How Home Country Conditions Support Hardship Waivers

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 | Last Updated: May 17, 2015
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Home Country Conditions Support Hardship Waivers

A hardship waiver application should explain how each and every aspect of a denial could cause exceptional hardship to the U.S. citizen. This is not limited to how the U.S. citizen’s health, finances, and education would suffer without their spouse. There is also exceptional hardship to the U.S. citizen if he or she had to relocate to another country. This blogpost explores severe conditions found in foreign countries as well as the types of documentation that can help demonstrate the conditions to strengthen hardship waiver application.

Every aspect of a denial should be explored when preparing applications for hardship waivers. Since the brief should leave no stone unturned, it should also dig deep into the home country of the immigrant spouse.


For example, in Mexico, there are a variety of conditions that could cause extreme hardship on the U.S. citizen. Some common examples include high rates of crime and violence. The state of Michoacán in particular is plagued by drug cartels. The lucrative meth trade is based in the valleys and mountains of the state. Combat erupts between the cartels and the Mexican armed police and local militias. Even if a town is completely innocent of involvement with the cartels, they can still be overrun by extortion tactics and violence from the cartel leaders. There are many reports of cartels charging fees and extra taxes on poor ranchers just to be left alone. The farmers already earn a meager income but yet the cartels threaten to kill, destroy and kidnap their daughters if they do not comply. For any person, including a U.S. citizen, these violent conditions rise to an important factor of exceptional hardship and are vital to hardship waivers.


In Brazil, hadrship waivers should put emphasis on widespread violence perpetrated by criminal gangs and abusive police units in many of their cities. Human Rights Watch Report of 2014 reported that in the first six months of 2013 there were 362 and 165 killings in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo alone caused by police forces. Along with these killings, police forces were also involved in covering the crimes they committed and led to further corruption. Wherever there is law enforcement corruption it is clear that the public’s safety is at risk.

Other common conditions to highlight, if applicable, include severe poverty, high levels of pollution, and eroding infrastructure.


Hardship waivers, besides explaining how these conditions will cause extreme hardship, should demonstrate each claim with sufficient supporting documents. These documents can include letters from family member or friends that currently live in the foreign country. The letters can explain in detail what circumstances are difficult. Further they can send photos of the local schools, health facilities, roads, and building infrastructure. The friends or family can also provide articles from local newspapers illustrating the severe conditions in the town. In addition, recent reports on the country from credible organizations can serve to bolster the arguments in the waiver application brief. For example, Human Rights Watch, U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Embassies are all credible authorities to provide such reports.

By demonstrating a foreign country’s circumstances and supporting the claims of hardship with documentation, a stronger hardship waiver application is created.

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5 things you need to know about I601 & I601a waivers

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 | Last Updated: May 11, 2015
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The 5 most important questions you should ask about i601 and i601a waivers

  • What is an extreme hardship in my case?
  • Do I have any kind of medical hardship?
  • Do you have any type of financial hardship?
  • Will your US Citizen spouse’s career be disrupted?
  • Are you from a country that has conditions that would endanger your US Citizen spouse?
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What Happens Once your I601 Waiver has been Approved?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 | Last Updated: April 22, 2015
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Congratulations your I601 Waiver is Approved! Now what?

Getting your I601 waiver approved is most the difficult part of the process. But that is not the last step necessary to obtain permanent residency or to enter the U.S. What comes next is a series of procedural steps so that the applicant can enter the U.S. lawfully. Compared to getting the waiver approved, these steps are simple.

Once the waiver is approved by USCIS, the applicant should receive a packet of information from the U.S. Embassy of her country of origin. The packet will instruct her to set up a new interview appointment at the consulate. This packet will generally be sent via DHL the day the consulate receives the I-601 approval notice from USCIS. This is generally 2-3 days after the USCIS approval. If the applicant does not receive the packet within 30 days it is recommended to contact the consulate. Once the packet’s instructions are followed the applicant can schedule the consulate interview online. This process is not done through the National Visa Center, as it was when the applicant received her visa denial.

