Cancellation of Removal is a defense available only in deportation. Therefore, in order for a person to invoke the defense, first there must be a deportation case pending. Many clients refer to this program as the “10-year” law. Why call it the 10-year law? Because one of the requirements is that an immigrant has lived in the US for 10 years. Whereas for permanent residents the requirement is only 7 years.
The program is codified in 8 U.S. Code § 1229b – “Cancellation of removal; adjustment of status”
Cancellation of Removal Requirements for Permanent resident
Being a green card holder for not less than 5 years, who has resided in the United States for at least 7 years , and who has not been convicted of an aggravated felony.
Cancellation of Removal Requirements for Immigrants
Must have lived in the US for not less than 10 years. In addition be a person of good moral character who is not convicted of certain crimes. And the removal would cause extreme hardship to a spouse, parent, or child, who is a US citizen or a green card holder.
The big difference between in the eligibility requirements is that for permanent residents, there is no need to establish hardship on a relative. Another difference is the continuous presence which is 7 years for LPRs and 10 years for immigrants.