A person who is facing removal (deportation) from the U.S. may be entitled to cancellation of removal. Cancellation of removal is a form of discretionary relief wherein the person’s removal orders are stopped or cancelled. This is a relatively new form of relief from removal that replaces the older form of deportation relief, "suspension of deportation."

A cancellation of removal is beneficial in that it provides you with residency status without the fear of removal. In order to receive this legal remedy, you must provide that you and your family have had a lengthy physical presence and substantial ties to the United States, have not committed certain crimes, and have established hardship.

Cancellation of removal is not available for all aliens who face removal. Different standards of eligibility are applied to lawful permanent residents (LPR) as opposed to non-LPR’s. A person who is granted cancellation of removal may often become eligible for permanent residency in the U.S. Cancellation of removal may either be temporary or permanent.

What Are the Requirements for Cancellation of Removal?

The requirements for cancellation of removal differ depending on whether the alien is a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or a non-permanent resident. Removal hearings may sometimes be appealed depending on the circumstances.

Lawful permanent residents who face removal are eligible for cancellation of removal if the person:

  1. Has been an LPR for at least 5 years
  2. Has continuously (without break) resided in the U.S. for a minimum of 7 years after their lawful admittance into the country.
  3. Has never been convicted of an "aggravated felony" (the term "aggravated felony" is more broadly defined in immigration law than in normal criminal settings).

For non-permanent residents facing removal, cancellation is only available if the person:

  1. You have been physically present or have accrued presence in the US for a continuous period of not less than 10 years before the filing of the application.
  2. Has demonstrated that they are person of "good moral character" during the 10 years
  3. Have never been convicted of certain crimes or offenses as defined by statute.

You establish that a removal would result in an exceptional and extremely undue hardship to your spouse, child, parent, who is present in the United States and is a citizen or alien lawfully admitted for permanent resident.

How Do I Prove That I Am Eligible for Cancellation of Removal?

1) Physical Presence for 10 Years: The continuous physical presence can be proved by providing documents such as lease agreements, ownership forms, mortgage contracts, deeds of houses, employment pay stubs, financial records or tax returns credit card bills, utility bills, car insurance records. Any document that would prove your history of physical presence is helpful.

2) Good Moral Character: Good moral character is hard to document. This can be provided by evidence of letters of recommendations from people that you have a daily contact with. This can be employers, church members, family, neighbors, and friends. The letters must contain how many years they have known you.

3) Criminal History: Obtain a criminal records report from the FBI criminal records check or sheriff’s office. Certain crimes will make you ineligible.

4) Extreme Hardship: You must prove that a lawful resident or U.S citizen related to you will suffer extreme hardship if you are deported and they are solely dependent upon you for support. This can be shown by proving the difficulty of the resident’s adjustment to the United States, the financial support you are providing the resident, and/or any medical or caretaking obligations you provide will be deprived if you are deported can do this.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Cancellation of Removal Hearings?

Immigration laws can sometimes be difficult to understand for many people. As you can see, eligibility for cancellation of removal depends on several different factors. You may wish to consult with an immigration lawyer for advice if you are facing removal. Cancellation of removal can help restore an alien to a more favorable status under immigration laws. Your attorney can help you prepare your defense for a removal hearing.