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Cancellation of Removal

If you have found yourself in Immigration Court facing deportation, you may have heard of cancellation of removal. This is a form of immigration relief that is only available through immigration court proceedings. It can be used by either permanent residents or people who have no immigration status.

There are different eligibility requirements for cancellation of removal depending on your immigration status. To be eligible for cancellation of removal if you have previously been issued a green card you must:

  • Have been a green card holder for at least five years;
  • Have legally lived in the United States for at least seven years;
  • Have never been convicted of an aggravated felony;
  • Have never received cancellation of removal before; and
  • You deserve to remain in the United States.

If you have been living in the United States without any legal status (illegally) you could be eligible for cancellation of removal if you can show:

  • You have been continuously living in the United States for a least ten years;
  • You have a U.S. citizen or green card holding relative who would suffer extreme hardship if you were not allowed to remain in the United States;
  • You have been a person of good moral character; and
  • You have not been convicted of certain criminal offenses.

Cancellation of removal is a discretionary form of immigration relief. This means that regardless of your current immigration status, the immigration judge hearing your case will have the last word on whether your application should be granted. You will have to prove that you deserve cancellation of removal. Ways to do this include submitting evidence of family ties here in the United States, a strong employment history, volunteer work, and characteristics unique to your case.

Some of the questions our office gets most often about Cancellation of Removal include:

  • How long will my case take?
    This will depend on what Immigration Court you are assigned to. Generally speaking, you should expect your case to take longer than one year. Sometimes, cancellation cases can take as long as 3-5 years.
  • Can I get a work permit while I’m waiting for my court date?
    Yes. After you have informed the immigration court that you will apply for cancellation of removal you can submit an application for a employment authorization permit that will allow you work while your case is pending.
  • How do I show physical presence?
    This will be different for each case. You may consider school enrollment records, receipts, bills, paystubs, and doctor’s notes.
  • How do I show extreme hardship?
    Each case is different. Factors like medical conditions, mental or emotional health issues, your family’s ability to support themselves without your financial contribution, and other characteristics will be looked at by the immigration judge.
  • What happens if I win my case?
    If you already have a green card you will be allowed to remain in the United States. If you do not already have legal status, you will be able to adjust status and become a legal permanent resident or green card holder.

Cases involving Cancellation of Removal can take years and will require you to have the help of an immigration attorney who has experience representing clients in immigration court. These cases are complex and detailed. If your family member has just been placed in immigration court, you may not know whether they are eligible for cancellation of removal. The Cassell Firm’s immigration attorney can assist you or your family member in immigration court proceedings. Call our Middle Tennessee immigration attorney at (615) 475-7041 for a free consultation.