Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents
Cancellation of Removal is available for both Permanent Residents and non-permanent residents. It is a form of relief for those in removal proceedings and may just be the only form of relief available.
Cancellation of removal can only be granted once. If you are granted cancellation of removal and end up back in the removal process again, you can't be granted cancellation of removal a second time.
There are four requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible for LPR cancellation of removal.
1) 5 years as a lawful permanent resident
When the application for cancellation is filed, you must have had been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years. Being a lawful permanent resident means having your green card. The five years only counts if you received your green card legally and by following all the rules. It doesn't count if you lied to get your green card, or if you were granted a green card by mistake.
2) 7 years continuous residence in the US after a legal entry
You have to show that you have been continuously living in the US for at least seven years. You have to show that these 7 years all happened after a legal entry, such as entering the US as a visitor after being inspected at the border. Entering without inspection doesn't start the 7 years. You have to show these 7 years all happened before the date you were officially told the government was starting your deportation process. If you have a criminal record, you also have to show these 7 years all happened before you committed certain crimes. If you have committed crimes but are unsure if those crimes stopped your seven years, ask an immigration attorney.
3) No aggravated felony convictions
The immigration court will not grant you cancellation of removal if you have ever been convicted of an "aggravated felony." Crimes classified as "aggravated felonies" include a lot of crimes that are felonies in criminal court as well as some that are misdemeanors. Even crimes that are not usually considered dangerous or aggravated can be "aggravated felonies" for immigration purposes. If you have questions about whether you have been convicted of an aggravated felony, ask an immigration attorney.
4) You merit the favorable exercise of "discretion"
The last requirement is often hardest to meet. You have to convince the immigration judge that you deserve to get your green card back. Even if you meet the first three requirements, the judge gets to decide whether, in his or her judgment, you deserve his favorable discretion. In making this decision the judge will consider several aspects of your life including any family you have in the US, how long you have been in the US, how hard it will be for your family if you leave, whether you have served in the US military, and your job history. If you have a criminal record, the judge will look at the crimes you have committed and whether you have shown that you won't commit crimes in the future. The judge can also consider any thing else he or she is told about you.
How to Apply
To apply for cancellation of removal, you file an application fee with the immigration court and pay the application fees of $185.
Cancellation of removal cases are complex. They require that you gather a great deal of information and documentation in support of your case. If you have a criminal record, it may be hard to figure out if you meet requirements 2 and 3. It is always a good idea to have an immigration attorney represent you and help you with your case. Call the New Jersey immigration law attorneys at LS&P Lawyers.