Immigration bonds are a popular choice for those who have loved ones being held in detainment by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. This is because they allow the immigrant to be released from detainment and return to their families while their case processes in court. Unfortunately, immigration bonds can be costly for families and this payment can be burdensome. Because of the financial strain, many are eager to know: are immigration bonds refundable?
The short answer is yes; but refunds are not always guaranteed when it comes to immigration bonds. Several factors will determine if funds will be returned:
Types of Immigration Bonds
There are two main forms of immigration bonds: a delivery bond and a departure bond.
A delivery bond is most common for those who wish to fight to remain in the United States. The minimum price for this form is set at $1,500 but can go upwards to more than $10,000. If the sponsor paid the amount in full to have the immigrant released from detainment, the bond terms will stipulate that they must appear for all their remaining legal proceedings. Because of this, it is not possible to receive a refund until the case has resolved in court which can take anywhere from several months to a few years. If the immigrant complied with all the terms of their delivery bond the sponsor will be eligible for a refund after the case closes, regardless of the outcome. If the immigrant did not comply, the sponsor will not be entitled to a refund.
With a departure bond, the immigrant agrees to leave the United States voluntarily without the need for formal removal or deportation hearings. Departure bonds are usually a lower cost option than delivery bonds, with the minimum amount set at $500, but other factors can increase this minimum to a higher figure. After the departure bond is paid, the immigrant will be released but remain subject to the terms of their agreement with ICE. For their cooperation, immigrants are typically granted between 60 to 120 days to get their affairs in order before they must leave the country. At that point, they must arrange and pay for their own departure. If the immigrant complied with all of the terms of the departure agreement, the sponsor will be eligible for a refund. Likewise, if the immigrant did not leave within the specified time frame or did not leave at all, no refund will be issued.
So, are immigration bonds refundable only when the immigrant complies with the terms of their bond? This is one requirement, however, the way that the immigration bond was secured is also important.
Cash Bonds Versus Surety Bonds
When an immigration bond sponsor pays the amount of the bond using their own funds (or funds collected by loved ones), it is known as a cash bond. This simply means that the bond was paid in full without the assistance of a bail bond service or agent. It does not reflect an actual payment in cash, as many ICE facilities require payments in the form of a money order or cashier’s check. In most cases, if the terms of the bond were followed, a cash bond sponsor will be able to recover the money.
Those who sought the assistance of a bond service or agent, however, will not be eligible for a refund. This is because, in these scenarios, the sponsor does not pay the full amount of the bond to secure the release of the immigrant from detainment. Instead, they purchase a “surety bond” that is traditionally between 10-20% of the total amount of the bond and backed by a form of collateral. The percentage paid to the service or agent is paid as a fee for their service and is not refundable, even if the immigrant complies with the terms of their bond. Collateral, on the other hand, will not be collected unless the immigrant fails to comply.
Want to learn more about “are immigration bonds refundable?” or have questions about how to secure the release of your loved one from ICE detainment? Contact us today to discuss the options that are available to you.