consider the ramifications of making such a request.
Voluntary departure occurs when a person leaves on their own without being forcibly removed (when a deportation order has been issued to that person). If a person is removed from the U.S. by force or by deportation, that person will most likely never be able to return to the U.S. (legally) when it comes time for an application.
A departure order (also known as an order of removal) occurs when you receive a formal notice that you have to leave the United States within a certain period of time. Such orders are generally issued by immigration Judges. The reason for receiving such an order is that you are either inadmissible for staying in the states or you are deportable.
You should keep in mind that even if you request a voluntary departure and it is granted, you may still have difficulties coming back to the United States. For instance, if you have certain bars on your record (ie: for overstaying a Visa or other reasons), voluntary departure may not be for you. As per most legal issues, you should always seek the advice of a local immigration attorney.
Other things you should know about voluntary departure requests:
- You have to pay for your own flight back to your country
- You have to pay a bond to guarantee that you will return to your home country when you say you will
- If you’re already in court proceedings, it’s easier to get voluntary departure at the beginning of proceedings because it demonstrates that you have every intention of following the law.
- If you obtain voluntary departure prior to being unlawfully present in the United States for a year, you are not subject to the 3-year bar on re-entry that is normally placed on a person when they have been in the United States for longer than 180 days.
While voluntary deportation is often a last resort in deportation defense, one reason why voluntary deportation may be a good option is that in the event that if you are removed from the US following a deportation order, more likely than not, you will NOT be allowed to return to the United States- thus, it is your best bet to leave the United States voluntarily.