Cancellation of Removal
If you are a foreign-born person who has been living in the U.S. without
legal status for a long time, and you have been placed into removal (deportation)
proceedings, you may be eligible for what’s called “Non-LPR
Cancellation of Removal” and a green card. The conditions for this
form of relief from deportation are as follows:
- You have been living (“continuously physically present”) in
the U.S. for at least ten years.
- Your being removed (“deported”) from the U.S. would cause “exceptional
and extremely unusual hardship” to your qualifying relative(s),
who is (or are) U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs).
- You can show that you have “good moral character.”
- You have not been convicted of certain crimes or violated certain laws.
Meeting the Ten Years’ U.S. Residence Requirement
To qualify, you must be able to show that you have been continuously physically
present for the ten years immediately before the date that you apply for
cancellation. (There's an exception if you have completed two years
of active service in the U.S. armed forces, in which case those two years
alone are enough to meet the time requirements for non-LPR cancellation.)
The date of your last arrival into the U.S. starts the ten-year “clock.”
The clock stops when you receive a Notice to Appear in immigration court,
commit certain types of crimes, or have a single absence from the U.S.
of more than 90 days or multiple absences adding up to more than 180 days.
Meeting the “Qualifying Relative” Requirement
To qualify, the undocumented immigrant must have a relative who is his
or her “spouse, parent, or child” and “is a citizen
of the U.S. or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.”
Meeting the “Exceptional and Extremely Unusual Hardship” Requirement
To qualify for non-LPR cancellation, however, the hardship to the relative
must be “exceptional and extremely unusual.” The distinction
between “hardship” and “exceptional and extremely unusual”
To be approved for non-LPR cancellation, it is not enough to show that
a U.S. citizen or LPR relative would suffer financially, emotionally,
and physically. Instead, the applicant must prove that the qualifying
relative would suffer to a degree that goes above and beyond the type
of suffering that would normally be expected when a close relative is deported.
Meeting the “Good Moral Character” Requirement
An immigration judge will deny an application for non-LPR cancellation
if the applicant does not have “good moral character”. The
judge will decide that the applicant does not have good moral character
if the law specifically says that the applicant cannot have good moral
character (because, for example, he or she is a “habitual drunkard”)
or if the judge decides that there are other “discretionary factors”
indicating that the applicant isn't a “good person.”