What Are Immigration Bonds and How are they Different from Bail Bonds?

People who have an arrest for an immigration charge can seek an immigration bond to get out of jail. Many think they are the same but there is a difference between immigration bonds and bail bonds. Knowing the differences will help you understand what you need and how to get it. 

What Are Bail Bonds?

A bail bond is a general bond that will get you out of jail for criminal charges. When you get arrested you will have to wait for a trial. Many times, depending on the charges you can get out of jail while you wait. A bail bond is when you pay part of your full bail amount. It can vary, most pay around 10%. A bonds company will secure the rest of your bail and you will pay back the bail bond company plus interest. 

The other option to get out of jail would be to pay a cash bond, meaning you pay the full amount of your bail. This is a better option if you can afford it because it will save you money. You will only pay the bail amount and not have to pay any fees or interest. 

What Is an Immigration Bond?

An immigration bond is the same concept as a bail bond but is for immigration detainees only. If you are being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) you could qualify. While you wait for a deportation trial you can get out of jail on an immigration bond. It works the same way as a bail bond, you will pay part of your bail and the bondsman will secure the rest. There are two different types of immigration bonds. 

Delivery Bonds

Only a judge can issue a delivery bond. This type of bond will allow you to get out of detention while awaiting your trial. You can seek out a lawyer during this time or spend time with your family members. The bail bonds company agrees to deliver you (or make sure you show up) to your court hearings. 

Voluntary Departure Bond

A voluntary departure bond is a bond that you must pay in full. So, you will not use a bond company. You will pay the full amount to ICE. This type of bond when you agree to voluntarily leave the country on your own. When you leave you will get back the bond money you put up. If you fail to leave though you do not get it back. 

Cost of Bonds

Every bail is different and set by either ICE or a judge. There are a lot of different factors that determine your bail amount. The bond will be a percentage of your bail, so it varies based on the company you use and a flight risk. Your flight risk will consider your crime, family in the country, threat risk, and more. The higher your flight risk is the more your bail will be set.

Once your bail is set then the company you use will let you know what your bond amount will be. Most will be set at 10% of your bail, so if you bail is $5000 your bond would be $500. 

How to Get an Immigration Bond

There are two ways that you can get an immigration bond. Each one has advantages. You will have to consider the pros and cons to determine the best option for you. 

Surety Bond 

A surety bond is a type we have been discussing. You will use an immigration bond company and pay part of your bail. The advantage is that you will only have to pay a percentage of your bail, not the entire amount. The disadvantage is you may pay more in the long run in fees. 

Cash Bond

A cash bond is when you pay the entire amount of the bail to ICE. The advantage is that you will save money. Once you have completed all of your court requirements you get the money back and no fees. The disadvantage is that this can be expensive, and it can take some time to get a refund when court is over. 

Process of Getting an Immigration Bond

The process may seem difficult but here is a step-by-step guide on how the process works. Each case can have variations but in general, all immigration bail settings work the same. 


The process will start with an immigration-related arrest. The person will then become a detainee with ICE. You can check their status through ICE. 

Bail Setting

Once bail is requested you will see a judge who will consider you for bail. They will consider your flight risk, that is the risk that you will run away and not come to court. They will also consider if you might be a danger to the community. If you have a large criminal history this could hurt your chances. If the judge thinks you are a low risk, then they will set your bail.

Securing a Bond

Your family and friends can then secure a bond with a bond company or pay your bail in full. Review the options above on which option will be best for you. Avoid using collateral to secure your bond if you can to avoid losing the property.

Pay the Bond

You will pay the bail bonds directly to ICE. They will only accept cash, cashier’s checks, and money orders. No personal checks. Once paid they will let you out of jail.

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