Extreme hardship

Denial based on inadmissibility probably seems like a nightmare for anyone dreaming of establishing lawful permanent residency in the United States. But don’t give up on your dream if this happened to you. Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, you may be able to resolve the matter by filing Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, you may be able to resolve the matter by filing Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

By completing and submitting this form, you are essentially asking the agency to overlook the reason for inadmissibility and issue the Green Card anyhow. To convince the agency to do so, however, you must demonstrate that your inability to get a Green Card would create profound difficulties for your spouse, fiancé(e), child, or parent who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.

In this article, we’ll discuss the definition of “extreme hardship” within this context, and the evidence you must provide to prove that it actually exists.

For the purposes of Form I-601, “extreme hardship” is broadly defined as any overwhelming difficulty affecting the relative who is already living in the United States as a citizen or lawful permanent resident that cannot be easily addressed. In other words, it is not enough to say that the separation resulting from your inadmissibility will create stress, anxiety, or even a financial burden.

To persuade USCIS to approve Form I-601, or waive your inadmissibility based on extreme hardship, you must make an argument that can be classified as:

  • Strong arguments — Category One
  • Compelling arguments — Category Two
  • Moderately compelling arguments — Category Three
  • Weak arguments which must be supported by other compelling factors — Category Four
  • Uncategorized arguments for cases with different but outstanding characteristics — Category Five

USCIS is more likely to waive inadmissibility if the applicant can make at least one compelling argument along with one or more moderately compelling arguments.   Depending on the circumstances, however, one strong argument may be sufficient.

A strong argument can be made when the spouse, fiancé(e), son, daughter or parent (qualifying relative) living in the United States has a life-threatening  or terminal illness that requires constant medical attention and/or make it impossible for him or her to travel. This type of argument can also be made when there are ongoing military conflicts in the applicant’s country.

A compelling argument can be made if the qualifying relative has a serious or chronic, but not  life-threatening or terminal illness that makes it difficult to travel and requires help from the applicant from time to time. Another situation in which this type of argument can be made is if there is significant political unrest in the applicant’s country.

Moderately compelling arguments are those in which the qualifying relative has been diagnosed with clinical depression by a licensed mental health professional and the depression stems from, or is associated with the applicant’s inadmissibility.

An example of a weak argument is one in which the applicant’s qualifying relative has a mental health condition that may or may not be related to the applicant’s inadmissibility, and has not been diagnosed or treated by a mental health professional. Another example is one in which the applicant claims that his or her qualifying relative would not be able to meet certain financial obligations, if he or she had to join the applicant in his or her country.

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Finally, an example of an unusual argument is one in which the applicant includes family photographs, children’s artwork expressing their feelings about the situation and so forth, along with statements about the circumstances constituting extreme hardship.

When making these arguments, it is important to include supporting documents. These may include:

  • Sworn statements from professionals or friends who know your family situation
  • Official reports (from law enforcement agencies and other government entities) that provide insight into the conditions in your home country
  • Official records pertaining to the diagnosis of and treatment for any illnesses or mental health issues claimed
  • Any other proof of the ramifications of separation or relocation on your family, as a result of your inadmissibility

As we have already noted, every situation is different. Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced immigration attorney if your Green Card application has been denied based on your inadmissibility. Contact ZontLaw for more information about filing Form I-601, in order to seek a waiver of inadmissibility based on extreme hardship today.

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