Deportation is a serious problem for backpackers and expatriates. If you over stay your visa, work illegally or break the law, you are liable for deportation. However, deportations can happen by accident as in my case. I was given deportation orders after visiting the Department of Immigration and Citizenship of Australia after someone had “flagged” my passport. I won’t go into the details of the flag but it wasn’t good (and unfortunately for me was quickly resolved but only after I reentered the United States on my own dime). If you are given deportation orders, it is best to follow them and exit the country immediately.
With that being said, there are a few things to keep in mind regarding deportation orders. Usually, the orders will give you a chance to leave of your own free will (as in my case) and most of the time, you won’t get an ugly deportation stamp in the back of your passport and more likely than not, be allowed back into the country after a set amount of time (or simply after you leave and get a new visa). Deportation orders usually come with terms and conditions, you must leave within a set amount of time, buy your own ticket out (don’t necessarily need to go home but you can’t stay here) and stay outside the country for a set period of time.
If you violate the deportation orders, you are in for a nasty surprise. You will more likely than not be detained in an immigration detention centre while the host country processes you out. If you are detained, you can expect to sit in the detention centre for up to a week and sometimes longer. At this point, it is an official deportation, you get the deportation stamp in the back of your passport and free ticket home (they usually don’t give you a plane ticket to anywhere but your home country). You may have just stopped and saw I said free ticket and yes, it is free in a sense but you will be billed for the ticket and usually fined, it will be much more expensive than if you had self-deported.
If you were forcefully deported, cross that country off the places you cannot visit again as you won’t be allowed back in until you repay the ticket, fine and have to wait a set period of time, that is if they even let you back in. Not only that, be prepared to answer some questions at the next port of entry as immigration officers really don’t like seeing deportation stamps. However, hope is not lost if you find yourself with one of those stamps in the back of your passport and in fact, is easy to rectify (won’t help you get back into the country you were deported from).
If you have a lot of problems getting into countries with that deportation stamp, the solution is simple, get a new passport. Yes it is that easy. Granted, you may want to report the passport as “lost” if you don’t want to explain to your home country why you were deported but usually you are fine. As Americans, we can renew our passports at anytime and thus, this is the easiest solution. I’ve never experienced the wrath of the deportation stamp myself but have had a few friends that did so I know a little bit about the troubles it causes. If you want to reenter the country that you were deported from, pay the fine, the plane ticket and wait out the time. There is no simple solution to getting back in to a country you were deported from.
Keep in mind, most countries ask you if you have ever been deported or removed from a country. If you have but never got the stamp or it is no longer in your (new) passport, then tick no. It saves you time and energy from explaining what the hell happened. Thankfully in this modern age of computers, countries still do not share who has been deported and why, hence the stamp. If you have that stamp and the arrival card asks if you have been deported, obviously you need to tick yes because it will be quite obvious to the immigration officer you are lying and you’ll probably be booted out of another country.
The longer you are outside your home country, the more likely a deportation will happen at some point in your travels, it’s a simple fact. You need to work, you don’t want to leave, you get too drunk and end up in the drunk tank, whatever it might be. However, if you follow your visa, leave when your supposed to, and avoid brushes with the law, you’ll be just fine. This won’t be my last article on deportation either as there is a lot more to them than you think. In later posts, I will tell you how to bide time (something I discovered by accident working on my permanent residence visa for Australia) and even use a deportation to your advantage.