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Special Rule Cancellation or VAWA Cancellation


If you are a battered or abused spouse or child and you are in the middle of a deportation proceeding, you may be eligible for cancellation of your deportation under the Violence Against Women Act ("VAWA"). Initial eligibility requirements are:

  • Spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident -- if a spouse is seeking cancellation, it must be shown that the marriage was valid (with an exception for bigamy)
  • Victim of abuse, extreme cruelty, battery, etc. or is the parent OR child of a victim of abuse/extreme cruelty
  • Victim is currently subject to proceedings for deportation

The request for cancellation of deportation proceedings must be made to the immigration law judge that is handling the removal/deportation proceedings. In legal terms, abuse and/or extreme cruelty is a defense to being deported. If cancellation of removal is granted, then the victim's status will be adjusted to that of a lawful permanent residence.

As noted, the above requirements are the initial requirements. Without those conditions, a person cannot ask for the cancellation of their removal/deportation. If the judge considers the request for cancellation, a number of additional eligibility requirements must be met. These are:

  • The applicant for cancellation has been a person of good moral character during their continuous physical presence in the U.S. -- this includes not being convicted of felony criminal charges
  • The applicant has not inadmissible or deportable under other provisions of the U.S. immigration laws and
  • The applicant, their child, or parent would suffer extreme hardship if removal were granted

What is Continuous Physical Presence?

Essentially, the applicant cannot have been absent from the U.S. for more than 90 days -- three months -- continuously and cannot have been absent from the U.S. for more than 180 days -- six months -- total during the three years prior to seeking cancellation.

What is Good Moral Character?

Good moral character means many things, but most importantly, it means having no criminal record, particularly any sort of felony arrest and conviction. There is an exception when seeking cancellation because of abuse and/or extreme cruelty. If the action that is contrary to good moral character is done to avoid or because of the abuse/extreme cruelty, then such will not bar an applicant from showing good moral character.

What is Battery or Extreme Abuse?

Under the VAWA, either battery or extreme cruelty are methods of obtaining cancellation of removal/deportation. The definition of extreme cruelty is vague and not very well defined. On the other hand, battery (and the threat of battery) has a clear definition and can be "easy" to prove. The immigration regulations offer this definition of battery:

  • Any act or threatened act of violence -- does not require the use of a weapon
  • Sexual abuse, rape, exploitation, incest if the child is a minor and/or forced prostitution
  • Psychological abuse -- this can be more difficult to prove if there are no physical symptoms

Contact Yekrangi & Associates Today

For more information, contact the Orange County Immigration Attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates today. You are not alone. Yekrangi & Associates works to meet a higher standard. Our first goal is your satisfaction. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a consultation or complete our convenient “Get Your Consultation” form here. We are located in Irvine, California.

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