Depending on when the last interview was with the consulate, the applicant might need to submit updated documents. If the last interview was more than one year ago, she will likely need to have a new medical exam done. In addition, it is likely the consulate will request new biometrics, an updated DS-260 and I-864 Affidavit of Support.

On the day of the interview, the applicant will bring all of the requested documents and her passport. The consulate will retain the passport after the visa is approved. A short time later, possibly as short as a week, the consulate will send via DHL the passport containing the visa and a sealed packet called the ‘Immigrant Visa Packet’. The visa is valid for entry into the U.S. for four months.

Upon entry into the U.S., the applicant will present the sealed Immigrant Visa Packet. The officer will stamp the visa and the stamp serves as a temporary green card (I-551) valid for one year. The actual green card should arrive sometime before the year is up. A social security number will be assigned automatically and a card arrives about three weeks after entry into the U.S.

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Face Your Immigration Law and Life Challenges with Optimism

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 | Last Updated: March 10, 2015
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The immigration process is unquestionably challenging. It takes a long time and communication between government agencies and those who are applying for visas, waivers, a green card, or citizenship, is often unclear. At the Ranchod Law Group, we step in to make this process easier for our client, and we face the challenge with confidence.

A big source of frustration comes from the long, drawn out process—results seem so far away. We have laws, regulations, requirements, and government requests we need to address. When clients come to us frustrated, anxious, or worried, we can assure them that we are doing everything we can on our end. The fact is, decisions won’t happen overnight. Working with the US government is never easy.

We regularly interact with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). By that name alone, you would expect this agency to be prepared to answer questions related to all things immigration. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and due to that fact alone, one of our biggest challenges at Ranchod Law Group is just in interacting with the USCIS.

It is time consuming to communicate with USCIS. It may take an hour to get through to a representative that has a limited understanding of immigration law. We might call requesting a specific piece of information and their answer may be incorrect, or they may not have the information we are requesting, leading to more delays. We have encountered situations where the USCIS requests documentation we have already provided through RFE, which means we have to go through the process of resubmitting. Occasionally, they are unclear about a request, meaning we have a lot of guesswork on our end.

When they make a request like this, we have 30 to 90 days to respond or our request will end in a denial and we will have to appeal. Depending on the request, it can put a lot of pressure on us to get everything just right and to fulfill their requests to the letter. It’s a challenge we face head on. Our goal is to give our clients the best results possible, and we never lose sight of that. There are individuals, families, and companies who are depending on us. Of course, we cannot guarantee results, as these decisions aren’t in our control. We successfully respond to every request the USCIS sends us, and if any of their decisions aren’t in a client’s favor, we appeal, and keep pressing forward!

That’s what it is to face challenges. We can’t let them get us down, or we will never overcome them.

This is the kind of attitude I take home with me every night. My personal challenges may not compare to the challenges of many of my clients, but I don’t let obstacles stand in my way. Recently, I got a cold. If you recall, I’ve been working to get healthier and into better shape. This cold knocked me out for a week, and as anyone who has been in this situation knows, it’s not easy to get back on track after being sick for a while. My goal was to get back into my routine and not give myself an opportunity to slip. And so far, I’ve been successful! The hardest part was getting back into the gym, but after 10 days of procrastinating, I got back on track!

Another challenge I’ve been facing is gluten—or the lack of gluten. I feel much better than I did before removing it from my diet, but there are so many foods I miss. Sourdough bread, toasted with butter. Chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate cake. I guess we can say any baked good made with chocolate. I don’t expect the cravings to go away anytime soon, but I don’t give in.

The real challenge, going beyond these cravings, is coming home from work and wanting a big dinner. I know there is a lot of research that says the last meal of the day should be the smallest, but it’s the one I crave the most! I try to eat a healthy snack (carrots and cucumbers with hummus or nuts) before dinner to help compensate so I don’t eat as much. It helps a little.

