When an immigrant is arrested and detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, it happens suddenly. In most cases, family members and loved ones are caught off guard and it can impact their lives in numerous ways. Whether they rely on the immigrant’s income or must now take on additional responsibilities in their absence, it is stressful and frightening. When loved ones learn that they can pay an immigration bond to get the immigrant set free, they jump at the chance to do so. After learning that the money is often refundable, many pay more than they can afford because they believe that it will be a temporary expense. Unfortunately, the process isn’t as simple as it seems, and families are left questioning; how do I get immigration bond money back?
Before pursuing an immigration bond refund, it is essential to determine if you qualify for one. In most scenarios, to be eligible for an immigration bond refund, the sponsor must have paid in full at an ICE facility. Aside from making the actual payment, the immigrant must follow all of the terms of their bond. For example, if they received a voluntary departure bond, they must have left the country within the timeframe determined by ICE for the sponsor to receive a refund. Likewise, those with a delivery bond must have appeared at all court hearings and appointments. Additionally, the court case must be resolved within the immigration court system.
From there, the immigration bond sponsor (or the person who paid the bond) will receive what is known as a Notice of Bond Cancellation (Form I-139) in the mail. This form must then be sent along with Form I-305 to the Debt Management Center. This center will process the refund and a check for the amount of the bond will be sent through the mail. Unfortunately, however, many struggle to have their refund processed. In many cases, it can take a year or longer to get a refund if one is issued at all through ICE.
To avoid this situation, many who have experience in working with ICE opt to pay bonds using a bond service instead. In many cases, you can pay in full and have the money held in escrow. This money is refunded much more quickly than when it is paid to ICE. If you purchase a surety bond instead, it is important to note that these types of bonds do not warrant a refund. Because sponsors only pay a small portion of the immigration bond as a service fee, they are ineligible for a refund. Any collateral provided will not be collected unless the immigrant failed to follow the terms of their immigration bond.
Have questions about how to get immigration bond money back? Contact us at US Immigration Bonds and learn how we can help.