Immigration & Naturalization Law
How to Withdraw Money From Your Bank Account if You Are Deported
Deportation from the U.S. is a reality for any foreign national who is found in violation of the law. Being deported is a difficult experience. It can be especially hard for immigrants who have already been in the U.S. for many years and accumulated properties, savings, or businesses. They may even have children born in the U.S.
During the fiscal year 2019, there were 267,258 individuals ineligible to legally remain in the country who were deported from the United States. In addition to navigating the deportation process, many of these people also had to plan their departures. This includes deciding what to do with their assets and with the money in their bank accounts.
Immigration law can be very fact-specific and there may be additional factors to consider for financial considerations and deportation. For legal assistance, contact a local immigration attorney who can address your individual needs.
The most important thing to know is that the money you have raised and accumulated during your stay in the U.S. still belongs to you. It will not be seized or frozen by the U.S. government, unless that money was from criminal activities.
Depending on the type of order issued, someone facing deportation proceedings may have some time to decide what to do with their money.
For example, if you chose to take a voluntary departure, there would likely be an opportunity to plan your exit. You usually have 120 days, during which time you can withdraw your money, or decide what to do with your assets, including selling any property or cars.
These are unfortunate but common cases when facing deportation:
- Someone was detained with a deportation order and did not have time to plan their departure
- Someone was deported but did not withdraw the money from the bank before arriving in their country of origin
- The deportee does not have someone back in the U.S. to help them
Fortunately, there are some ways to access accounts, although this can be challenging. For example, you could use the following procedures:
- Have a person act as an authorized signer on your American bank account: This agent would be able to withdraw your money and send it to your country or make a transfer from your account in the U.S. to your account in the foreign country. You may have to pay a fee to the bank.
- Contact your U.S. bank if you do not have an authorized signer: You can explain your situation and request a transfer of your money to a foreign account. Many banks support this service. You will have to comply with the bank’s requirements and wait for the transfer to go through.
- Use your account from your country: If you have a debit card, you could withdraw your money using an ATM. You have to pay the service fees each time you take out money. You could also pay your expenses using a credit card or debit card.
- Operate your account online: You can make the necessary transfers to other foreign accounts or even withdraw the cash using the fast remittance services of well-known companies. Check with your bank for options.
- Convert your bank account into an account for foreigners: To do this, you need to download the W-8 BEN form by visiting the IRS website and following their instructions. This will allow you to manage your account from another country. There will be tax rules for foreign residents if they apply to your situation.
If you want to prepare in case you face deportation, you could consider the following recommendations in advance:
- Authorized signer
- Power of attorney
- Attorney representation
An immigrant to the U.S. who does not have permanent resident status should consider the process of adding someone as an authorized signer to their bank accounts. This lets them act on your behalf and access your money. Consider a trusted friend or acquaintance who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder.
This is useful if you were to face deportation proceedings since this person could withdraw your money from the account and distribute it according to your wishes. Make sure you have full trust in this person to act on your behalf and carry out your wishes.
There is also the resource of drawing up a power of attorney. This authorizes a trusted relative, friend, spouse, or acquaintance to manage your finances. It is helpful if a situation arises that prevents you from handling your own money, like facing deportation.
This person would have the authority to withdraw your money from your accounts in the U.S. and transfer it if that is your wish. A power of attorney is very advantageous. It allows you to specify what kinds of decisions you want to be made on your behalf in exact detail. This could include the management of:
- Your bank accounts
- Your businesses
- Your car and property
- The living situations of your children
- Your retirement accounts
Suppose you do not have a trusted friend or relative who you can leave authorized to handle your finances and bank accounts. In that case, you could retain the services of an immigration attorney to represent you. An immigration attorney may be able to handle both your immigration case and assist with any property concerns.
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