Voluntary departure

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
If you’re unable to qualify for the many types of relief from deportation available under the Immigration and Nationality Act, you can ask the court to grant you a voluntary departure. Asking for a voluntary departure means that you concede to the deportation charge against you and agree to leave the United States by your own means and expense within the time limit set by the judge. Voluntary departure can have many benefits, as it allows you to avoid the negative stigma and harsh legal consequences often associated with a formal order of deportation. Mainly, it can make it easier for you to return to the United States in the future. In order to qualify for voluntary departure, you must not be deportable on aggravated grounds, have the means to pay for your departure from the U.S., be able to establish good moral character during the previous five-year period before you applied, and agree to depart within the period of time granted by the immigration judge. Failure to leave the country within the prescribed time limit will result in a final order of deportation against you and may affect your ability to ask for all forms of future relief. To insure that you’ll depart within the time period, you must post a $500 bond with the Immigration and Naturalization Service within five days of the judge’s order. The five-day rule is absolute and can’t be extended. Currently, an Immigration Judge may not grant a person more than 60 days of voluntary departure.

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