The Form of Relief that Can be Filed as a Defense to Removal or Deportation Proceedings.

Cancellation of Removal for Non–Lawful Permanent Residents (Non-LPR Cancellation) is a form of relief that can be filed as a defense to removal or deportation proceedings. Thus, if you are in removal or deportation proceedings and have a case with the Immigration Court, you may be eligible to file for Cancellation of Removal should you meet all the eligibility requirements. This relief is only available in removal proceedings and cannot be filed outside of the immigration court. If granted non-LPR cancellation, the applicant will receive permanent resident or green card status.

Eligibility Criteria for Cancellation

To be eligible for this relief you must be able to prove:

  • Good moral character.
  • Continual physical presence in the United States for at least 10 years.
  • Your removal will cause exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to your United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse, parent, or child.

The Immigration Judge will ultimately have the last word on whether you deserve a grant of cancellation as a matter of discretion. Please read on as we break down and explain the eligibility requirements.

10 Years of Physical Presence

The first eligibility requirement is that you have been physically present in the United States continuously for at least 10 years before being placed in removal proceedings. Placement in removal proceedings stops the 10-year clock. This does not mean that if you have been in the United States for 10 years or more you will be issued a visa, a green card, or a work permit. The 10-year physical presence requirement is only one of the eligibility requirements for non-LPR cancellation, and you must present evidence to the court to prove the presence.

Documents demonstrating your continuous presence are taxes, birth certificates of your U.S.-born children, medical and work records. You might still meet this requirement even if you have had short departures from the United States. However, if you left the U.S. during those 10 years, consult with an immigration attorney to determine whether you established the physical presence requirement.

Good Moral Character

This requirement refers to the 10 years immediately preceding your application for cancellation. In other words, you will have to show that you have been a person of good moral character for 10 years prior to the filing date of your application. Having a clean criminal record is not enough to prove this criterion but it does help. Other ways to prove good moral character include community involvement and paying your taxes on time.

Note that certain criminal convictions will disqualify you from receiving approval of you cancellation application. It is very important to disclose all your past arrests and criminal convictions to your immigration attorney to assess your eligibility. If you have been arrested or convicted of any of the following crime categories, your eligibility of cancellation may be impacted: domestic violence, drug and fire arms offense, and any crime that could be defined as theft, violence and fraud.

Exceptional and Extreme Unusual Hardship to Qualifying


Lastly, you must prove that a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent spouse, parent, or child would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if you are removed from the United States. A common misconception is that the stress deportation causes in any family unit or the mere separation from family members would be enough to amount to this extreme hardship. But this is simply not the case.

A good immigration attorney will be able to advice on an individualized basis the strongest evidence that will prove qualifying hardship to your family members. Medical, financial, and educational hardships are usually the first broad areas you should consider within your family’s circumstances.

Cancellation Hearing

Once you submit your Cancellation of Removal application, you will have an opportunity to present your case in a full hearing before an immigration judge. You should provide your own testimony, as well as that of any other witnesses that could help your case. You must also present a substantial list of documents. Ultimately, the judge will consider all the evidence presented and make his ruling. Whether you will be granted Cancellation of Removal is a matter of discretion.

A successful cancellation is always the result of a thorough analysis of the individual case by an experienced immigration attorney. This form of relief takes a great deal of effort and cooperation between you and your attorney. You should always be forthcoming and disclose all pertinent information. The government will always have access to all of your criminal records and immigration history. It will be in your best interest to be completely honest and forthcoming to your immigration attorney so they could devise the best strategy for your case.

If you, or someone you know, are in deportation proceedings, call our office today. We will be happy to help you in any way we can, and guide you through this complicated process in order to increase your chances to remain in the U.S.

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