If you posted an immigration bond for a person to be released from immigration custody, you are considered an “obligor”. An obligor must be an adult (over the age of 18) and must be present in the USA pursuant to some lawful status. If you attempt to post a bond with immigration while you are here undocumented, you risk being arrested.
As an obligor, you are expected to guarantee the person’s appearance in court to your best ability. When you post the bond, you will present your identification and will receive an original bond receipt and a copy of the bond contract. It is important you safely preserve both of these documents. At the conclusion of the case, you should seek to have that money returned to you. While the money is in government possession, it is earning interest, thus any bond refund would include interest earned and an accounting of how that interest was calculated.
The outcome of the case is not relevant to the issue of refund. Whether the person won his case before the immigration court, for example, and can stay in the United States or whether the person was removed from the country does not matter in order to get the bond money back. What does matter is that the person complied with the terms of his case. Those terms are found in the bond contract that is given to the obligor when the bond is paid and in a checklist given to the person being released. The terms always include:
- Attending all scheduled immigration court hearings: and
- Notifying the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforemcent (ICE) of any change of address
The terms can also include other things such as not leaving the jurisdiction without ICE consent and not being convicted of criminal offenses. If the foreign national violates the bond conditions, ICE can deem the bond money forfeited and, absent a successful challenge of that determination, the money will be kept by the government.
How do I begin the refund request?
Usually the obligor does not have to begin the request. Once the case is finished, ICE notifies the U.S. Debt Management Center of the bond’s cancellation. The Debt Management Center then sends a notice of the immigration bond’s cancellation to the obligor. This “Notice – Immigration Bond Cancelled”, form I-391, contains instructions to follow to obtain the refund. It can take several months until form I-391 is received in the mail. Once form I-391 arrives, the obligor must provide the following to request the refund:
- Form I-391
- The original bond receipt, form I-305
- The copy of the bond contract, form I-352
These documents must be mailed to
Debt Management Center
Attention: Bond Unit
P.O. Box 5000
Williston, VT 05495-5000
What if I don’t hear from the Debt Management Office?
If you believe the case has concluded but you have not received the form necessary to begin the refund process you can write that office at the above listed address, and request they commence the process. With your request, you should send them a copy of the bond receipt and contract you received when you posted the bond as well as your complete name, address and phone number. That office will reply to you within weeks and either begin your request or inform you that the refund is not yet due (because the case is not completed) or that the refund will not be due (because the bond terms were violated)
If you have any further questions or would like to speak with one of our experienced immigration law attorneys, please reach out to us today at 404-850-9394 or click here to complete our contact form.
At Antonini & Cohen, we have been providing energetic, effective and aggressive representation in all areas of American immigration law since 1991.