The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion letter on September 19, 2006, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Appropriate License to Sell Federal Immigration Bonds
What kind of insurance license is required in New York to sell immigration bonds?
A property/casualty insurance agent or broker license is required in New York to sell immigration bonds.
No specific facts were presented for this inquiry.
Immigration bonds are authorized, inter alia, to assure the future appearance of aliens at immigration hearings under authority granted to the United States Attorney General pursuant to 8 USC 1226(a)(2)(A). The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), an agency of the United States Justice Department, has promulgated a regulation, 8 CFR 103.6(a), that prescribes the form of the bond and who may post such a bond, generally a surety holding an authorization certificate from the Secretary of the Treasury, 8 CFR 103.6(b). The form of the bond is prescribed as Form I-352, Immigration Bond.
The mandated bond form guarantees the appearance of the alien from the time of his or her release from custody until the final determination of the INS proceeding. The surety is partially exonerated if the alien is produced no later than 30 days from the due date of the proceeding, the amount of the exoneration decreasing as the default period increases.
Immigration bonds are authorized by N.Y. Ins. Law § 1113(a)(16) (McKinneys 2006) as fidelity and surety insurance. As such, rates for immigration bonds are filed with the New York State Insurance Department under Article 23 of the New York Insurance Law.
Accordingly, a property/casualty insurance agent or broker license is required in New York to sell immigration bonds.
Please note, that bail bond business is authorized by N.Y. Ins. Law § 6801 (McKinneys 2000) and that bail agents are licensed under N.Y. Ins. Law § 6802 (McKinneys Supp. 2006) to sell bail bonds under the provisions of Article 68 of the New York Insurance Law. A license granted under N.Y. Ins. Law § 6802 does not authorize the licensee to sell immigration bonds which are authorized by N.Y. Ins. Law § 1113(a)(16).
For further information you may contact Special Counsel Athan Shinas at the Albany Office.