How do I know if I’ve ever been ordered removed from the United States?

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An order of removal (Part 3, Question 4 on Form I-90), also known as an order of deportation, is a legal and enforceable order of expulsion from the United States and the suspension from returning to the U.S. for a specific amount of time. An order of removal is most often issued by an immigration judge after a full court process, or in the case of a person apprehended at a port of entry, it can also be issued by Customs and Border Protection officials. An order of removal is the immigration “sanction” given to persons found to have violated immigration laws.

An order of removal should not to be confused with an action of voluntary departure. Voluntary departure can be given at the discretion of immigration authorities when a foreign person is found to be in the U.S. in violation of immigration laws. Instead of commencing full legal removal proceedings before an immigration judge, a grant of voluntary departure allows the person to leave the country on his or her own decision instead of pursuing proceedings and face the risk of getting a removal order.

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