What Happens When You Get Deported?

Updated on April 11, 2024

At a Glance

  • Deportation is the legal removal of a foreigner from a country due to violating immigration laws.
  • In the U.S., Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) handles the detention and deportation process.
  • Grounds for deportation include criminal convictions, unlawful presence, forged documents, and involvement in fraudulent activities.
  • When a person is ordered for deportation, they may be detained, attend a hearing, receive a removal order, and be given the opportunity for voluntary departure.

Immigrants and nonimmigrants getting deported from the United States are not uncommon. There are a variety of reasons why the US government may deport you from the country. But what exactly happens after you’re ordered to leave? And can you re-enter the U.S. at some point in time? These are some of the important questions anyone coming into the United States should know.

What Is Deportation?

Deportation is the act of lawfully removing a foreigner from a country for violating a certain set of immigration laws. In the U.S., the detention and eventual deportation process are handled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

You can be deported on numerous grounds. The Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, specifies four such grounds. Those are:

  • Criminal conviction
  • Living in the U.S. territories unlawfully
  • Entering into the U.S. territories with forged documents
  • Involvement in activities of fraud

What Happens When a Person Is Deported from the U.S.?

If immigration officials become suspicious of the immigrant’s activities or find evidence, they’ll detain him/her at a detention center. These centers are located throughout the U.S. A case against the immigrant is then registered at an Immigration Court.

After the Judge Issues Removal Order

Once a case has been registered against you, you must attend a hearing. If the hearing goes against you, ICE will issue a document to you known as the “Bag and Baggage” letter. It details when and where you’re required to report so you can travel to your native country.

The U.S. government covers the expenses. If you were on bail, you won’t be sent back to the detention center, and you can travel (with some restrictions). You can also leave on your own, which is known as voluntary departure.

In some cases, you might not be able to leave on the specified date. This could be because of medical conditions or pending legal matters. To get additional time, you need to file an application with ICE, Form I-246, Application for a Stay of Deportation or Removal. If accepted, you can extend your deportation by the length of time listed in the application.

But there have been cases where immigrants do not receive a letter and are deported immediately. Therefore, it’s advised to file for the Stay of Deportation at the hearing itself. The judge will ask you if you want an extension and offer you the I-246 to fill out.

What If the Removal Order Is Ignored or Disobeyed?

If you ignore the Bag and Baggage letter, either knowingly or unknowingly, your case will be forwarded to the fugitive unit. A police force team will be tasked to track you down and arrest you. They can arrest you anywhere, whether at work, at school, at home, or in public places. You’re then taken to a detention center and kept in custody until travel arrangements are made. In this scenario, you won’t be allowed to file the Stay of Deportation.

How to Appeal a Deportation Order

U.S. law allows the to-be-deported to use his civil rights. So if you think your civil rights, as an immigrant or nonimmigrant, are being violated, you can file a complaint with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

To appeal the deportation order, you must first file Form I-264, Application for a Stay of Deportation or Removal. This will grant you additional time in the United States, as per INA 8 CFR 241.6.

It is a three-page form, two of which are instructions. So you only need to fill out one page. The information you need to fill out is as follows:

  • A-file number
  • Date
  • Address
  • Passport number
  • Passport expiration date
  • Length of stay requested
  • Arrested by police or other law enforcement agency
  • Reasons for requesting a Stay of Deportation or Removal
  • Evidence submitted
  • Information in the form prepared by anyone other than the applicant

You need to send it to the nearest ICE Field Office within 30 days of the court issuing the order of removal notice against you. Along with that, you need to send a payment of $155. If the appeal is accepted, you can remain for the length of stay requested in Form I-264.

Can a Person Return to the U.S. After Being Deported?

After an immigrant is court-removed from the United States, they remain inadmissible for a specified time period. This is according to INA Section 212(a)(9)(A). The period depends on the reasons for eviction, prior removals faced, and how many times an immigrant has been removed. The more severe these numbers, the lengthier the inadmissibility period is going to be. Any departure made while the removal order is in place also makes an immigrant/nonimmigrant inadmissible.

INA Section 212(a)(9)(c) makes an immigrant who has been attempting to return inadmissible if:

  • They were removed from the U.S.
  • They have been present unlawfully for over one year in aggregate

But after the inadmissibility period is over, the deported alien can reapply to return to the United States.

File Form I-212

To return, you must file Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal.

You need to file this with the correct agency. If you’re supposed to file with a field office, then filing it with CBP won’t help your cause. These instructions will be included in your deportation letter or Bag and Baggage. You can find the direct filing address here. You must supplement the form with supporting documents as evidence. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Copies of every exclusion, deportation, or removal proceeding issued by an Immigration Court
  • Evidence of relationship to any relative residing in the U.S.
  • Personal IDs
  • Passport
  • Employment records
  • Registration of your residence abroad
  • Copies of entry/exit stamps

The filing fee for this form is $930, which is non-refundable.

The decision as to whether you’re admissible to the United States is at the sole discretion of the USCIS.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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