Applying for Cancellation of Removal as a Green Card Holder
Cancellation of removal is a form of immigration relief that is commonly sought by legal permanent residents in the U.S. who have been placed in removal proceedings. You can read more here about its eligibility requirements. The process of applying for cancellation involves a combination of completing certain forms and gathering substantial evidence to persuade the judge that you deserve to stay in the U.S., even though you are technically removable.
Once you convince the judge that you meet the threshold requirements to apply for cancellation, you will need to submit Form EOIR 42A. This covers information regarding your employment, your family members, and your activities during your residence in the U.S. While parts of the form contain questions related to the basic eligibility requirements, other parts are designed to elicit information that will guide the judge in deciding whether you deserve to stay in the U.S. You can consult an immigration attorney to advise you on how to complete the application in a manner that is honest but also presents your case in the best possible light. You will need to pay a modest filing fee and also go to a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment, which involves an additional fee.
Evidence for Threshold Requirements
You will need to make sure that you include documents to establish each of the threshold requirements for eligibility. Some documents may help prove more than one requirement. Evidence related to your residence in the U.S. might include your green card and Form I-94, documents related to your ownership or lease of property, any marriage certificate, birth certificates of children born in the U.S., records of jobs held in the U.S., and tax records. You also might submit affidavits from family members, friends, employers, and others who are aware that you meet the residence requirement, although this is not always necessary.
The biometrics analysis will lead to information about any criminal record that you may have. Since you will need to prove that you have not been convicted of an aggravated felony, you will need to provide certified dispositions of any arrests on your record.
Evidence for Discretionary Review
You should not underestimate the importance of proving that you deserve to keep your green card, once you have met the technical eligibility requirements. This requires the judge to make a subjective decision, so you will want to show that the humanitarian reasons for your continued presence in the U.S. outweigh the reasons why the government believes that you should be removed. The judge will consider not only the specific charge of removability that forms the basis of the proceedings but also any other history of criminal activity or immigration violations.
To counterbalance any adverse factors, you will want to show that you have strong family connections to the U.S., and your family members would suffer a hardship if you were required to leave the country. These family members can testify on your behalf at the hearing. You also will want to provide any evidence showing that you have held a steady job, contributed to the community, and spent a long time in the U.S. If you have criminal convictions, you can try to show that you have turned a new leaf and undergone rehabilitation from your crimes.