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What Is the Stop-Time Rule?

M Mathew Law Firm, PLLC  July 27, 2023

If you are a non-citizen currently living in the United States, there are certain circumstances that could result in your deportation. The laws surrounding deportation can be difficult to understand, especially given that lawmakers pass new immigration rules every year. One such rule is called the “stop-time rule.”  

The rule affects those who are facing removal from the country. If your status in the U.S. is at risk, contact a lawyer for immediate guidance. As an immigration attorney at M Mathew Law Firm, PLLC, I represent immigrants who face deportation. I can explain what the “stop-time rule” may mean in your case and what you can do to help resolve the matter in your favor. 

My law firm is based in Dallas, Texas, but I also serve Irving, Lewisville, Richardson, Mesquite, Farmers Branch, Garland, Grand Prairie, and the rest of the area.  

Why Do Immigrants Face Removal from the United States?

There are a variety of reasons why immigrants can face removal from the country. Some of the most common ones include: 

  • Committing immigration violations 

  • Committing a crime (misdemeanor or felony) 

  • Engaging in immigration fraud 

  • Having your visa or green card expired 

  • Being denied asylum 

  • Engaging in a sham marriage 

  • Assisting in human smuggling 

  • Engaging in a high-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint 

These and many other circumstances can lead to your removal from the country. If you are facing deportation or removal from the U.S., consult with an attorney as soon as possible.  

Cancellation of Removal

If you are at risk of being deported from the United States, you need to familiarize yourself with the cancellation of the removal process. Through this process, you may be able to terminate your removal proceedings and stay in the United States. However, not all immigrants are eligible for cancellation of removal. An attorney can help you understand whether or not you meet the conditions for cancellation of removal.  

The conditions to qualify for cancellation of removal include:  

  • You’ve had a green card for no less than five years;  

  • You’ve lived in the country legally for no less than seven continuous years;  

  • You haven’t been convicted of any aggravated felonies in the past;  

  • You haven’t received cancellation of removal in the past; and 

  • You merit the chance to stay in the country.  

When reviewing cancellation of removal cases, judges look at many factors, including but not limited to your overall character, criminal record, family ties, family hardships, and military service. Since judges exercise discretion when making decisions regarding cancellation or removal, you can benefit from having an immigration attorney on your side. Your attorney will represent your best interests in court to increase your chances of a favorable outcome.  

What Is the “Stop-Time Rule”?

The stop-time rule is a rule used in the cancellation of removal cases to determine how continuous residence/physical presence should be calculated. Before being served with a Notice to Appear at immigration court, you must demonstrate that: 

  • You have seven years of continuous residence in the U.S. (for lawful permanent residents); or 

  • You have ten years of continuous physical presence in the U.S. (for undocumented immigrants).  

The stop-time rule is triggered when you (a) violate your immigrant status or (b) commit a crime. The clock stops ticking if you: 

  1. Receive a Notice to Appear; or  

  1. Commit a crime/security offense that is considered an inadmissible offense by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  

Any of these acts are considered a violation of the residency terms and could be grounds for deportation. Generally speaking, deportable crimes are considered any crimes that involve immoral/unethical acts.  

Comprehensive Legal Advice

When facing deportation or removal from the country, you need legal guidance from an attorney. At M Mathew Law Firm, PLLC, I understand the fears and stress you and your family experience when facing removal proceedings. I can provide you with an effective deportation defense and protect your best interests every step of the way. I am available 24/7 to advocate for your rights. Reach out today to schedule an appointment.