VOLUNTARY DEPARTURE

While in Deportation/Removal Proceedings

244(e), of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 ("Act"), Pub. L. No. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163,
8 U.S.C. 1254e.
Exclusion: 236, of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1226
Removal: 240B(a), (b), 8 U.S.C. 1230B(a), (b)

Copyright 1999 VIKRAM BADRINATH, P.C. All rights reserved.


Introduction

Generally, any alien who has been placed into Deportation or Removal proceedings before an Immigration Court may request that he be returned to his country of citizenship/nationality (or last residence) instead of being ordered deported or removed from the United States. Although the effect of either order is essentially the same (e.g., the alien is returned to his home country), the legal consequences are vastly different.

An order of voluntary departure results in an administrative order returning the alien to his country of designation (citizenship, nationality, or last residence) instead of a forcible order effectuating his removal or deportation from the United States. If an alien accept voluntary departure, he may return to the United States thereafter and remain eligible for a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa. If, however, an alien is ordered deported or removed from the United States, he may not return for varying periods lasting from one (1) to twenty (20) years. Hence, it is important to understand the difference between voluntary departure and removal.

Application Procedure

There are two types of voluntary departure that are available to an alien in removal proceedings.

Please note that under either option of voluntary departure, the U.S. INS must witness and confirm the actual departure from the United States. The U.S. INS may require an alien to post a voluntary departure bond in an amount necessary to ensure that the alien will depart, to be surrendered upon proof that the alien has departed the United States within the time period allowed. If an alien does not depart within the time allowed or by an extension given to him by the District Director of the U.S. INS, then the voluntary departure order will be disallowed and will automatically become a removal order. Under the new immigration laws, there are civil monetary penalties for failing to comply with a voluntary departure order (not to exceed a fine of $500 per day). See 274D of the INA.

For more information about requesting Voluntary Departure before an Immigration Judge, please contact us by email, telephone, or fax or schedule an appointment to have your individual case discussed and analyzed by an attorney.