How Do Immigration Bonds Work and How Do You Get One?

immigration bonds

Between May and July of 2019, the average number of days that individuals spent detained for immigration violations rose from 28 to 46. That is a substantial amount of time spent away from their friends and family awaiting trial. However, it doesn’t have to be this way: immigration bonds are designed to reduce how long people spend detained. 

Keep reading to get an overview of the different types of immigration bonds that are available, and how you can go about getting a loved one back home.

What Are Immigration Bonds? 

Immigration bonds are payments made to the court to release someone who has been arrested for an immigration violation. They work in a similar manner to criminal bail bonds and are returned to you once you fulfill the conditions of the bond. 

There are two different types of immigration bonds that are available. The first is a delivery bond and applies when an individual has been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with a warrant. A delivery bond holds the money as a way to guarantee that the arrested individual will come to their immigration hearing. 

If the individual does not come to their hearing or any later appeals or hearings related to the case, they will forfeit the bond to the court and may be deported. 

Delivery bonds allow individuals to spend time with their families while they wait for their trial. However, they need to be approved for a delivery bond by a judge. Those that a judge sees as a flight risk, including those guilty of or on trial for felonies, will not be able to post a delivery bond.

The other type of immigration bond is called a voluntary departure bond. These bonds have nothing to do with immigration trials. Instead, they allow someone detained by ICE to leave the country within a specific period of time at their own expense.

If they leave the country within that period of time, they receive their bond back in full. If they do not leave, the bond is forfeited, and ICE will issue a warrant for their arrest.

How Much Does an Immigration Bond Cost?

Each case that qualifies for a bond will be given a different bond amount. That amount depends on the financial means of the defendant, the seriousness of the immigration violation, and the flight risk that the individual represents. 

The lowest that a delivery bond can cost is $1,500, while there is no hard and fast limit to how much a bond can be, according to the Justice Department. 

You can appeal the amount of your bond if you believe that the judge made a mistake in your case. Appeals have to be made within 30 days of the bond amount being handed down. In general, however, bond amounts are not changed unless there has been a significant misinterpretation of the law. 

In most cases, you won’t be able to pay the full amount of the bond all at once. Unfortunately, most families don’t have thousands of dollars in cash lying around. That’s where immigration bond agents can help you out. 

Immigration bond agents will put up the entire amount of the bond for you and will charge a fee for their service. This prevents you from having to make hard financial decisions, like taking out loans or using your savings, to get a loved one back home. 

Usually, you’ll put a small percentage of the entire bond amount as a down payment, and the bond agent will keep that down payment as their fee once the case has been closed. Many bond agents will also offer payment plans at low or no interest that will help make getting the bond even more affordable for you. Keep in mind that this means you won’t get any money back once you fulfill the terms of the bond. 

How Do You Post an Immigration Bond?

To actually pay an immigration bond to the court, you need to be an American citizen or permanent resident (a green card holder). If no one in your family falls into these categories, you need to talk to someone you trust about posting a bond. Make sure that you trust this person, as you are relying on them to give you back the cost of the bond after the immigration case is over. 

Of course, choosing to use a bond agent to post an immigration bond can get around both problems. You won’t have to find someone to post the bond for you, and you won’t have to worry about your money not being returned after the case has been closed. 

Bonds can only be posted as money orders or certified checks. Any bonds that are in excess of $10,000 need to be submitted as certified checks. Make sure that you have the means to acquire either of these formats if you are going to post the bond yourself.  

Immigration Bonds Can Get Your Loved One Back Home

You should talk to your family members and a bond agent as soon as someone you love has been detained. Immigration bonds can get them out of detainment and back home quickly, but only if you take the steps to submit the funding as soon as possible. 

Has a family member or loved one been detained for an immigration violation? Get in touch with our team at Amistad Bail and Immigration Bonds! We’ll work with you to get them back home while they await their court date, without breaking the bank to do so.