Returning to the U.S. after Voluntary Departure

One of the benefits of asking for Voluntary Departure is that, based on how you left the country, you might be able to come back. But you will have to do certain things and meet certain standards. Here’s the big picture: 

  • Waiting Period: Depending on whether you violated other immigration laws and whether you might qualify for a waiver, you might have to wait outside the U.S. for 3, 10 years, or permanently. However, you did not violate any other immigration law, you may be able to return to the U.S. after securing a visa.  
  • Reentry Permission: If you left the U.S. on your own, you would need to get permission from U.S. immigration officials to come back. Getting permission to come back to a country can be different based on why you left and what your immigration status is now. 
  • Applying for a Visa: The type of visa you need depends on why you want to go back to the U.S. (e.g., to visit, study, work, etc.) and if you are eligible for that type of visa. 
  • Consular Processing: If you need a visa, you usually must go through consular processing at an office or consulate of the U.S. in your home country. This process includes sending in the necessary paperwork, going to an interview, and paying any fees that may be required. 
  • Admissibility Determination: When you land at a U.S. port of entry, an immigration officer will decide if you can enter the country. They will look at things like your immigration background, why you left the country before, and any paperwork or permissions you got to come back. 

It’s important to remember that immigration laws and policies can change, so it’s best to talk to an immigration lawyer or contact the right U.S. government agency, like USCIS or the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, for the most up-to-date and accurate information about your situation.