Voluntary Departure

Voluntary Departure

If an immigrant is placed in Removal Proceedings, he or she may have the option of applying to an Immigration Judge for a particular benefit referred to as “voluntary departure.”  This benefit allows the immigrant to purchase his or her own commercial plane ticket, and to depart the United States voluntarily to his or her home country.  Depending on when the immigrant applies for voluntary departure, the requirements for this benefit differ.  The earlier the immigrant applies for voluntary departure in removal proceedings, the fewer the requirements for approval.  

Benefits of Voluntary Departure

The benefits of voluntary departure include:

  1. Having the opportunity to more specifically select the final arrival point in the home country (depending on how large the country is, a deportation could result in an immigrant’s arrival at a point in the home country far from the immigrant’s actual  home–the Department of Homeland Security does not deport immigrants to all the various regions of different countries).
  2. No ten-year bar to an immigrant’s readmission to the United States (if an alien is ordered deported and is forcibly removed, that immigrant is barred from returning to the United States for a period of ten years).
  3. If the immigrant is not detained when he or she applies for this benefit, he or she will likely have substantially more time to depart the United States than would be available if an immigrant were to be deported, often between 60 and 120 days, which offers the opportunity for an immigrant to tie up his or her affairs in the United States before departing (an immigrant who applies for voluntary departure from detention will only likely have a few weeks, so this last advantage may not apply in that situation, but it would still substantially benefit any immigrant to depart voluntarily rather than to be deported, even if he or she is detained when applying).

Lessons from the Past

Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.

Louis D Brandeis

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