What, Exactly, Is Extreme Hardship?
Many immigration applications require an applicant to demonstrate extreme hardship. In light of the recent decision by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to allow hardship waiver processing in the U.S., this hardship determination is particularly important. Many immigrants and their loved ones often wonder, though, what is extreme hardship? Does my case rise to the level of “extreme”?
Before jumping into the relevant factors, it is helpful to consider who actually needs to suffer the extreme hardship in order to qualify. Here are some examples of the “qualifying relatives” for three common waivers:
- Unlawful presence waiver – extreme hardship must be to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent;
- 212(h) waiver for certain crimes – extreme hardship must be to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, son, or daughter; and
- 212(i) waiver for misrepresentation/fraud – extreme hardship must be to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent.
Extreme hardship is not a fixed term. It differs from family to family. The following factors have been recognized as relevant in determining extreme hardship:
- Family ties to the United States;
- Family ties outside the United States of the qualifying relative;
- The conditions in the country to which the qualifying relative would relocate;
- The financial impact of departure from the United States; and
- Significant health conditions (particularly when tied to unsuitable medical care in the country to which the qualifying relative would relocate).
Courts have held that although political and economic conditions in the immigrant’s home country are relevant, they alone cannot establish extreme hardship. The same holds true for economic detriment (such as the loss of a job) in the absence of other hardship factors.
Whether filed affirmatively or in deportation proceedings, waivers are complicated and require thorough preparation to maximize the chances of approval. The immigration lawyers at Livesay & Myers, P.C. have extensive experience with extreme hardship waivers. From our offices in Manassas and Fairfax, Virginia, we represent clients across the United States in extreme hardship waiver cases. For an individualized look at the particular factors in your waiver case, please contact us today.
En Español: ¿Que es exactamente el sufrimiento extremo?