An I-601 hardship waiver, also known as an “extreme hardship waiver” is a useful tool to remove certain immigration obstacles that block an undocumented alien from obtaining a visa, green card, or even being able to visit the country in a lawful manner.

In certain select circumstances, An I-601 hardship waiver can be used by immigrants fighting to keep their permanent resident status in an immigration court. The legal term “hardship” refers to the requirement that undocumented aliens must satisfy in order to prove that one of their relatives would suffer extreme hardship if they are removed or their waiver is not approved.


What is “Inadmissibility?”

The I-601 hardship waiver can be extremely useful for immigrants to overcome certain restrictions on the admissibility of evidence in immigration proceedings. Immigration regulations state that inadmissibility is a limited category of persons who are either unable to immigrate to the United States, unable to apply for adjustment of status from within the United States, or need to make a short-term visit to the United States.

What are the Different Types of I-601 Hardship Waivers?

While the complete list of acceptable hardship waivers has never been officially codified into immigration law, three very common I-601 waivers are:

It is important to remember that each waivers is classified as a hardship waiver, but the eligibility for each changes. I-601 Hardship waivers may also apply to additional situations not listed above. To learn more about your eligibility for a hardship waiver, contact KPPB Law online to tell us about your case. We can help you decide which type of hardship waiver best applies to your situations

What are the Basic Qualifications for an I-601 Hardship Waiver?

Currently, immigration law requires at least one of two elements to qualify for an I-601 hardship waiver:

  1. The prospective immigrant has a qualifying family member who would suffer extreme hardship if the waiver is not granted; OR
  2. that the immigrant can qualitatively demonstrate that he or she has individual circumstances that rise to the level of a discretionary approval of the waiver.

Determining eligibility for a waiver requires thorough knowledge of federal immigration law and it is in your best interest to consult with a licensed immigration lawyer before proceeding with your case.

Definition of “Qualifying Relatives” Depends on Waiver

It’s important to note that not all family members are a qualifying relative as defined by immigration law and practices. The definition of a qualifying relative varies by the type of waiver:

Unlawful Presence Waiver

Qualifying relatives are defined as American citizens, or permanent resident spouses or parents. Uncle, aunts, brothers, sisters, children, and other relatives are not qualifying relatives for use in the application of this type of waiver.

Misrepresentation/Fraud Waiver

Qualifying relatives are family members such as parents or spouses who are either United States citizens or permanent residents. Offspring, siblings, and other relatives are not qualifying relatives as defined by this type of waiver.

Criminal Conviction Waiver

Children, parents or spouses who are either American citizens or legal permanent residents meet the definition of a qualifying relative. Siblings and other relatives are not qualifying relatives under the terms of this waiver. .

What is “Extreme Hardship”

Extreme hardship is a technical term used by the immigration judicial process. According to case law, extreme hardship must contain certain elements. Determining whether your case satisfies the definition of extreme hardship will require the analysis of a legal professional.

Qualifying for Extreme Hardship

To qualify for the I-601 waiver, an immigrant must conclusively demonstrative that their qualifying relative, as defined under the terms of the particular waiver, would suffer a hardship that is notably worse than the level of hardship ordinarily encountered with any family separation. An undocumented alien cannot rely on proving that qualifying relatives will experience financial hardship. Only demonstrating heartbreak and other emotional suffering by qualifying relatives when families are forced to live apart does not satisfy the criteria for extreme hardship.

Extreme Hardship of Qualifying Relative is the Focus

An undocumented alien must demonstrate that their qualifying relative is likely to experience extreme hardship both if the alien is forced to live apart from their family and if a qualifying relative were to relocate with the immigrant back to the home country. The immigration service does not consider it sufficient that the undocumented alien himself or herself will suffer extreme hardship. The only qualifying issue is whether the qualifying relative will experience extreme hardship.

Prepare for Your I-601 Hardship Waiver Application

It is very important that you understand the entire hardship waiver application process, and the important issues that you need to prove in order to win an I-601 waiver application case. For more information on this particular type of waiver or assistance in determining whether you are eligible for an I-601 waiver, call KPPB Law. We are ready to assist you with every step in the application process.

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