When Should a Person Voluntarily Depart The US?

There may come a time where you should opt to voluntarily depart the US. This is a process whereby a potential deportee chooses to return to their country of origin, rather than being forcibly removed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

In cases of voluntary departure, the Department of Homeland Security will not place a removal order on you. This is therefore seen as a privilege, as opposed to a right.

Voluntary departure is not to be confused with voluntary return. Voluntary return is where an immigrant is stopped at a land border, and then agrees to return to their home country. Therefore, in this case, the person never enters the US – whereas in cases of departure, the person has been living in the US for a period of time.

If you violate your visa conditions, there’s a chance you won’t be able to voluntarily depart the U.S. It should be noted that voluntary departure from the United States must come as an agreement between yourself and the Department of Homeland Security.

3 Types of Voluntary Departure

There are three types of voluntary departure you might undertake:

1. Departure During Removal Proceedings

You may decide to mutually depart the United States before a hearing proceeds. This will require consent from both you and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers who are responsible for you.

2. Voluntary Departure at First Court Appearance

You attend a court hearing regarding your removal from the United States, but then opt to voluntarily remove yourself. This requires both your consent and that of the immigration judge.

3. Conclusion of Proceedings Removal

Voluntary departure can take place after removal proceedings. This can take place after you have been found to be removable by United States law. This requires the judge’s consent plus you will also need to be able to satisfy several extra requirements to leave the US voluntarily.

Steps to Departure

The suggestion of departure may come from either yourself or from the authorities. Regardless of the origin of the suggestion, both parties must agree to the voluntary departure.

A date for departure is then flexibly set, based on any request you may have made. This is subject to a maximum of 120 days after the date agreed upon from the initial suggestion. A set date allows you to arrange their affairs before leaving the United States.

The final step is actual departure. This is where you must depart the United States by the date ordered by the voluntary departure agreement.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Voluntarily Depart the US, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.