After receiving notice that a loved one has been detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, the first thought that many have is simply how they can get the immigrant back home. In most cases, the only way to make this happen quickly is by paying for an immigration bond. Although the cost for bonds varies greatly on a case by case basis, the minimum is always around $500 for a voluntary departure bond and closer to $1,500 for a delivery bond. This amount is dependent upon risk and can often exceed $10,000 which is a large sum of money for most families. The fact that the bond amount is refundable makes many families feel more secure about handing over the money but how do you collect money from bonds?
Before an immigration bond sponsor can attempt to recover the funds paid for a bond, first and foremost, the immigrant’s case must be considered resolved in the court system. The outcome does not affect whether the sponsor is eligible for a refund, so even if the immigrant was inevitably removed from the country, a refund is still possible. The main factor in determining refund eligibility instead is if the immigrant abided by the terms of their bond. This means that they had to appear at every hearing or check-in required throughout their case, while also avoiding criminal charges or further arrests. If they did, the sponsor is likely eligible for a refund. On the other hand, if the immigrant did not comply, the bond will be considered breached and the sponsor will be ineligible to receive a refund.
Likewise, the sponsor must have paid money directly to ICE to secure the immigration bond to be eligible. This means that those who used a bail bond company cannot receive a refund for any of the money that they paid to the company. This is because the percentage of the bond required was paid as a fee for the service and not directly towards the payment of the bond itself. Any collateral provided to a bail bond company will not be collected if the immigrant complied with the terms of their bond, however, if they did not, the sponsor will lose this collateral to cover the costs ensued by the company.
At some point after the resolution of the case (it may take up to a year), an eligible sponsor will receive a form I-391, or Notice of Immigration Bond Canceled, in the mail. Because of this, it is important to ensure that ICE has your current address on file. Once it is received, you must then mail a copy of the form, along with a Form I-305, or Receipt of Immigration Officer and a letter requesting a refund to the State Debt Management Center. There, they will process the refund and will send a check in the mail. This process typically takes around 4 weeks but may take longer in some cases.
Have questions about how do you collect money from bonds or want to learn more about securing an immigration bond for your loved one? Contact us today to learn how we can help.