Researching the I-601 Waiver on Ground of Extreme Hardship – a Common Sense Approach

Friday, April 28, 2017 | Last Updated: October 19, 2015
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By Immigration Attorney Kaushik Ranchod

If you’re reading this, it’s highly probable that you’ve come to this site to research the steps and requirements to file a waiver of inadmissibility.

One of the grounds for overcoming a finding of inadmissibility determination, and, consequently, bringing you and your relative together in the US, is for you (the US citizen or the Permanent Resident aka “Qualifying Relative”) to collect evidence and describe your own “extreme hardship” as a result of being separated from your spouse (who, only by the governmental agency, is referred to as “Alien”).

What I acknowledge, as an Immigration Attorney, is the common sense involved of your feeling of “extreme hardship” by a ruling which denies the presence of your spouse, (present or future) . . . . and, further, to say that I understand that — to you — never, ever will it be “normal hardship,” no matter what the legal forms and methods of analysis indicate.

But, too, I need to point out the obvious:  the person doing the research about symptoms of “extreme hardship” is the one often actually suffering from the extreme hardship. And I’m not surprised that compiling data and writing your story often brings on or worsens feelings of desperation and depression which can often hurt or hinder your progress to achieving your goal.

That’s why it is important to find places on the internet that clearly state the immigration rules and practice steps as a logical, facts-based process and bring as much predictability in terms of time and outcome to the researcher. One such agency is the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (Recommendation Regarding the Processing of Waivers of Inadmissibility) which Congress created with the “goal of increasing transparency and uniformity in immigration process.”  Furthermore, the Ombudsman “exists to make recommendations to USCIS on how to improve services, increase efficiencies, and provide a more meaningful experience for our customers.  USCIS takes these recommendations seriously . . . reviews them [and] implements when possible.”

An example of a recent response to recommendations (October 12, 2010) as it applies to the Processing of Waivers of Inadmissibility (*see footnote for ref.) I believe review of this memorandum will make you aware of the tone and commitment to better communication between government agencies who deal with urgent personal matters such as filling a I-601 hardship waiver.

To summarize this post:  it is natural to feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the process to overcome inadmissibility, especially based on “extreme hardship” considerations.  When unearthing one’s choices by internet research, it’s not immediately clear, what exactly is the best option to pursue since the choices taken and results achieved are descriptive of applying general principles to individual facts which may not be applicable in every case.

I compare doing such legal research to researching a physical malady by consulting WebMD.  And I’m not saying that research about “symptoms” is not a good step.  Becoming familiar with language, terms, what others have to say, is part of the learning curve of any new process.  You can become knowledgeable of basics, learn to research questions and answers, and get insight into how others have handled similar life experiences.  I do recommend you take these research steps on your own before you consult a professional for analysis and advice.

Please contact the Ranchod Law Group in California, if you have any questions regarding or want to start the process of applying for an I-601 hardship waiver.  We serve clients across the U.S. and at U.S. Embassies worldwide.  To schedule a consultation contact us at 415-986-6186 or at info@ranchodlaw.com.

*see 10/12/10 memo here