Voluntary Departure

Voluntary Departure

Voluntary departure is an option given to individuals who are removable to leave the country at their own expense within a set period. Forced removal from the U.S. bars potential citizens from reentering and prohibits them from applying for a removal cancellation for ten years. The consequences differ depending on where an alien is detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), their criminal history, and how long they’ve been in the U.S.

If an individual does qualify for a voluntary departure order, they will be permitted no more than 120 days to leave the country. After a hearing concludes, this window of time decreases to 60 days. This privilege is not available to aliens who have previously found themselves eligible for departure.

Voluntary Departure Eligibility

To be considered for departure as opposed to removal, an alien must meet the following requirements:

  • The alien has been physically present in the U.S. for at least a full year directly preceding the notice to appear in court
  • The alien is ruled as having good moral character for the five years prior to departure
  • The alien is not able to be deported under section 1227(a)(4) of this title
  • There is clear and convincing evidence that the alien plans to depart and has the means to leave on their own.

Voluntary Return vs. Voluntary Departure

A voluntary return is a much less formal variation of a voluntary departure. Voluntary returns occur when an alien is detained at the border and offered the chance to turn around without punishment. The returns occur quickly and do not inhibit an immigrant’s ability to gain citizenship legally. If a voluntary return is denied, the alien is then a viable candidate for removal or deportation. Returns require less information from the alien, making the process simple. Departures are often more complex — they involve more information and a follow-up.

Voluntary Departure Form

A voluntary departure and verification of departure form must be completed for the DHS’s records to be referenced in future situations. Evidence of a voluntary departure is significant when an immigrant is taking a legal route to citizenship or is detained for a second time.

Contact an Attorney

Help from a professional can be extremely beneficial when trying to stay within legal parameters. If you’re searching for experienced attorneys to help navigate the complexities of the immigration system in the U.S., contact lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. today. Contact a member of our team today at 312.444.1940.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!