Voluntary Departure: What Happens If You Don’t Leave?


Before a Voluntary Departure Order is discussed, a Removal Order must be explained. A “Removal” is performed by an Immigration Judge where someone is required to physically depart the United States by a certain time. The removal order will contain the exact date by which someone must depart the United States (normally 30 days from the date of the issuance of the removal order). A removal damages a noncitizen’s ability to re-enter the U.S. for five, ten, or twenty years, or even permanently.

Ignoring an order of voluntary departure

Voluntary departure permits a non-citizen to avoid an order of removal. The departure is funded by the non-citizen, and it not “controlled” by the U.S. Government. Merely, an exit is needed. Failure to depart leads to a Deportation Order, plus more.

Additionally, a non-citizen who fails to timely depart the United States might have to pay a civil monetary penalty of between $1,000 and $5,000.

Lastly, failure to depart the U.S. on time damages your ability to attain future U.S. immigration status. Generally, an automatic ten-year bar is created. Meaning, someone who ignores a voluntary departure is unable to seek cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, registry, and another voluntary departure.

Automatic Removal Order

If a non-citizen fails to voluntarily depart, the voluntary departure order automatically becomes an order of removal. The non-citizen can be removed from the U.S. without first seeing a judge.

If the non-citizen later departs the United States, the departure will be considered a self-removal and all adverse consequences of deportation will occur.


Disclaimer: This Blog is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.