As I’ve been working toward a healthier lifestyle, I may face setbacks and cravings, but I continue to push forward and focus on achieving my goal of better health. I know if I face this challenge with optimism and confidence, I’ll make it through, just as I know when we keep this same attitude with our clients, we set ourselves up for a more positive outcome.

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Enfrenta tus retos con optimismo

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 | Last Updated: March 10, 2015
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El proceso de inmigración es un reto sin duda. Toma mucho tiempo y comunicación entre agencias del gobierno y aquellos que soliciten visas, exenciones, una tarjeta de residencia o ciudadanía, es a menudo confuso. En el Ranchod Law Group, estamos para hacer este proceso más fácil para nuestros clientes, y nos enfrentamos al reto con confianza.

Una gran fuente de frustración proviene de la larga y elaborado proceso — resultados parecen tan lejos. Tenemos leyes, reglamentos, requisitos y las peticiones del gobierno que necesitamos responder. Cuando los clientes vienen a nosotros frustrados, ansiosos o preocupados, les podemos asegurar que estamos haciendo todo de nuestra parte que podemos. El hecho es que las decisiones no pasan sobre noche. Nunca es fácil trabajar con el gobierno de Estados Unidos.

Regularmente nos relacionamos con la ciudadanía de Estados Unidos y servicios de inmigración (USCIS). Por ese nombre, era de esperar esta agencia que estar preparado para responder preguntas relacionadas con todas las cosas de inmigración. Desafortunadamente, ese no es siempre el caso, y por ese solo hecho, uno de nuestros mayores desafíos en Ranchod Law Group está en la interacción con el USCIS.

Toma mucho tiempo para comunicarse con USCIS. Puede tomar una hora para llegar a un representante que tiene una comprensión limitada de la ley de inmigración. A veces llamamos para solicitar una pieza específica de la información y su respuesta puede ser incorrecta, o pueden no tener la información que estamos solicitando, llevando a más retrasos. Hemos encontrado situaciones donde el USCIS pide documentación ya hemos proporcionado a través de RFE, que significa que tenemos que pasar por el proceso de reenvío. En ocasiones, no son claros acerca de una petición, lo que significa que tenemos que adivinar hasta encontrar lo que piden.

Cuando hacen una petición como ésta, tenemos 30 a 90 días para responder o nuestra petición va a terminar en una negación y tendremos que apelar. Dependiendo de la solicitud, se puede poner mucha presión sobre nosotros para conseguir todo lo justo y a cumplir con sus peticiones. Es un desafío que enfrentamos de frente. Nuestro objetivo es dar a nuestros clientes los mejores resultados posibles, y no perder nunca de vista. Hay individuos, familias y empresas que dependen de nosotros. Por supuesto, no podemos garantizar resultados, como estas decisiones no están bajo nuestro control. Con éxito respondemos a cada petición que nos envía el USCIS, y las decisiones no están a favor de nuestros clientes, nosotros apelamos y los presionamos!

Eso es lo que es enfrentar los retos. No podemos permitirles que nos derriben, o nunca superaremos los.

Este es el tipo de actitud que llevo a casa conmigo todas las noches. Mis retos personales no pueden comparar a los desafíos de muchos de mis clientes, pero no dejo los obstáculos que se interpongan en mi camino. Recientemente, tuve un resfriado. Si usted recuerda, he estado trabajando para conseguir una más saludable y mejor forma. Este frío me noqueó hace una semana y sabe cualquiera que haya estado en esta situación, no es fácil volver al buen camino después de haber estado enfermo durante un tiempo. Mi objetivo era volver a mi rutina y no darme una oportunidad para deslizarse, y hasta ahora, he tenido éxito! La parte más difícil era volver al gimnasio, pero después de 10 días volví a la rutina!

Otro reto que he enfrentado es gluten — o la ausencia de gluten. Me siento mucho mejor de lo que hice antes de retirarlo de mi dieta, pero hay tantos alimentos que echo de menos. Pan, tostado con mantequilla. Galletas de chocolate. Tarta de chocolate. Supongo que podemos decir cualquier postre hechos con chocolate. No pienso que las ansias se van a desaparecer pronto, pero no me dejo cair en la tentación.

