If you are in deportation or removal process and are requesting Cancellation of Removal, you must show you have continuously resided in the United States. Continuous Residence or Physical Presence refers to time spent in the United States. This is a requirement for both residents and nonresidents who are seeking Cancellation of Removal.
Non lawful residents of the U.S. must have 10 years of physical presence for cancellation of removal. Lawful residents must show 7 years of continuous residence. When a person obtains a notice to appear, containing all the information required under the law, the accrual of continuous presence time stops. This is known as the stop-time rule. Criminal activity can also stop the accrual of continuous presence.
If you’ve momentarily left the U.S., the accrual of continuous time does not stop unless your absence was greater than 90 days or have been outside the U.S. for more than 6 months in total. Deportation or voluntary departure stops the accrual of continuous residency, even if you return quickly.
How do you show proof of your continuous presence? The following is a non-exhaustive list of documents that can be used to prove that you have continuously lived in the U.S.:
- Medical records
- Health or life insurance
- Record of paychecks or business
- Tax records
- School records
- Driver’s License
- House lease documents
- Receipts of purchases
- Bank records
- Social Security Statements
- Utilities and services bills
Continuous presence is not the only criterion for cancellation of removal. Immigration court can be confusing, and you will need proof of why you should be allowed to stay in the U.S. If you or a loved one are in removal or deportation proceedings, work with an experienced immigration attorney to protect your American Dream.