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I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver

What is an I-601 Immigrant Waiver?

Every person wishing to immigrate to the United States must demonstrate to the U.S. government that he or she is eligible to immigrate or is "admissible".  Those who are inadmissible because they violated the law in some way are barred from entering the US for a certain period of time.  If they wish to return to the US before the expiration of the bar they will need an approved I-601 Waiver before their green card or visa can be approved.  

 

Who is a typical I-601 applicant?

The most usual I-601 applicant is an undocumented person married or engaged to a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident who is wishing to legalize their presence or come to the US on an immigrant visa.  Other scenarios include parents and children of US citizens.


What's the first thing I should consider about the I-601 Waiver?

Every person who believes he or she might need an I-601 Waiver should start by answering this two-part question: am I truly inadmissible and if so, are there any exceptions that might apply to me that would excuse me from having to file this application.  For example, an applicant for a green card must show, among many other things, that he or she entered the US lawfully in order to apply for and receive a green card in the US.  For many people who enter the US unlawfully, this is not possible and they require a waiver.  But there are a number of exceptions. 


The most common exception applies to  individuals who are grandfathered under INA Section 245(i) because they are the beneficiary of a family-based or an employment-based petition filed for them (or sometimes their family members) before April 30, 1997.  These individuals can often avoid having to file a waiver by paying a penalty.  Other exceptions include victims of crimes, violence, and human trafficking.


What's the second thing I should consider about the I-601 Waiver?

The best advice I can offer is this: do not leave the United States without first consulting with an attorney as the consequences may be very serious.  If you have left or were deported then the I-601 Waiver may be your best option in returning to the United States.  However, if you are still in the US then you may be able to apply for an I-601 Provisional Waiver in the United States.  Read more.


What if I was deported or removed?

If you've been deported or removed you may need to submit an I-212 Application for Permission to Return After Deportation or Removal. For most people, the I-601 and the I-212 are filed together because typically the person who has been deported is also, for example, inadmissible because of unlawful presence or a crime.  Others, however, will only need an I-212 Waiver.  Call us today to discuss what is proper for your case as the procedures, costs, and eligibility requirements differ based on your particular facts.


What are some common inadmissibility grounds?

  • Status violations. The person entered the United States without inspection and has remained since (accumulating unlawful presence) and no exceptions apply in her case to be able to apply for adjustment of status in the United States.

  • Misrepresentation.  A person is inadmissible for prior acts of misrepresentation or fraud when he has engaged in "purposeful misrepresentation of a material fact in order to gain an immigration benefit."

  • Criminal history. This is arguably one of the most complex parts of the law, so talk to me about how your criminal history may affect your case.

  • False claims to US citizenship made after September 30, 1996.


What are some common grounds that cannot be waived with an I-601 Waiver?

  • In absentia order of removal. If a person was ordered removed by an Immigration Judge in absentia (meaning the person did not appear for his or her immigration court date), this person is not eligible to apply for a waiver until five years after actually leaving the United States. This means that if you were ordered removed in absentia in 1996, but did not actually leave the United States until 2010, you will be eligible to apply for a waiver in 2015. If you have been removed in absentia, there are certain options available to you, so call me today and find out (also, please read "Other Services" section for more information).

  • Almost all drug convictions!

  • Suspicion of Drug Trafficking

  • Prior gang membership

  • Prior frivolous asylum claims (filed after April 1, 1997)


The Dreaded "Permanent Bar" under INA 212(a)(9)(C)

The "Permanent Bar" is one of the most punitive laws on the books because those who are subject to it cannot apply to immigrate until they spend 10 years residing outside the US.  It applies in the following scenarios:
1. Persons who enter the US unlawfully, remain in the US for a period of one year or longer (all entries are cumulative), and who either enter or attempt to enter the US unlawfully (only entries and time in the U.S. after April 30, 1997 count), OR;

2. Persons who were deported and subsequently enter or attempt to enter unlawfully. 


Do I have any options if I am subject to a non-waivable bar?

If you are subject to one of the non-waivable bars, you may not be able to return to the US as an immigrant.  However, you might be able to apply for a Non-Immigrant Waiver under INA 212(d)(3) or qualify for humanitarian parole.



I've done my homework and need an I-601 Waiver.  What must I prove?

Every I-601 Waiver application must prove the following:

  • that the qualifying relative will suffer extreme hardship in the US without his or her spouse or parent (and sometimes child);
  • that the qualifying relative will suffer extreme hardship by relocating to another country to be with the applicant; and
  • that the applicant deserves a favorable exercise of discretion.


Who is the Qualifying Relative?

The answer to this question often depends on the reason why a person is inadmissible.  For example, for those who are inadmissible because of unlawful presence or misrepresentation, the qualifying relative can be a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident spouse, fiancé(e), or parent.  For those who are inadmissible because of a crime, the qualifying relative can also be a child.


What is Extreme Hardship?

The law vaguely defines "extreme hardship" as greater than the normal hardship the qualifying relative can be expected to experience if the applicant is denied admission. I believe this is where my clients benefit from my knowledge and experience the most as I can help you develop strong arguments and supporting evidence to document the extreme hardship in your particular case.


What Evidence Should You Provide?

Each client is unique and no two cases are the same. Thus, there is no specific formula to prepare a successful application. Our goal is to provide the US Citizenship and Immigration Service sufficient proof explaining each situation and circumstance that will cause "extreme hardship" to the qualifying relative. We know that a letter from the qualifying relative alone is not enough. We know that showing that the qualifying relative will feel sad or miss his or her spouse or parent is not enough. We know that everyone undergoing this process is feeling stressed, pressed, and depressed. We also know that typically, the government considers these to be "normal" hardships and not "extreme" hardships. Our goal is to provide clear and detailed evidence substantiating each situation and circumstance that will cause "extreme hardship" to the qualifying relative. My job is to encourage and guide you to evaluate every aspect of how your life (if you're the qualifying relative) or the life of your spouse or parent would change should they have to remain in the US without their loved one or need to relocate permanently to their loved one's country. These arguments form the basis of your hardship application! Let my experience help you present these arguments in the strongest way possible!

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The information you obtain on this website is general and not intended to be legal advice.  You should consult an attorney for individual advice about your particular case.

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