Voluntary Departure

Immigration law today is many things: complicated, inconsistent, and rigid. Unfortunately, its results are also often unfair. Many illegal immigrants are only a broken taillight or a speeding ticket away from deportation, and they lack any legal remedy to fight their removal.

For instance, Adjustment of Status is only possible through a spouse who is a U.S. citizen; undocumented aliens who are married to other illegal aliens have no recourse. Another common shortcoming comes from the requirement of ten years of presence for Cancellation of Removal; eight years doesn't cut it, and neither does nine and a half.

Foreign nationals who find themselves facing removal proceedings but who lack any means of fighting to stay have one final remedy available, known as Voluntary Departure. There are several benefits to taking Voluntary Departure, both for the short-term and the future.

In the short term, a Voluntary Departure order usually gives an alien two to four months to remain in the United States before leaving. This period of time allows a family to step back from the frenzy of removal proceedings and decide what the next best step is for the family: to leave the country as a group, to split the family up, etc. None of these decisions is an easy one, but when there is no chance of remaining in the United States it is certainly better to have four months than four days to prepare for a new life.

Looking forward, a Voluntary Departure order has strategic benefits to it. An alien with a forced deportation order after Immigration Court proceedings is barred from re-entering the country for a period of ten years. Multiple deportations increase the waiting time to twenty years. A foreign national who has been deported must apply for an I-212 waiver in order to re-enter without waiting for these periods to lapse.

On the other hand, an alien who accepts Voluntary Departure will only face the three- or ten-year bar for unlawful presence, and s/he can attempt to re-enter through a family-based petition and an I-601 Waiver of Inadmissibility.

To learn more about this process visit our Las Vegas immigration website.