Legal permanent residents who have been in the United States for decades risk losing this status for old criminal charges. For example, a man in his 50s who had a minor drug possession charge in his teens may find he is subject to removal from the country for controlled substance violations.

If this type of situation affects you or a family member, learn about qualifications for cancellation of removal.

Eligibility requirements

Cancellation of removal is available through the Office of the Attorney General when the person:

  • Has been in the United States as a legal permanent resident for at least five years
  • Has lawfully been in the United States for at least seven years
  • Did not commit an aggravated felony offense
  • Has not received cancellation of removal before

Cancellation of removal process

The person must file form EOIR 42A, which requests data about you and your family. You must provide your history in the U.S., including addresses where you have lived. This form also includes many yes or no questions. The Attorney General will review your answers to determine eligibility for cancellation of removal.

The application must also include a filing fee and a biometrics fee. Applicants older than 14 will receive notice for a fingerprinting and biometrics appointment. The information gathered will inform the agency about your criminal record if applicable.

Evidence and documentation

Supporting documents to prove you have spent at least seven years lawfully in the U.S., including five years as a legal permanent resident, may include:

  • Affidavits from people in your life
  • Employment records
  • Medical records
  • School records
  • Real estate deeds
  • Rental leases
  • Federal income tax returns
  • Marriage certificates
  • S. birth certificates for your children
  • Your Form I-94 document
  • Your green card

The judge has discretion to determine whether you will be able to retain legal permanent resident status. He or she will consider the nature of your crime, any other criminal record or immigration violations, employment history, community connections, business ties and family hardship that would result from your deportation.