A Guide to Cancellation of Removal Eligibility for Non-LPR Immigrants

If you are a foreign-born national and have been living in the United States, either legally or illegally, without Legal Permanent Resident status, then there is a chance that you will at some point be faced with the threat of deportation.

Luckily, you may have recourse available to you to stop the deportation proceedings if you have lived in the US for a long time.

Cancellation of Removal provides relief from deportation under the Immigration and Nationality Act. If accepted, cancellation of removal results in a grant of lawful permanent resident status (better known as a “Green Card”).

There are four criteria that applicants for a cancellation of removal must prove in order to be eligible and have their application approved. Even if all four elements are clearly proven, the judge in your case still has the discretion to rule against you, so it is important you utilize an immigration lawyer to help you put forth the best possible application, halt deportation proceedings against you, and achieve legal permanent resident status.

Below are the four basic criteria that you must show to apply for cancellation of removal and how you can go about proving them.

Continuous physical presence in the United States for 10 years

Your time begins with your entry into the United States and runs to the point at which you receive the Notice to Appear in Immigration Court.  You can prove that you have been continuously present in the US for 10 years (prior to receiving your Notice to Appear in immigration court) through tax statements, housing records, witness testimony, etc. Your “continuous presence” is considered disrupted if you leave the country for over 90 days at a time or for more than 180 days total through multiple absences. It can also be disrupted if you are charged with certain crimes.

Good Moral Character

Successful applicants for cancellation of removal must show that they have been residents of “good moral character” during their time in the United States. This is defined as “character which measures up to the standards of average citizens of the community in which the applicant resides.” This means you must have not committed certain crimes and fulfilled all of your obligations under the law during your time here. This is a subjective criteria which can be proven through a clean criminal record, proof that you have always paid your bills, and witness testimony as to your upstanding character and positive qualities.

Not Convicted of Certain Crimes

This is probably the most straightforward criterion. There are certain crimes, such as those considered “aggravated felonies” like murder or rape, which you cannot have been convicted of if you want to be granted a cancellation of removal.

Removal Would Cause a Qualifying Relative Exceptional and Extremely Unusual Hardship

This is the most difficult criterion to prove. First, you must show that you have a qualifying relative, which can either be a spouse, child, or parent who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.  Next, you must show that your deportation would cause that relative “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.” This proof must demonstrate that your removal would go far above and beyond the hardship that a normal deportation would be expected to cause a family. A major medical issue or severe illness in the qualifying relative is a common factor in successful cancellation of removal applications.

There are other situations where an immigrant in the US could qualify for a cancellation of removal, such as if he or she has been a victim of domestic abuse. Furthermore, legal permanent residents in the US have their own specific criteria they must fulfill if they are facing deportation and want to cancel their removal.

If you are in danger of deportation, please contact Saleh and Associates to discuss your options and learn how we can help.


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