The “Stop-Time Rule” For Non-Lawful Permanent Residents

Non-lawful permanent residents (LPR) live under the intense pressure of knowing that they are not guaranteed to stay within the United States. Despite your desire to remain in the country, there may come a time when you must face removal proceedings. However, you could have options to consider. Not only is it possible to cancel the removal proceedings, but you can also seek an adjustment of status if you and your attorney succeed at stopping them.

Although your attorney will be in the best position to determine whether you are eligible to cancel the removal proceedings, it is crucial to understand the stop-time rule.

The Importance of 10 Years

There are several factors that determine your eligibility. And there are actions such as committing certain crimes that will preclude you from being able to utilize this option. Additionally, you must have ten years of continuous physical presence in the United States before being eligible. As an LPR, you want to accrue that time. There are times when you may want or need to leave the country for personal reasons. For the time to be considered continuous, you cannot:

  • Leave for more than 90 days
  • Be outside the country for more than 180 days total over the course of 10 years

Because military members may be required to travel overseas for extended periods, they will be exempt as long as they were on active duty for at least 24 months—and left the military under honorable circumstances. 

The Stop Time Rule

The stop-time rule applies to scenarios where your continuous physical presence stops accruing. Although you may have resided in the US for ten years, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have met the requirement. Removal proceedings, for instance, are usually initiated when you receive a Notice to Appear (NTA). In which case, you are being summoned to go before an immigration judge. NTAs will pause your continuous physical presence despite being still in the US. 

Another element that cannot be overlooked is that you must have displayed good moral character during your ten years and have not been convicted of specified criminal offenses. If you have, your immigration attorney can explain whether these bar you from canceling your removal proceedings. These crimes can also stop the clock on your continuous physical presence.

Csépes Law Offices 

Csépes Law Offices has been practicing family-based immigration since 2015 because we want to keep you with the people you love the most—and this extends to cancellation of removal proceedings. We have extensive experience assisting both immediate relatives of citizens and LPRs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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