Lim Law – Kissimmee & Orlando Immigration Attorney
The possibility of deportation or ‘removal’ from the United States feels terrifying for many people living in the United States. Under US immigration law, deportation follows a process and there are avenues to seek relief if you immediately contact an experienced immigration attorney. Your attorney will be able to guide you through the process and fight on your behalf during deportation proceedings.
Deportation proceedings start when you receive a “Notice to Appear” from the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This document orders you to appear in front of an immigration judge. It also provides information about why you have been ordered to appear, what crimes you committed, your right to an attorney, and the consequences if you do not show up on the appointed date.
There are several types of possible relief from deportation: asylum, cancellation of removal, and adjustment of status. Each has different requirements and a different process, but all of them have the potential to prevent or delay deportations.
If you are already in the U.S, but fear persecution if you were to return to your home country, you can seek asylum, which is a form of protection that permits you to stay in the United States. To learn more about asylum and refugee status, visit our asylum page.
Cancellation of Removal
If you are able to meet certain requirements, you may apply for Cancellation of Removal, which offers relief from deportation.
In this case, relief is granted at the discretion of an immigration judge. You must already have a date for your appearance in Immigration Court before an Immigration Judge in order to apply for cancellation of removal. Conversely, if you already hold a final order for removal, you may not apply for cancellation of removal.
Always seek the assistance of a reputable immigration attorney to evaluate your situation and possible alternatives.
Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents
If you are a permanent resident, you may be considered for cancellation of removal if you meet the following requirements:
- You were accepted for permanent residence no less than 5 years ago.
- You have resided in the U.S continuously for 7 years after admittance, before receiving the Notice to Appear or before committing a specific criminal or related offense leading to removal action.
- You have not been convicted of an aggravated felony.
Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents
As a non-permanent resident, you may be considered for cancellation of removal if you meet the following requirements:
- You are able to demonstrate good moral character.
- You can prove that deportation would create exceptional and extreme unusual hardship to a member of your family (i.e. spouse, child, parents) who is a U.S citizen.
- You have been continuously and physically present in the U.S for no less than ten years (as measured from the date you entered the country to the date of your Notice to Appear in Immigration Court).
- You have not been convicted any of the specific criminal offenses that would make you eligible for deportation, and ineligible for relief from removal.
If you believe you may be eligible for cancellation of removal, schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney.
Adjustment of Status
If you are already living in the U.S, the ‘adjustment of status’ process allows you to apply to change your immigration status from non-immigrant (temporary) to immigrant (permanent) without returning to your home country to complete the proceedings. An experienced immigration attorney can help you through this complex and often lengthy process, whether you face deportation or not.
To obtain an adjustment of status
- Determine your immigration category. Most immigrants receive their green card through a petition filed by a family member or employer; others, through asylum or refugee status.
- File a petition. Once you have determined your immigrant status, you must file the appropriate petition. There are four possible options:
1. Employer Based – The employer files a Form I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker) for you.
2. Family Based – A U.S citizen or permanent resident relative must file a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) for you.
3. Special Classes of Immigrants – Some immigrants may be eligible to file a Form I-360, which applies to Amerasians, widows, and special immigrants such as religious workers, physicians, and members of the Armed Forces, among others.
4. Humanitarian Program – While most U.S. humanitarian programs do not require a special petition, some individuals may need to meet additional requirements before becoming eligible to adjust status.
- Check visa availability. The US government makes a specific number of visas available for different categories each year. If you have not already engaged an immigration attorney to help with your petition, one can be especially helpful in determining visa availability and helping you file a Form I-485 (Application for Permanent Residency or Adjustment Status.)
- Appear at the Application Support Center. Your picture, signature, and fingerprints will be collected to conduct security checks and for the creation of the green card.
- Interview. You will be notified of the date, location, and time of your interview, where you will answer questions about your application under oath. You must bring all the original documents to the interview. Final decision of your application will be sent to you in writing, usually through the mail.
If you have been denied adjustment of status, your decision notice will let you know your appeal rights. Not every decision can be appealed. If eligible, you may file an appeal within 30 days of the decision. You have the right to file a Form I-290B (Notice of Appeal or Motion).