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When is cancellation of removal available for nonpermanent residents?


Cancellation of removal for nonpermanent residents (“10-year”) is a form of relief that people typically think of as applying for residency based on the number of years you have lived in the United States. It might sound easy to meet the requirements of this benefit, but it isn’t.

If you are not an LPR, and you apply for cancellation of removal, you must prove:

  1. You have lived in the U.S. continuously for at least the last 10 years;
  2. You have a spouse, parent or child who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident who would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if you were removed;
  3. You are a person of good moral character; and
  4. You have not committed certain crimes.

Proving requirements Nos. 1, 3, and 4 is straightforward.  These requirements will be evaluated by the judge largely based on your documentation.

But proving requirement No. 2 is hard. The suffering must be “exceptional and extremely unusual.” This means that the suffering that families experience following a separation—including financial hardships and the emotional toll of being separated—won’t be enough by itself. You must show that the suffering that your family will face is going to be worse than what is usually experienced when a family is separated. Talk to an immigration attorney for help.

This article gives an overview of cancelling removal as a deportation defense.