Your Guide to Voluntary Departure

When you are required to leave the U.S., you may want to opt for a Voluntary Departure for a smoother transition. Manji Law, P.C. can offer advice. Call now!

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Atlanta Immigration Attorney Jameel Manji

Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.

Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: April 19, 2023.

Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with the Atlanta Immigration Court, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.

What Should You Know About Voluntary Departure


Deportation is a devastating experience for individuals and families anywhere in the United States. It can lead to financial hardship, separation from family members, and a sense of alienation. You could also lose your cultural identity and sense of belonging if forced to leave your home, job, and familiar surroundings in the United States.

For these reasons, you may seek voluntary departure from the country. This is an immigration relief that allows you to depart voluntarily within a specific amount of time. This has fewer negative consequences than facing deportation or removal proceedings.

Applying for an order of voluntary departure can be difficult, as the requirements can be complex and confusing. Applicants are required to provide their detailed immigration information and supporting documentation for this process. A single miscalculation could negatively impact your livelihood, familial relations, and ability to re-enter the U.S.

When your future hangs in the balance, there is no substitute for having a trustworthy Atlanta deportation lawyerTheir experience and advocacy skills can help protect your rights and achieve a favorable outcome in a voluntary departure order. 

What Is Voluntary Departure?

Voluntary departure allows you to leave the US by your choice and at your cost within the specified timeline to avoid deportation. You can request a voluntary departure from the immigration judge at the beginning of your immigration court proceedings (pre-conclusion voluntary departure) or at your immigration case’s final hearing (post-conclusion voluntary departure).


Voluntary Departure Eligibility Requirements

Depending on when you decide to make a request, the qualification requirements for requesting voluntary departure can differ as follows:


Pre-Conclusion Voluntary Departure Qualification Requirements:

You must:

  • Request for voluntary departure on or before your immigration case hearing begins.
  • Agree that you are unlawfully present in the US.
  • Waive or withdraw any application to remain in the US.
  • Show proof that you have the financial ability and intent to leave the US.
  • Demonstrate that you are a person of good moral character.


Post-Conclusion Voluntary Departure Qualification Requirements:

You must:

  • Show proof that you have been present in the United States for at least one year before receiving the Notice to Appear from the government.
  • Pay a voluntary departure bond of $500 or more.
  • Show proof that you have the financial means and intent to leave the US.
  • Demonstrate you have been a person of good moral character for at least five years.

In addition to the above, you cannot qualify if you have been convicted of an aggravated felony. You may also be asked to supply a valid passport or travel document to show you can gain lawful entry to your home country.

Voluntary Departure Procedures

You will have to request a voluntary departure from the immigration judge and submit all supporting documentation. Once the judge reviews all information, they will decide whether to grant voluntary departure or not.

If you are granted a voluntary departure, you may have to pay a voluntary departure bond. This bond will be returned to you after you depart from the United States and provided you satisfy the terms of the voluntary departure.


What Documents May Be Required for Voluntary Departure?

No form is required to apply for voluntary departure in the United States. You simply have to request a voluntary departure from the immigration judge.

It may be a good idea to put together an information package for the judge to review before you request voluntary departure. Helpful information can include:

  • Copies of green cards, birth certificates, and other papers showing your family members are lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens.

  • Copies of your marriage certificate if your spouse is a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen.

  • Records of employment, utility bills, certificates from classes completed, or any other documents showing the length of time you have been in the U.S.

  • Bank statements evidencing you have money to pay for your return to your home country.

  • Copies of passports or travel documents to show you can legally enter your home country.

  • Letters of support from family, friends, employers, or religious leaders that can serve as evidence that you are a good person.

Voluntary Departure Appeal

If your request for voluntary departure is denied, you may appeal the decision if you have reserved your right to appeal. You also have to provide the Board of Immigration Appeals evidence of posting the voluntary departure bond within 30 days of filing the appeal.


Pros and Cons of Voluntary Departure


  • Your Immigration record will not show a deportation order, which could allow you to return to the U.S. sooner.
  • You may not be required to serve a ten-year ineligibility period in the absence of a deportation order.
  • You may be eligible to apply for a visa to return to the U.S. legally.


  • You leave the U.S. of your own accord and at your expense.
  • If you fail to depart the U.S. within the specified timeframe, you may be required to appear before an immigration judge and may be subject to additional penalties. The judge may issue a final removal order to deport you from the U.S. and you may be placed in the Georgia Immigration Detention Center as you await forceful deportation.

An experienced immigration lawyer will be able to explain the benefits and negatives of voluntary departure and help you identify a solution suitable for your situation.

Consult an Immigration Attorney


Voluntary departure is a complex and time-sensitive process, and it is essential to understand the requirements and the potential consequences of failing to comply with them.

Consider consulting with a top-rated immigration attorney Atlanta, GA, to ensure your rights are protected, and you have a chance of success. An experienced attorney from Manji Law P.C. can provide helpful advice, answer your questions, and help you navigate the process. They will also help ensure that your application is filed correctly and your rights are protected.

Contact Manji Law P.C. immigration lawyers in Atlanta, GA, today to discuss your options!


Frequently Asked Questions

Is Voluntary Departure Considered Deportation?

No. Voluntary departure is an alternative to deportation, allowing you to depart voluntarily within a specific timeframe.

How Long Does Voluntary Departure Take?

Typically, upon granting your voluntary departure request, the judge will specify a period from 60 to 120 days in which you must depart the United States.

Can You Return to the U.S. After Voluntary Departure?

Yes. You may be able to apply for a visa to legally enter the U.S. after an appropriate waiting period has lapsed.