An immigration bond is a financial guarantee to the US government that the detainee will continue the immigration process out of detention. If arrested, they will have a right to be released from immigration custody if the subject meets specific requirements and can pay an immigration bond.
In 2020, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued 122,233 detainment orders. About half had a criminal history and less than half, or 43% of them had bond hearings and were granted bond.
Read what a bail bondsman in NC can do for you to get out of custody and be with your family as you navigate your legal obligations.
How to Obtain an Immigration Bond?
ICE agents or the Immigration Judge (IJ) determine if the arrested immigrant is eligible for bond or not. If you don’t have a criminal record, have family and/or relatives who might suffer due to your detainment, and you contribute to society, you are eligible for an immigration bond.
If that is the case, the bond amount will be set. There are many cases where immigrants are deemed eligible for release, but the price that they have to pay is too high. If your bond amount is unaffordable, you can request an immigration bond hearing and ask the judge to reconsider and reduce the cost of the bond.
Immigration Bond Payment
Once the amount is determined, the next step is to pay for it. A sponsor is a person who can pay the immigration bond on your behalf and complete the paperwork with the ICE agent – while you are still in custody. This is known as “posting a bond.”
A sponsor or bond obligor can be a person over 18 years and hold legal status. Your sponsor can identify themselves and prove their status with valid documentation at the closest ICE ERO, ensuring that the office accepts the bond payment. They will also be asked for their preferred way to pay.
The Payment Method
Usually, the preferred payment method is a certified check from the bank or money order in the amount of the bond made out to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Cash and personal checks are not accepted. When posting a bond, the sponsor will get an ICE Immigration Bond form (I-352). It is necessary to keep the receipt for the bond refund after.
Once the bond is posted at the ICE ERO Field Office, the office communicates with the detention center within a couple of hours. If the sponsor posts the bond in the morning, you can be released the same day. Keep in mind that you are obliged by the bond rules in place to attend every hearing and checks-in with ICE as required.
Immigration Bond Refund: How Realistic Is It?
Being released actually means that the immigration hearing process has begun. It can take more than a year before the final decision is made, hopefully with obtaining legal status. In both positive and negative outcomes, bond refunds are possible.
ICE initiates the process of bond cancelation and sends the Notice Immigration Bond Canceled Form to DHS and the sponsor at their home address. If the sponsor changes their address during the immigration process, they should inform ICE by using the Obligor Change Address Form (I-333) and ensure a notice of delivery to the correct address.
In practice, the sponsor contacts ICE Field Office to initiate the process and get the Notice Form earlier. The sponsor should send to the DHS a Request for a refund with the received Notice Form, Receipt, and Cover letter.
The bond refund process takes some time, depending on whether the sponsor is in connection with the family or the detained individual or not. The sponsor can also authorize another person to receive the refund.
If the bonded individual misses any immigration court hearing or an ICE ERO appointment, the sponsor will not receive a bond refund.
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