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Immigration & Naturalization Law

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Extreme Hardship for Inadmissibility Waivers

To begin looking at an extreme hardship waiver, it is important to first look at why a person may be denied entry into the United States to begin with. Under U.S. law, visas are denied to those who have been told they are not eligible to enter the country, and this inadmissibility often stems from that person’s record. While it is worth noting that not all criminal records will cause someone to be denied entry, there are a few common infractions that do lead to this official status, including:

  • Unlawfully entering the country. How long a person is then denied entry is based on how long they were in the U.S. illegally.
  • Gaining immigration rights due to misrepresentation of facts.
  • Claiming to be a citizen of the United States when no such status has been granted.
  • Being considered a threat to the safety of the American public because of criminal action.
  • Being considered a threat to the safety of the public for medical reasons.
  • Smuggling items into the United States.
  • Being involved in a fake marriage for the purpose of getting citizenship.
  • And more.

Each case is considered individually, so it is important to understand exactly how your own record could be an issue when trying to be granted immigration rights.

What Is Extreme Hardship?

An extreme hardship waiver is a waiver that can be requested with the cooperation of a family member or qualifying individual who is already living within the United States. This waiver simply states that the person who is living in the country will suffer in some above-average fashion if the person who is being denied entry is not allowed to enter the country. It is important to note that a strong definition for – extreme hardship – has never been written, so there is a lot of flexibility to this term. If the waiver is granted, the person will be allowed entry even though he or she was previously inadmissible.

What You Must Prove

There are a few crucial things that have to be shown for an extreme hardship waiver to be granted. First, you must show that the person within the country is going to suffer is some real and tangible way. Next, it must be shown that the person within the United States cannot leave for some reason – such as a disability – to live with the relative outside of the U.S. On top of that, the person in the country has to show why he or she cannot just continue living without one’s relative, and why the potential suffering is linked directly to being with that person.

The goal here must be to show that allowing the alien entry into the country is actually going to make life better for the person who is suffering. For instance, if you have an older relative who is sick and living in the United States, that alone is not enough for an extreme hardship waiver. On top of that, you must show why your being allowed to join the person will change his or her life in some way, why it will help to relieve suffering. If there are other relatives in the country – a brother or sister, for example – you also have to show why they cannot provide care and why you must enter the country to do it.

By no means is sickness the only grounds for extreme hardship, but many cases do revolve around medical conditions. These could include things like:

  • Chronic disorders
  • Terminal diseases
  • Brain tumors
  • Injuries leading to disability
  • Injuries or diseases reducing one’s ability to work or care for oneself

As a final note, the hardship has to be suffered by the qualifying relative, not the person seeking immigration. Only then will the waiver be considered.