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Voluntary Departure Makes It Easier to Legally Return to the U.S.

Posted by Gutierrez Law Firm on June 12, 2013

When an illegal immigrant is facing deportation proceedings, voluntary departure is one of the available options that should be considered. Avoiding a deportation order may make it easier to legally return to the United States in the future. Whether removal proceedings are imminent or have already begun, a knowledgeable immigration lawyer can help. A skilled immigration attorney is familiar with the complicated laws and administrative procedures that comprise the U.S. immigration system.

Removal Proceedings

Even in the midst of immigration court removal proceedings, it may be possible for a knowledgeable immigration lawyer to argue that the immigrant in question should not be deported. In the event that the request to remain in the United States is denied, the judge may still grant a voluntary departure request. Maintaining a clean immigration record will prove beneficial when applying for a green card or visa at a later date.

There are a number of opportunities to request permission to depart the United States voluntarily:

  • A request to leave the country voluntarily can be submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) prior to a removal proceeding. This sort of request is often submitted after a non-citizen has been arrested or detained. If approved, the immigrant will be allowed up to 120 days to leave the country at their own expense. It may also be necessary to post a bond. Pre-trial voluntary departure makes sense for non-citizens who have no other available means of deportation relief. An immigration lawyer should be consulted to determine whether some other form of relief is available under the law.
  • Voluntary departure can be requested at the beginning of a removal proceeding. An immigration attorney should definitely be consulted before making a final decision, since requesting voluntary removal at this stage means that immigration relief will never again be available to the immigrant in question. Timing is very important. A request for voluntary departure must be made prior to or at the beginning of the first master calendar hearing.
  • On rare occasions, a DHS attorney will agree to voluntary departure during a removal proceeding.
  • Voluntary departure can be requested at the conclusion of a removal proceeding if other forms of relief seem unlikely. To be eligible, an immigrant must be in the United States for at least one year prior to proceedings, be able to post a bond, produce a valid passport and meet the requirements related to moral character and criminal history.

For expert legal representation in your removal hearing, talk to the Gutierrez Law Firm at 210.225.7114.