After ICE has taken a foreign national into detention prior to removal proceedings, the foreign national can ask the immigration judge for bond. This is a certain amount of money that they pay to the court in exchange for being released until the resolution of the proceedings. Read more here about bond hearings and which types of foreign nationals may be eligible for bond. If the foreign national shows up for hearings and complies with any court orders, the bond money will be returned at the conclusion of the proceedings. If they do not, the bond money is forfeited to the government.
The person who posts the bond money, known as the obligor, is usually not the foreign national who is in removal proceedings. You must be a U.S. citizen or hold legal status in the U.S. to post bond. Most often, a family member or friend of the foreign national will post bond.
Getting Back the Bond Money
Once the proceedings have concluded, ICE will send a notice of immigration bond cancellation to the obligor if the foreign national has met the conditions of the bond. It also will send this notice, known as Form I-391, to the Debt Management Center at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). You should be aware that ICE may send Form I-391 to your old address if you move during the course of the proceedings. Getting the bond money back involves sending Form I-391 and your original immigration bond receipt, known as Form I-305, to the Debt Management Center. If you have Form I-352, which is the original copy of the bond contract, you should include it in your mailing.
Sometimes the obligor will not be able to locate their immigration bond receipt. If this happens, you can print and complete Form I-395, which is an Affidavit in Lieu of Lost Receipt of United States ICE for Collateral Accepted as Security. You will need to sign this form in the presence of a notary public. Then, you can send it with the I-391 notice and Form I-352 to the Debt Management Center.
The Debt Management Center should refund you for not only the original amount of the bond but also any interest that has accrued during the course of the proceedings. You might receive this money a few months after the end of the proceedings.