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For some people in removal proceedings, there is little hope of avoiding deportation. The evidence of removability may be overwhelming and forms of relief may be exhausted or unavailable. For anyone in this situation, voluntary departure may be a preferable option. If you are allowed to depart the United States voluntarily, you will have more options in the future to lawfully return.
If you face removal in Pennsylvania, Skinner Law Firm can assist you. Voluntary Departure may be the best option in order to one day lawfully return to the United States. Contact our voluntary departure lawyer today at (610) 436-1410 to schedule a consultation.
We serve people throughout the United States before the Philadelphia and York Immigration Courts. Our clients come from Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County, York County and beyond.
If a lawful permanent resident, visa holder or undocumented person is alleged by the Department of Homeland Security to have violated U.S. immigration law, they will receive a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court. The Notice to Appear begins removal proceeding, commonly called deportation.
After removal proceedings, an immigration judge will issue an order of removal against a noncitizen. A person must then wait a certain amount of time before legally entering the country again. The wait could be 5, 10, or 20 years. In certain scenarios, the person is permanently barred from re-entering the United States. Entering illegally after being removed is a federal criminal offense.
As an alternative, some noncitizens seek voluntary departure. If granted voluntary departure, a noncitizen will not have a removal order entered, and therefore, will not be subject to the above time bars. Voluntary departure is an attractive form of relief in circumstances where there is no viable immigration removal defense.
If a noncitizen requests and is granted voluntary departure before removal proceedings begin, he or she will be granted up to 120 days to leave the United States. This conveniently allows a person to leave on his or her own terms and to gather and arrange his or her affairs—including closing bank accounts, selling property, and to find housing and employment in his or her home country. If a noncitizen requests voluntary departure after removal proceedings, he or she must meet strict requirements under the law and post a bond.
A person who voluntarily departs the United States may apply for a visa to legally re-enter the country. As indicated above, a noncitizen that is granted voluntary departure will not be subject to the 5, 10, or 20-year time bar. However, any person who was unlawfully present in the United States may still be subject to an “unlawful presence” time bar. Unlawful presence includes circumstances in which a person overstayed a visa or entered the country without permission. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be subject to a separate 3 or 10-year bar from lawfully returning to the United States.
Time bars under immigration law can be very confusing. It is very important to speak to an attorney prior to making any decisions so that you are informed about your options. Call us at (610) 436-1410 to discuss your options.
A request for voluntary departure must be made in a timely manner. Usually, this means prior to the commencement of removal proceedings. People involved in threats to national security and those with aggravated felony convictions cannot request voluntary departure.
If a person is seeking voluntary departure after removal proceedings have concluded, he or she must meet the following requirements:
Before attending any immigration court hearing, it is important to consult the advice of an attorney in order to be best prepared. At Skinner Law Firm, we will carefully review your case and advise you if voluntary departure is your best option. If voluntary departure is the best option, we will guide you through the process so that you may one day lawfully return.
Voluntary departure may not be the most favorable outcome of a removal proceeding, but it is better than deportation. At Skinner Law Firm, we help our clients obtain the best possible result for their situation. Call us today at (610) 436-1410 to set up a consultation. We will review your situation and advise you on all of your options.