You may be eligible to file for a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility based on the extreme hardship your qualified relative will experience if you are not admitted to the United States. According to a policy that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adopted in 2016, your waiver will be approved if you can provide strong evidence that your relative will experience extreme hardship either in the U.S. (if you were not allowed to come to or stay in the U.S.) or in your home country (if your relative follows you there).
You can, if you wish, prove that your relative would experience extreme hardship in both potential situations. But if only one situation would cause extreme hardship, be prepared to prove that that is the one you and your U.S. relative would choose.
Also keep in mind that the qualifying relative does not have to be the same one who petitions for you to immigrate. For example, someone immigrating to the U.S. based on marriage to a U.S. citizen could apply for the waiver based on hardship that her U.S. citizen mother would face.
Extreme hardship has been defined to mean hardship that is greater than what your relative would normally experience if you were not allowed to come to or stay in the United States. It would be not enough, therefore, to show that your relative will miss you, because this would be expected under any type of separation.
There is no specific law or regulation definig what constitutes a “normal” versus an “extreme” hardship, which means that the evidence for each waiver application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Some of the more common arguments for extreme hardship when your relative remains in the U.S. include, but are not limited to:
Some of the more common arguments for extreme hardship when your relative accompanies you to your home country include, but are not limited to:
The evidence you will need to submit to prove your arguments for extreme hardship will start with your qualifying relative’s personal statement. Your qualifying relative must draft a statement that outlines all the reasons he or she will suffer extreme hardship if you are not in the United States.
You may also want to submit a personal statement to support the arguments made by your qualifying relative and to shed more light on conditions in your home country.
Every argument made in either statement should be supported by additional documentation. This documentation can include, but is not limited to:
It is a good idea to reference each piece of evidence in the personal statement(s) as an exhibit. This will help you organize your application, which will make it easier for the USCIS officer to review it.
There are some categories of inadmissibility that do not designate a U.S. citizen or permanent resident child as a qualifying relative for the extreme hardship waiver. Many applicants make the mistake of focusing primarily on the children when they do not qualify, resulting in a challenge or denial of their application. If your child is not a qualifying relative, you can provide evidence of extreme hardship to the child only if it will result in extreme hardship to your qualifying relative.
It is always a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney when you prepare an I-601 waiver based on extreme hardship to a qualifying relative. An attorney can assist you in collecting the best evidence to support your arguments. An attorney can also prepare a legal summary to support your case and to serve as a guide for the adjudicating officer.