Relief under the Convention Against Torture

The Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) provides for relief from removal for individuals who fear torture at the hands of the government in his/her country, or from individuals who have the consent of that government.

Relief under the CAT can provide relief to individuals who are not eligible for asylum or WOR because they fail to fall into one of the five categories of bases for persecution: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

Relief under the CAT can also provide relief to individuals who are not eligible for asylum or WOR because of their criminal history, past persecutory acts, etc.

This form of relief does not require that the applicant show that the torture is “on account of” a specific reason.


1. Requirements

Applicants for CAT relief must establish that:

  1. It is more likely than not;
  2. That s/he would be subject to torture;
  3. Inflicted by, at the instigation of, or with the consent or acquiescence of;
  4. A public official or other person acting in an official capacity.


2. Torture

For purposes of the CAT, torture refers to any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as:

  1. obtaining a confession;
  2. punishment for commission or suspicion of commission of an offense;
  3. intimidation or coercion;
  4. or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind.


3. The “clear probability” standard

Like WOR, relief under the CAT requires the applicant meet the requirements by the clear probability standard. Applicants must prove that it is “more likely than not” that s/he would be subject to torture, etc.


4. Relief under the CAT and “deferral of removal”

The result of a grant of relief under the CAT is the same as for WOR unless the individual is ineligible for WOR due to past persecutory acts, conviction of a particularly serious crime, or for security reasons. The relief for these individuals under the CAT is called deferral of removal.

Deferral of removal provides limited relief in that the applicant receives no lawful status in the U.S. Additionally, successful applicants will not be released from custody if detained. Finally, deferral of removal may be terminated at any time.