Securing an Immigration Bond, If You Get Into Legal Trouble

In the US, anyone who is arrested for a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty. For this reason, most states in the US permit bail bonds, which allow someone accused of a crime to leave jail until trial, with the promise to return for court dates. Bail can be paid in cash to the court, but in most cases bail is set so high that defendants cannot come up with the money themselves. Instead, they visit a bail bond agent, a professional who charges usually about 10% of the bail amount plus fees and posts the bail on behalf of the defendant. The defendant can then leave jail and continue to work and live normally until their trial or court date.

For foreign nationals accused of a crime in the US, the process is much the same, expect that immigration bonds are federal bonds and only some bondsmen agree to write bonds for non-US citizens. Once a judge has declared a bail amount, a national can contact a bondsman in order to post bond. The bondsman will request 10% of the bond amount up front and will usually require collateral or proof that the defendant can pay the full amount if they leave town. Since immigration bonds are considered risky – immigrants have strong ties outside the country, which permit them to flee the law – many bondsmen offering immigration bonds will charge more than 10% to defendants who are not US citizens or permanent residents. In order for a bondsman to post an immigration bond, he or she will usually need to complete and file immigration Form I352 (Immigration Bond).

Form I-352 is an immigration bond, meaning that it is filed by a professional company or bonds company in most cases. Form I-352 is used to ensure that an individual will appear as requested for their court dates or will leave the United States by a specified date or will not become a public charge. The purpose of his form is to guarantee that a national will take specific steps as promised to both the government and the bondsman company. USCIS Form I-352 is seven pages long and is an important step in the process of posing an immigration bond.

If a bondsman has filed immigration form I352 and has posted bail on your behalf, it is important to follow the directions outlined on immigration form I 352 carefully. Failure to do so can mean jail time and other penalties. If your USCIS Form I-352 certifies that you will leave the country by a specific date, it is important to do so. If the immigration form declares that you will attend court dates, it is vital that you do so. Failure to appear in court as request will usually mean withdrawal of your immigration bond and a warrant issued for your arrest.