In 2019, the United States Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, arrested more than 143,000 immigrants. If you or your loved one were unfortunate enough to be one of these statistics, you likely paid immigration bond money.
An immigration bond grants the temporary release of a person who is being held by ICE in a detention center. To gain freedom, a detainee must both sign a contract and have a loved one pay a set amount of money.
If you paid immigration bond money, you might be entitled to a full refund. But who is eligible for a refund, and how does it work? Continue reading to find out everything you need to know.
Can You Receive Immigration Bond Money Back?
Yes. If you paid cash for the immigration bond, it’s possible to get your money back in full.
If you worked with an immigration bondsman, however, the bond isn’t refundable. The reason for this is that the immigration bondsman was the one who fronted the bail money. You can find more detailed information on the topic at this link.
Meet All Conditions in Bond Contract
To receive your bond money back, it’s essential to meet all the conditions in the release contract. If those conditions aren’t satisfied, your bond money will be forfeit.
The most common condition in a bond contract is that all scheduled court proceedings must be attended. If the detainee fails to appear in court, the money paid for the bond is always forfeit.
Other conditions vary from case to case. These may include meeting with an ICE parole officer at regular intervals or taking random drug tests. The detainee will also likely need to continue working and remain in the state they’re registered.
Receive Form I-391 From ICE
If all bond contract conditions were met, ICE should send out form I-391. This form legally notices you and other parties that the immigration bond was canceled and can now be refunded. Both the person who posted bail and the Debt Management Center at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will receive copies of this form.
Send Out Form I-391 and Other Documents
To receive a refund, you’ll need to sign and send out form I-391 along with the bond receipt. The bond receipt is legally known as form I-305. If you have a copy of the original bond contract, you’ll also want to mail this out.
These documents won’t be sent back out to ICE, but the Debt Management Center. Make it out to “Attn: Bond Unit,” at P.O Box 5000. They are located in Williston, Vermont. The zip code is 05495-5000.
You may want to keep copies of all the documents you send, just in case something happens while the forms are in transit.
Receiving Your Immigration Bond Refund
Once the Debt Management Center receives your documents, they should begin processing an immigration bond money refund. If everything is done correctly, you’ll receive back both the original bond amount and any interest the money may have accrued.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Refund?
The time it takes to get your bond money refunded varies significantly.
It could be weeks, months, or years from the time you pay your bond until you receive form I-391 from ICE. This time varies based on how long it takes to schedule the detainee’s initial court date. If there is more than one court date, this can increase the time frame.
From the time you mail the necessary documents to the Debt Management Center until your refund is processed could be weeks or months. This time depends on how long it takes for the papers to get to the right place and how long it takes to process it.
What If You Don’t Have Your Original Receipt?
The bond receipt is generally required to receive a refund. If you don’t have one, however, you shouldn’t panic. There’s an alternative option available you can use.
Go to the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement website and find the forms section. Select form I-395. This form is an official affidavit that says you lost your receipt.
Print out the form and take it to a notary. You’ll sign the paperwork in front of the notary and include that form instead of the original receipt. Remember to include all other necessary documents in your mailing.
Tips for Ensuring Your Bond Refund Is Processed Quickly
Sometimes receiving your bond refund can be delayed. If you want to ensure the process is completed as quickly as possible, you should ensure the following:
- Mail out the forms as soon as you’ve received and completed them
- Keep all documents about the bond from the beginning (like the receipt and contract)
- Respond to ICE or Homeland Security any time they contact you (rare, but possible)
- Double-check all forms before sending them out to ensure they’re error-free
- After paying the bond initially, make sure the detainee meets all conditions in their contract
Using these tips can help make getting your immigration bond money refunded significantly easier from the beginning. If you have any questions, speak to an expert on the subject. This might include an immigration bondsman or lawyer.
Do You Have More Questions About How to Get Immigration Bond Money Back?
If you paid an immigration bond in cash, it’s possible to get your money back. The steps to do so are detailed above. The entire process can take a few months to a few years, depending on how quickly a court date is scheduled.
Do you have more questions about how to get immigration bond money back?
Check out our other blog posts. You’ll find a wealth of information on related topics.
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