Your cousin hasn’t committed any crimes. However, his visa has long expired, and he doesn’t have a green card. When you met with an attorney on his behalf, you were advised that it was best that your cousin agrees to leave the country on his own. In the meantime, you also learn of the necessity to post a voluntary departure bond.
First, things first. Why would a lawyer suggest that it is best that your cousin voluntarily leaves the country? In many cases, it is because deportation is inevitable. Notwithstanding, when an undocumented immigrant leaves the United States voluntarily, they still have the potential to re-enter the country at a later date. (And, do so legally.)
Voluntary Departure Timeline
In many cases, a request for voluntary departure is made to the judge during initial deportation hearings. However, that’s not to say that someone can’t make the offer before the matter even makes it to immigration proceedings. In that case, the proposal would go directly to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
During the pendency of deportation proceedings, the illegal alien may also suggest that they would be inclined to voluntarily leave the states. This is most frequently done upon the advice of legal counsel.
There are some important considerations if you or your loved one is thinking about a voluntary removal. They include:
- You must pay for your own travel fees
- Your proposed departure must fit within the guidelines ordered by the authorities, which is usually less than 120 days
- You will most likely be denied voluntary departure if you are suspected of terrorism
- You could also find that the authorities will not let you voluntary leave if you are an aggravated felon.
- You must leave by the scheduled date.
What do you give up if you leave voluntarily? Essentially, you give up your day in Immigration Court. For example, if you think you are eligible for asylum, you will not be in a position to request it.
You can read more about the law concerning voluntary departure here. You should know that the immigration authorities could hold you in detention until your proposed departure date. Otherwise, you may be able to secure a voluntary departure bond.
Voluntary Departure Bonds
If permissible, you will be advised of the amount necessary to post a voluntary departure bond. The purpose of this type of bond is to ensure that the non-citizen leaves the United States by the date stated in the official papers.
Of course, just like any security bond, failure to leave the country means the bond would be revoked. Ultimately, it may involve deportation proceedings.