El verdadero desafío, yendo más allá de estos antojos, viene del trabajo y con ganas de una gran cena. Sé que hay mucha investigación que dice que la última comida del día debe ser el más pequeño, pero es el anhelo de la mayoría. Trato de comer un bocadillo saludable (zanahorias y pepinos con hummus, o frutos secos) antes de la cena para ayudar a compensar así no como tanto. Ayuda un poco.

Como he estado trabajando hacia un estilo de vida saludable, podría enfrentarse a antojos, pero continúo a empujar hacia adelante y en lograr mi objetivo de una mejor salud. Sé que si me enfrento este desafío con optimismo y confianza, venceré a través, como sé cuándo mantenemos esta misma actitud con nuestros clientes, nos fijamos en el resultado más positivo.

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Nuevo programa de inmigración enfrenta a desafíos

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 | Last Updated: March 10, 2015
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A mediados de febrero, un juez federal en Texas bloqueó la acción ejecutiva del Presidente Obama. La nueva orden del Presidente Obama, originalmente anunciado en noviembre, ha tenido muchas críticas significativas. El programa, conocido como acción diferida para padres de estadounidenses y residentes permanentes legales o DAPA, ofrece entre 4 y 5 millones de personas, proteccion y la capacidad de trabajar legalmente en los Estados Unidos. El objetivo del programa es mantener a las familias juntos. La decisión no altera al programa anterior de inmigración, DACA, pero previene la expansión.

Secretario de DHS, Jeh Johnson, dijo que el gobierno detuvo la orden de inmigración en cumplimiento de la sentencia. El Departamento de justicia actualmente está apelando la decisión de detener la DAPA.

Estos pueden parecer mayors contratiempos para aquellos que esperaban aprovechar de DAPA, pero no todo son malas noticias. El revés podría ser temporal y Obama puede apelar el fallo de la juez de Texas. Al mismo tiempo, esta pausa dará lugar para una revisión más cercano sobre lo que debe hacerse con una reforma migratoria en Estados Unidos. Mientras DAPA fue útil para muchas familias, sólo resuelve un tema menor. Vamos a seguir manteniendo una estrecha vigilancia sobre lo que sucede y le vamos a dejar saber cómo el presidente planea superar este contratiempo.

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Keeping Your Momentum Going

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 | Last Updated: February 12, 2015
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You have set your resolutions for the year. You have goals you want to accomplish. You may have even started working toward your goals—but are you keeping up with them? All too often, we will set our resolutions for the year and then forget about them. Other things come up or get in the way. It happens to everyone. When we get derailed, how we handle it will determine what happens next. Will we let our distractions get the better of us and keep us from our goals, or will we work to get ourselves back to where we want to be?

These setbacks apply to any goal you have set for yourself, not just your resolutions. When you hit a roadblock and something gets in your way, how fast you get back on track—if you get back on track—is the difference between success and defeat. No one wants their goals to be left unfinished, but the reality is they often are. Sometimes we set goals too high for us to reach. Other times we may make excuses for why we weren’t able to get back on track.

At Ranchod Law Group, when we are helping people work through the immigration process, we are constantly setting goals. Our outlook is to succeed, to overcome challenges and roadblocks we face—and I can tell you, there are many. How we handle these problems directly impacts the outcome of our results.(*)

When we’re working with US government agencies, it can be a challenge to meet their exact expectations. We work to be thorough and to keep nothing from slipping through the cracks, but even then, those agencies may have concerns or want further information. They may ask for completely different documents or information than we initially provided—even when we supplied the correct documentation. It’s not uncommon for the government to issue a request for evidence. In fact, we do not have control. We are entirely reliant on how the government acts and responds. There are times when the government will act irrationally and make the process more challenging. When that happens, we can appeal the case, if the client chooses to.

