If you are a non-permanent resident who faces removal from the United States, your best defense to deportation may be cancellation of removal. If your petition is successful, you may avoid deportation and receive your green card.
The eligibility requirements for cancellation of removal are distinct from those associated with other means of applying for a green card. The U.S. Department of Justice explains the qualifying criteria for cancellation of removal.
Basic eligibility requirements for cancellation of removal
The Immigration and Nationality Act does allow for the cancellation of removal for certain non-lawful-permanent residents. You may qualify for this benefit if you can prove before an Immigration Judge that you meet the following criteria:
- Before receiving your notice to appear, you were continually present in the United States for a period of no less than 10 years and that, during that time, you maintained good moral character;
- You do not have a conviction on your record for any deportable offense defined by the INA; and
- Your removal would cause extraordinary and enormously unusual hardship to your LPR or citizen parent, spouse or child, and that you merit a favorable exercise of discretion from the judge presiding over your case.
Eligibility requirements in exceptional cases
If you do not qualify for cancellation of removal based on the above criteria, you may still receive a cancellation if you can establish that you or your child is the subject of extreme cruelty and/or battery at the hands of an LPR or citizen spouse or parent. If this is the case, you must prove that you have maintained a continuous presence in the country for a period of no less than three years and that, during that time, you have been a person of good moral character.
To qualify for cancellation, you cannot have any convictions on your record for a deportable offense or an aggravated felony. You must further show that your removal would result in hardship to you or your child, who is also the child of an LPR or citizen, or to your parents.
You may qualify for cancellation of removal without meeting the continuous presence requirements if you served in the U.S. Armed Forces for at least 24 months. However, you must have been in the United States when you entered the Armed Forces, and the Armed Forces must have granted you an honorable discharge.
For many non-LPRs, cancellation of removal is their only viable defense to deportation. Explore this and other options of deportation is a possibility.