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Chances are if you came to the United States, you sought better opportunities for yourself, your family members, or sought to be reunited with family members who were already here such as your parents. Or, while you were here, you got married to a Green Card holder or U.S. Citizen or had U.S. Citizen children. Let’s say one of these U.S. Citizen or Green Card family members, considered a qualifying relative, wanted to petition for you so that you can apply for a Green Card. However, there is a problem because you entered the country without a visa or you overstayed on a visa and have an unlawful presence, and therefore, you are inadmissible.

Inadmissible means you cannot get a visa, a Green Card, even if you otherwise qualify for one because you violated immigration law. Or it could be that you cannot get a Green Card because of other inadmissibility grounds such as health grounds, fraud, misrepresentation, and criminal history. In these situations, you could be eligible for a 601 or 601A waiver and overcome the inadmissibility if you can establish “extreme hardship” to your qualifying relative. Please note that who can be a qualifying relative depends on the ground of inadmissibility.

Extreme Hardship to the Qualifying Relative

The 601 Waiver waives the Grounds of Inadmissibility, while the 601A Waiver is a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver. There are some differences between the two waivers. However, for both waivers, you must prove that the qualifying relative, such as a U.S. Citizen or Green Card holder spouse, parent, or child, of the Applicant would suffer extreme hardship if the Applicant were forced to return to their home country, could not be in the U.S., and/or if the qualifying relative moved to the home country of the Applicant to avoid separation.

Questions to Help You Establish “Extreme Hardship”

Here are some questions that you can address in the 601/601A waiver packet, in your affidavits, and with supporting evidence, to establish “extreme hardship”:

  • How would your family member suffer extreme hardship if you could no longer be in the U.S. with them?
  • What difficult choices would they have to make because you had to leave?
  • In what ways would their life be affected for the worse if you had to return to your home country?
  • What would happen if they came to your country with you?
  • What financial opportunities are available to you in home country?
  • What kind of future would you and your family member have in your home country?
  • What are the country conditions of your home country?
  • Would you and your family member be safe in your home country?
  • What access to healthcare facilities will you or your family member have in your home country?
  • Does your family member have any health conditions that require them to be dependent on you or where they can only get treatment for in the U.S.?
  • What emotional or psychological impact would your return to your home country have on your family member?

Making a case for extreme hardship may sound complicated, but all you really need to do is think about what would happen if you were to leave the United States without your family or what would happen to your family members if they came with you. The reason you want to stay with them in the United States is already a huge step in building your case; it is just a matter of articulating all the different factors that are causing you and your family member concern if you were forced to leave the country.

“If you would like to learn more about how to establish “extreme hardship” in a 601 or 601A waiver, please contact us to make an appointment so we can do a complete assessment of your case.

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