Is a Voluntary Departure order different than a deportation order?
If you are in removal proceedings and are afraid that you are going to get a deportation order and no other relief appears available, then voluntary departure is something to consider. Although you will need to leave the United States, it is better than having a deportation order on your record. It will not stop you from legally returning to the United States in the future. For example, if you get a visa or a petition from a family member, you can come back into the country and eventually legalize yourself as a legal permanent resident commonly referred to as getting a green card.
What exactly is Voluntary Departure? If you are unlikely to qualify for any relief from deportation, you may be eligible to receive voluntary departure. Voluntary departure is not the same thing as deportation because, although you do have to leave the United States, you are not automatically barred from returning. It is also not considered an order of deportation on your immigration record.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE IS ARRESTED BY IMMIGRATION OFFICERS, DO NOT SIGN FOR VOLUNTARY DEPARTURE UNTIL YOU HAVE CONSULTED WITH AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY!! MANY IMMIGRATION OFFICERS TELL PEOPLE THAT THEIR CASE IS HOPELESS AND THAT THEY SHOULD JUST LEAVE VOLUNTARILY. THIS IS ILLEGAL FOR THEM TO DO.
If, after consulting with an immigration attorney, it’s determined that voluntary departure is the best option for you, you can request it from the immigration judge. There are many factors that determine whether you will receive voluntary departure including when you entered the United States, any criminal history, and financial ability to leave the United States. If you agree to voluntary departure, you automatically waive your right to appeal the Judge’s decision or reopen your case. If you try to appeal the decision, or try to reopen your case, the voluntary departure order turns into a deportation order and will appear as such on your immigration record.