Cancellation of removal is a form of relief available to individuals who have been placed in removal (deportation) proceedings in the Immigration Court.
This application is only possible in removal proceedings. Person may not apply for this relief unless government initiates removal proceedings. If an application is granted by the Immigration judge, a person will receive (or retain) permanent residency (green card).
This form of relief is only available one time. Once, granted, a person may not apply for the same relief later again.
Different standards for eligibility for cancellation of removal are applied for lawful permanent residents (“LPRs”) and non-LPRs. Recipients of a grant of cancellation are eligible for permanent residency in the United States.
- Cancellation of Removal for Lawful Permanent Residents:
Lawful permanent residents (LPR)s, i.e. green card holders, may be placed in deportation proceedings due to certain criminal convictions that render them inadmissible or subject to being removed from the United States. LPRs convicted of aggravated felonies are not eligible for cancellation of removal relief. This procedure is used most often for lesser criminal offences.
According to INA §240A(a), cancellation is available for any LPR who:
1) Has been an lawful permanent resident for not less than five years; and
2) Has resided in the United States for not less than seven years in any status; and
3) Has not been convicted of an aggravated felony.
- Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents: “10 years law”.
Pursuant to INA §240A(b), cancellation of removal is available to a non-permanent resident of the United States in any immigration status who:
1) Has continuously physically resided in the United States for at least 10 years; and
2) Has been a person of good moral character throughout this time; and
3) Is not otherwise subject to criminal bars arising from a conviction of any crime; and
4) Establishes that removal would result in “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” to the alien’s spouse, parent, or child who is a United States citizen or legal permanent resident.
While a stricter standard is used for non-permanent residents, it is especially beneficial provision for immigrants who came to the United States illegally or overstayed their visas who are not eligible to adjust their legal status.
Even if you meet all of the basic requirements, the immigration judge still has discretion to decide whether or not to approve an application for cancellation of removal. Applicant’s character and personal history plays a major role in Judge’s decision. Therefore, it is crucially important to convince an immigration judge that you are honest, credible person and truly deserve to be allowed to stay in the U.S. and receive a green card.
Only 4,000 cancellation of removal visas can be given each year from non-LPRs. This number is usually reached very quickly. This means that even if you have an approvable cancellation application, the immigration judge will not be able to announce a decision on your application until a “visa number” (a green card) becomes available again.
If you believe that you may qualify for a cancellation of removal case, contact Bokshan Law Firm for a consultation.