Requesting Voluntary Departure & Cancellation of Removal in Immigration Court
What is Voluntary Departure?
Voluntary departure is a form of discretionary relief from removal that allows a respondent to leave the United States on his or her own, rather than under a removal order. Because it is discretionary, note that an applicant is not necessarily entitled to it. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), prior to instituting removal proceedings, or the Immigration Judge (IJ), at the beginning or end of removal proceedings, may grant voluntary departure in lieu of ordering the respondent removed from the United States.
Voluntary departure provides a number of benefits. First, since it is not a removal order, leaving the United States under voluntary departure does not lead to ten years of inadmissibility INA §212(a)(9)(A). Voluntary departure also allows the individual to leave on his or her own, rather than being formally “deported.” Persons who gain the most benefit from a grant of voluntary departure are those who ultimately will have to travel abroad to obtain their immigrant visas because they do not qualify for adjustment of status.