How to Prove “Extreme Hardship” for an I-601A Hardship Waiver

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Starting March 4, 2013, eligible individuals can apply for the new I601a Waivers.This Waivers will allow certain immediate family members of United States citizens who are in the process of obtaining a visa to obtain a provisional unlawful presence Waivers prior to leaving the U.S. This will allow these individuals to attend their immigrant visa interviews abroad, without having to worry about a potential three- or ten-year bar to reentering the United States.

However, in order to receive a Waivers, you have to prove that you would suffer an “exceptional hardship” if the Waivers is not granted. But what does this mean?

Proving Extreme Hardship

Unfortunately, the USCIS does not define precisely what exceptional hardship means. Nor have courts specifically defined the term through case law. Instead, the Board of Immigration Appeals has noted that extreme hardship (also know as exceptional hardship) is not a definable term of fixed meaning, and instead depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case: The term must not be loosely used in the common sense of the word – for example:

  • Separation of parents from their children
  • Loss of employment
  • Uprooting of the family
  • Loss of residence

should not be considered as “extreme” contrary to common understanding.

Matter of Pilch, 21 I&N December 627 (BIA 1996), held that emotional hardship caused by severing family and community ties is a common result of deportation and does not constitute extreme hardship. In addition, Perez v. INS, 96 F.3d 390 (9th Cir. 1996), held that the common results of deportation are insufficient to prove extreme hardship and defined extreme hardship as hardship that was unusual or beyond that which would normally be expected upon deportation. Hassan v. INS, supra, held further that the uprooting of family and separation from friends does not necessarily amount to extreme hardship but rather represents the type of inconvenience and hardship experienced by the families of most aliens being deported. The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) recognizes that the applicant’s spouse and/or children would likely endure hardship as a result of separation from the applicant.

So when the USCIS reviews your application for an I-601A waiver, it will review all the circumstances of your family situation and any supporting evidence you provide to support the application.

Some factors the USCIS considers when determining extreme hardship can include:

  • Health. Any ongoing or specialized health concerns may be considered. This is especially true if medical care is not available in the foreign country.
  • Finances. Financial concerns such as possibly losing a business or your employability may be factored. In addition, the agency may consider your contributions to care of family members in the U.S.
  • Education. Any disruption of your education may be considered.
  • Personal Ties. The length of time you stayed in the U.S., your community ties, and the number of close relatives you have in the U.S. may all be relevant.
  • Other Factors. The USCIS may also consider other factors like any fear of persecution in your home country, cultural considerations, and any other relevant factor.

Contact a Hardship Waiver Attorney

For more information, contact us today at one of our offices in:

It is critical that you provide all the supporting evidence with your I-601A waiver application. If you do not state your case for granting a waiver, your application may be denied.

Contact a hardship waiver attorney atThe Ranchod Law Group today

Should you have any questions with your waiver application, you can discuss your case by calling (916) 613-3553 or emailing us at


A Detailed list of other information on I-601A Waivers