If you were arrested for an immigration violation and are facing the threat of deportation, you’ll have various legal options that you can pursue to try and prevent your deportation. However, in some circumstances, you might want to apply for voluntary departure if you think a deportation is likely and you have a sufficient support system waiting for you in your nation of origin.

Voluntary departure is usually a last-resort strategy since it requires your leaving the United States without any timeline for returning. It could also be a costly decision, as you’ll need to pay for your own travel costs to return to your home country.

What are the pros and cons of voluntary departure?

One benefit of voluntary departure involves being able to leave the United States without any fines or the potential for a permanent ban on re-admission — both of which are associated with formal removal. However, a negative point is that voluntary departure doesn’t offer any guarantee of being able to come back to the United States for those who were in the country unlawfully. If the immigrant was in the United States without the proper papers, he or she could still face a ban on re-entering for multiple years.

A strict deadline is associated with voluntary departures

After a judge grants your voluntary departure, you’ll need to exit the United States within a specific time-frame indicated by the judge. You’ll also need to pay a voluntary departure bond — in most cases, at least $500. Voluntary departure deadlines range from 60 to 120 days depending on at what point during the removal proceedings the judge granted the request.

Deportation arrests and legal proceedings increasing

Deportation arrests and related legal proceedings have increased dramatically in recent months as a result of dramatic changes in immigration law enforcement. Families are being divided, undocumented immigrants — and even permanent residents — face unprecedented levels of deportation proceedings. If you or your family member is in danger of deportation, you may want to investigate your legal rights and options and do everything you can to resolve your immigration law challenges.