What is “extreme hardship” for immigration purposes? Why is it important to understand the distinctions between the different categories of “hardship?” More importantly, how does this apply to you? As a Miami immigration lawyer, I oftentimes represent clients who are either denied admission to the United States (i.e. cannot get a U.S. Visa or a green card), or face deportation, or a 10-year reentry ban. However, qualified applicants may claim extreme hardship to their immediate U.S.-based relatives, thereby obtaining relief from denial of admission, deportation or barred reentry via the 601 waiver. Below are some frequently asked questions.

What is “extreme hardship”?

If your deportation, denial of admission, or 10 year reentry bar will cause “extreme hardship” to your immediate family, you may be eligible for relief under the 601 waiver.

How does the U.S. government define “extreme hardship?”

There is no specific guidance on what constitutes a “normal” hardship versus an “extreme” hardship. Rather, each 601 waiver is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If you think that you and/or a loved may be eligible for a 601 waiver, do not guess – the most prudent course of action would be to consult with a Miami immigration lawyer.

What are some examples of “extreme hardship?”

In order for the United States immigration authorities to grant your application for a 601 waiver, you need to demonstrate that your immediate relatives in the US will suffer from extreme hardship. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Your relative has a major medical issue, and depends on you for care
  • Your relative depends on you financially, and you will not be able to provide financial support should you reside outside of the U.S.
  • Your relative has young children, and he/she cannot afford to pay for childcare should you reside outside of the U.S.
  • Your relative is in very poor health, and his/her medical condition will be made significantly worse upon moving to another country
  • Your relative is in debt, and  would not be able to pay debts by moving abroad
  • Your relative will be discriminated against in your home country.
  • Your relative does not know, or does not speak the language of your home country.
  • Your relative will not be able to continue on his/her education in your home country
  • Your home country is at war, is in the midst of political upheaval, or has a high rate of violence

Again, if you have any questions as to whether you qualify for the 601-waiver, do not guess. It may be in your interests to consult with a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your options. Remember – each 601-waiver case is different, and the authorities review applications on a case-by-case basis. As such, it is very important for you, the applicant, to adequately demonstrate extreme hardship to the authorities.

What kinds of documents do I need to submit to demonstrate extreme hardship?

For the best chances of success, the packet that an applicant submits to the USCIS with the application for the 601-waiver must be very detailed and persuasive. This means – any argument presented in the I-601 waiver must be accompanied with solid evidence.  Below are some good examples of evidence for demonstrating extreme hardship, including, but not limited to:

  • Country reports – Common sources are the Consular Information Sheets, CIA Factsheets,  or human rights organizations that describe the condition of your home country
  • Doctors’ letters – The physician should describe the medical condition, the patient’s physical limitations, the need for assistance, the need for continued medical care, the physician’s personal knowledge of the your prior role in providing direct assistance to your relative (the patient)
  • Psychologist letters – The psychologist should describe the condition, the diagnosis, the likely psychological effects of waiver denial, any medications the patient is on
  • Tax returns – These are required to demonstrate evidence of income
  • Educational credentials – If your relative’s education will be interrupted by the denial of your 601-waiver, this is an important piece of evidence to include
  •  Letters from qualifying relative, professionals, and/or friends – All letters should testifying as to the hardship that the immediate relatives would face should the 601-waiver not be approved

Again, due to the highly complex nature of most 601-waivers, it may be in your interests to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your best options.

If you would like more information on the 601-waiver or extreme hardship, please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at www.mmurraylaw.com .

Coronavirus update: We are safely open for business! USCIS is still accepting new filings for all applications. Our office is offering virtual consultations for new clients so that you don't have to come to our office in person. Call us to schedule your virtual meeting today.
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