I-601 Waivers

The concept of inadmissibility arises in a number of situations. It is an issue when the visa application is made and when the foreign national seeks entry to the US. It also comes up when a person in deportation proceedings is said to have been inadmissible at the time of entry or was not inspected at their entry. It can also be a factor when a permanent resident is said to have abandoned their permanent residency.

Form I-601 – Application for a Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility

Some people who have been found ineligible for a visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) may file an Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility (Form I-601). Findings of ineligibility are usually made by a Consular Office during an immigrant visa interview, by an Immigration Officer during an immigrant visa interview inside the US, and/or in immigration court.

When the I-601 waiver is filed outside of the US, the application and “evidence of extreme hardship” are filed with the Consular Officer at the Embassy where the beneficiary of the petition applied for the visa. The Consular Officer forwards the form and supporting documentation to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office with jurisdiction for adjudicating the application. If the application is approved, USCIS sends approval notification to the appropriate Embassy for issuance of the visa. If the application is denied, the applicant will be notified in writing of the decision and the visa will not be issued.

Evidence of Extreme Hardship

Approval of a waiver application requires a finding that the refusal of admission to the United States of the immigrant alien would result in extreme hardship to a qualifying relative. In general, a qualifying relative for the purpose of a waiver may be a spouse, fiance(e), or parent who is a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident.

All claims of extreme hardship must be supported by documentary evidence or explanation specifying the hardship. Family separation and financial inconvenience, in and of themselves, do not necessarily constitute extreme hardship.

Therefore, it is important for the qualifying relative to describe and document any other claim that might be a hardship. The evidence is weighted under the totality of circumstances which means that USCIS should consider all the hardship in the aggregate.

Extreme hardship can be demonstrated in any aspects of the qualifying relatives’ life such as:

- Health: Ongoing or specialized treatment requirements for a physical or mental condition; availability and quality of such treatment in the applicant’s country, anticipated duration of the treatment; whether a condition is chronic or acute, or long-or-short-term.

- Financial Considerations: Future employability; loss due to sale of home or business or termination of a professional practice; decline in standard of living; ability to recoup short-term losses; cost of extraordinary needs such as special education or training for children; cost of care for family members (i.e., elderly and infirm parents); impact on credit history and its effect on future relocation; college loans; child support and alimony, etc.

- Education: Loss of opportunity for higher education; lower quality or limited scope of education options; disruption of current program; requirement to be educated in a foreign language or language or culture with ensuing loss of time for grade; availability of special requirements, such as training programs or internships in specific fields.

- Personal Considerations: Close relatives in the United States and/or the applicant’s country; separation from spouse/children; ages of involved parties; length of residence and community ties in the United States.

- Special Factors: Cultural, language, religious, and ethnic obstacles; valid fears of persecution, physical harm, or injury; social ostracism or stigma; access to social institutions or structures.

- Any other situation that the applicant feels may help meet the burden of extreme hardship. The evidence supporting the claim of extreme hardship should be as detailed as possible. Keep in mind that the hardship must be to the qualifying relative – not to the applicant.

The Law Office of Ruby L. Powers is an immigration law firm focused 100% on US Immigration and Nationality Law. Based in Houston, Texas, we consider ourselves border-less as we represent clients worldwide. With a focus solely on US immigration law, the firm is able to provide excellent service for the immigration needs of our clients.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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