Immigration bonds are financial sureties which are used to release an immigrant from the custody of immigration services. They can be purchased by immigrants, their family members, or interested third parties. Once the funds have been posted, an immigrant will be released from custody, and once the conditions of the bond are fulfilled, the money is returned. If an immigrant fails to comply with the terms, the funds are forfeited, and the immigrant may face strict legal penalties.
Bail bonds and immigration bonds are similar, in that they are both used to get people out of custody, but they work differently. Bail bonds are used to release people who have been put in jail in connection with a criminal matter, with the amount of bail being determined on the basis of the nature of the crime, the history of the person in custody, and the information supplied by attorneys and law enforcement. Immigration bonds are issued to get immigrants out of custody when they are detained by immigration services in connection with civil matters such as overstaying a visa. It is possible for an immigrant to require both a bail bond and an immigration bond in order to be released, as when an illegal immigrant is jailed on suspicion of murder.
Before an immigration bond can be issued, representatives of the government immigration agency must determine the amount of the bond. They evaluate the circumstances and the individual, setting an amount which they think is reasonable. The goal is to set an amount which encourages the immigrant to comply with the terms of the bond, without making the cost so high that it will not be feasible to pay the bond.
Delivery immigration bonds are issued to immigrants who agree to return to court for trial after being released from custody. Once the immigrant returns for trial, the funds are given back to the person who paid for the bond. Voluntary departure bonds are issued when an immigrant agrees to leave the country voluntarily after being released from custody, with the funds being returned after the immigrant proves that he or she has left. In both cases, it can take up to a year for the funds to be returned, which is something people should be aware of when purchasing immigration bonds.
Since the amount of a bond can be considerable, immigration bonds may be purchased in the form of loans. The lender agrees to supply the amount of the bond in return for a pledge of collateral. If the terms of the bond are not satisfied, the collateral is forfeit to the lender.