Cancellation of Removal is a form of relief that is available to qualifying lawful permanent residents and qualifying non-permanent residents. Under this benefit, an individual’s status is adjusted from “deportable” to “lawfully admitted for permanent residence.” An application for cancellation of removal is made during the course of a hearing before an Immigration Judge.
Cancellation of Removal terminates any removal proceedings and allows you to remain in the country. It results in a green card for those whose applications are approved by the Immigration Judge! While this is pending, the applicant is eligible for work authorization and drivers license. Individuals who are facing removal may apply for a cancellation if they have a case already open in an immigration court.
Until there is an established date at which you are to appear before an immigration judge, you won’t be able to apply.
Also, if a removal order has already been issued and your case has been closed, you won’t be able to secure a cancellation of removal. In some cases, immigrants may be able to plead their case and convince the courts to have their case reopened. This can allow them to apply for a cancellation.
EOIR 42A – for Certain Lawful Permanent Residents
In order to obtain a cancellation of removal, Permanent Residents must have been legally admitted as a permanent resident for a minimum of 5 years.
More importantly, they must have lived in the U.S. on a continuous basis for a period of 7 years since being admitted into the country. Also, convictions related to aggravated felonies make individuals ineligible for cancellation of removal.
Immigrant residents who have served in the military for a minimum of 2 years don’t have to meet the other eligibility requirements. Those who are no longer in the military must demonstrate that they were honorably discharged.
EOIR42B – for Certain Non-Permanent Residents
Non-Permanent Residents must have been continuously present in the U.S. for a minimum of 10 years in order to qualify for cancellation of removal.
In addition to being a person of “good moral character”, they must be free of certain criminal convictions while demonstrating that their removal would result in exceptional or unusual hardships to family members (spouse, child or parent) who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Crimes that are considered “petty offenses” by the courts don’t disqualify a person from applying for cancellation of removal. Exceptional and unusual hardships caused to a family member are defined based on a number of factors. These include the person’s length of residence, age, and health. If the family member’s opportunities for education or quality of living will be negatively impacted by someone’s removal, then they may meet the standards for hardship.