This is where we create a strategy to answer the RFE’s questions within the short time frame allotted to respond to their concerns. Again, it comes back to how we handle these situations that will determine our success. When we hit that roadblock, we make sure we have a plan in place to get past it.

It’s that kind of planning that makes all the difference. When something unexpected gets in the way of your goals, having a plan to get through it will keep you from straying. You may have set a resolution to get more physical activity. You are going to the gym three times a week. Your goal is to stick to your regimen and get into shape. What do you do when you have another appointment on one of your gym days? Do you skip the gym? Of course not! You go at a different time and you make sure you stick to your three days a week. With that kind out outlook, you will accomplish your goals and see success, and you will be able keep your momentum going through the rest of the year!

Before I leave you this month, I want to let you know about our YouTube channel, which you can find at We have uploaded dozens of helpful videos just for you. Our videos cover everything from immigration tips to details about specific immigration documents. They are perfect for anyone going through the immigration process or family members who would like more information. We update our videos regularly, so be sure to stop by every few weeks for new and important insights into the immigration process and to see how we can help.

*Case results do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

(*) Case results do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter –

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DACA and Executive Action on Immigration

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 | Last Updated: February 10, 2015
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Obama’s executive action on immigration and DACA

During the State of the Union address in January, immigration reform wasn’t a talking point. In fact, it was only mentioned briefly—and as a reminder of the president’s intention to veto efforts to derail immigration reform. In December, several cities and states filed a federal lawsuit in opposition to President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Since then, more cities and states have joined in the lawsuit, with the goal of stopping the order.

Then, in January, and with the start of the new congressional session, House Republicans began quick work on their own efforts to halt positive progress on immigration reform. Some Republicans have even started to push through legislation designed to defend Obama’s order.

This has been much of the theme for immigration for 2015. One goal of Republicans is to increase deportations. Another is to get rid of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It’s highly unlikely any bills centered on these goals will pass. If they did, the president would veto them. But, they are prime examples of the opposition immigration reform currently faces.

Right now, it looks like Obama’s plan will continue to go forward, despite the hurdles. Of course, we are hoping that it will go through but we will only know for certain once it is in effect. After Obama’s announcement in November, USCIS stated the program would be ready in about “three months”, with no specific dates in place.

The program will provide relief for about 5 million people, many of them parents and family members of US citizens. The plan will give them the opportunity to legally work and pay taxes, while removing the worry of being deported. It will also provide spouses on H4 visas the ability to get work authorization. Outside of the initial application process by the USCIS, it’s not clear when the next steps will be in place, including when permits would be issued, meaning there are still a lot of questions for those who are eager to participate in the new program.Call our office at 916-220-3137 if you have questions or email us at

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Should you apply for DAPA or an i601A Waiver?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 | Last Updated: February 9, 2015
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DAPA or an I601A waiver?

If you qualify for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents () and , you might ask which one would yield a better result. The differences between these can be summed up as a temporary solution versus a permanent one.

Under DAPA, if approved, you would receive a temporary work permit, in order to work legally in the U.S. This permit would expire after a three year period. A grant of deferred action, would also mean you could stay in the U.S. temporarily without fear of deportation. This is a great benefit to those without a lawful status and who wish to remain together with their families. However, since this is a newly announced program, there are still some uncertainties. It is not certain if or how DAPA can be renewed in the future after the three years are up. Further, it is not certain if it could be overturned under a new presidential administration.

If approved for I601A, you would receive lawful permanent resident status, which offers permission to work in the U.S. legally, and ultimately provides a road to citizenship. Then as a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen, you could then potentially petition for your relatives. Under DAPA, it only benefits the individual applicant, meaning they cannot then petition for a family member to receive an immigration benefit. Most significantly, an I601A is a permanent solution rather than just a band aid. Therefore, if you qualify under both, it would be wise to choose a long term solution and apply under I601A. Additionally please note that DAPA is not effect and we are hoping that it will become law in May 2015. Call our office at 9162203137 if you have questions or email us at

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