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I-601 immigration hardship waivers

To become a permanent resident (green card holder), an immigrant must show that he or she is admissible. The considerations that make a noncitizen not admissible include: criminal acts, lying to the immigration service, and staying in the U.S. without papers. Even if an immigrant is “inadmissible,” in some cases it is possible to ask for a waiver, meaning you ask for an exception to the general rule. These waivers require you to prove that it would be an “extreme hardship” to your U.S. family members if you were not allowed to become a permanent resident and remain in the U.S.

Whose hardship matters?

Depending on what immigration benefit you are seeking, there are different rules about whose hardship is considered. Depending on the situation, the immigration service might consider hardship to: the immigrant; a spouse; a parent; and/or a child.

What factors will be considered?

Immigration law does not define the term “hardship”. Instead, court cases have said the following factors should be considered: age; length of presence in the U.S.; family ties to the U.S. versus to the foreign country; community ties; financial impact; health issues; and, the availability of immigration benefits.

What evidence is presented?

It is very important to present strong evidence in support of a hardship case. The attorney will work with the immigrant, family members, and friends to write detailed letters explaining the circumstances of the case. These letters must be carefully prepared to address the relevant legal question. The attorney will also work with you to locate records that support your case, including medical, financial, employment and education records. In cases with special health or psychological circumstances, it may be useful to have a psychologist conduct an evaluation.

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