You may be able to request voluntary departure if you wish to depart the United States using your own money. A grant of voluntary departure allows you to depart the United States by a date set by the immigration judge. Voluntary departure allows you time to close bank accounts, terminate leases, sell real estate and other personal property, spend time with friends and family, make arrangements to transport personal items outside the United States, and make living arrangements outside the United States before you have to depart the United States. You can be granted up to 120 days to depart the country.
If you depart the United States as directed, you will not have an order of removal on your record. Voluntary departure is typically a better option than being ordered removed. However, if you fail to there are significant consequences if you fail to depart the United States by the date set by the immigration judge. You should not request voluntary departure unless you actually intend to depart and have the means to do so. If you fail to depart the United States in compliance with your voluntary departure, you face the following consequences:
- You may be required to pay a civil monetary penalty;
- You will be subject to an automatic 10-year bar to future immigration benefits for which there is no waiver; and
- You will automatically be subject to an order of removal.
Eligibility for voluntary departure varies depending upon whether the request is made at a Master Calendar Hearing or after your removal proceedings have been concluded. However, you generally need to be able to show the following:
- You have not been convicted of an aggravated felony;
- You have a valid passport or other travel document;
- You have the financial ability to depart the country; and
- You have the intent to depart the United States in compliance with the immigration judge’s order.