How to Write an I601A Extreme Hardship Waiver Argument

Ranchod Law Group goes
to write your legal brief.

Mention this page & we’ll reduce our usual $150 consultation fee to $99 for I601/I601A & marriage based Green Cards

When someone is declared “inadmissible,” it means there’s something in their record that prevents them from lawfully entering or remaining in the United States or applying for a different type of status. If you’ve been found inadmissible for the 3- or 10-year bar, you may be able to have your inadmissibility waived on the grounds of extreme hardship to one of your immediate relatives. However, extreme hardship to your US citizen child does not make you eligible.

Proving extreme hardship can be challenging. One of the most important pieces of an I601A extreme hardship waiver is the extreme hardship argument explaining why you (or you and your family) leaving the U.S. would create an unusually difficult hardship. The purpose of the legal argument is to provide details on why leaving the U.S. or being denied entry will cause hardship to your relatives; this is something you’ll have intimate knowledge of.

Our retainer clients give us their hardship details; we then prepare a legal brief explaining the hardships or help the client with a hardship letter if the client prefers a less comprehensive service. Here are some important things to keep in mind when you’re working with your attorney to prepare your I601A Hardship Waiver application.

First, what is “extreme hardship”? Extreme hardship means suffering or hardship that is unusual or beyond what would normally be expected if a family member must leave the United States. The waiver will need to show the exact types of hardship one’s United States citizen, or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or parent will suffer if the applicant is deemed inadmissible.

When preparing your extreme hardship waiver, take some time to think about what will happen if you’re forced to leave the U.S. or denied entry. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you have a qualifying relative with a long-term illness? Who will help take care of them if you leave the country?
  • If you have children, are you the primary caregiver? If so, who would take care of them if you left? Do you know anyone who has the time or the means to care for them in your place?
  • Do your kids need your support to help them complete their education?
  • Would your spouse need to quit their job to take care of your children? If so, how will they be able to afford their bills?
  • Will your qualifying relative be able to afford their rent or mortgage if you leave, or will they be at risk of becoming homeless?
  • If you have a family-run business, would it need to close?
  • Do you have a qualifying relative (spouse, parent, or child) whose education would be disrupted if you have to leave the United States? Do you have any other relatives in the U.S. who could help your family if you need to leave?
  • Can you think of any other ways your family might suffer if you’re forced to leave?

Next, you’ll want to consider what will happen if you leave the U.S. and take your family with you:

  • If you have a family member with a long-term illness, like cancer, will they be able to have access to the medications or treatments they need? Are there qualified specialists in the country you would need to return to?
  • Are there environmental factors that will make an ill family member sicker, such as pollution, a lack of clean drinking water, UV exposure, etc.?
  • Will your children be safe in the country you’re going to? Are they likely to be bullied or targets of a crime because of their identity, religion, characteristics, etc.?
  • Will your qualifying relatives be able to continue their education? If you have special needs children, are there schools in the country that can support them?
  • Will qualifying relatives need to repeat years of education they’ve already completed?
  • How long will it take for your qualifying relatives to learn the language?
  • Will your family be able to practice their religion? Will they be discriminated against because of their religion?
  • Will you be able to get a job that pays enough to support your family? Will your qualifying relative be able to find a job?
  • Does your qualifying relative have any family in the new country? Will being separated from their U.S. family cause hardship?
  • Are there any other factors that could cause your qualifying relatives to suffer if they left the U.S. with you?

Once you have an understanding of the types of hardship your relatives would suffer if you left the U.S., you’ll need to gather evidence to prove your claims. You can submit evidence from several categories; the following examples are not the only types of documents you can submit, but rather to get you thinking about what you might be able to provide. Regardless of the types of hardship your family might suffer, you’ll want to provide as much documentation as possible. Think about each claim you’re making in terms of “my qualifying relative will suffer because of (reason)” and whether you can back the reason up with documentation.

You should have your qualifying relatives write letters that explain exactly how your departure would affect them, as well as any other information about the role you play in your family. This can include letters from older children and drawings of your family from younger children. All letters should be written on standard 8 ½ x 11 paper.

If your qualifying relatives would experience hardship because of the conditions in the country you would be moving to, you should provide country conditions reports. You can find these here:

If a qualifying relative would suffer extreme hardship because of an illness or health condition, you should provide letters from their doctors. This should include the diagnosis, as well as information about the type of treatment they’re receiving (or would need). In addition, you’ll also want to include supporting documentation, like copies of their medical records showing that they’ve received tests, hospitalizations, medications, or other forms of medical care.

You should also include information about the availability or quality of care your relative would receive in the country you’d be moving to. This can be researched by finding out how many specialists are available in that country and the availability of medications.

If you’re the only caretaker for your children and you don’t have anyone in your life who could care for them, include a letter from the school that confirms you’re the sole emergency contact and letters from relatives that explain why they wouldn’t be able to take your children in.

If you’re not the sole caretaker, you can submit letters from other people explaining why staying in your children’s lives is important for their welfare. These can come from teachers, school psychologists, relatives, or other people in your life who are knowledgeable about your family situation. If you pay child support, provide documentation showing that you’ve been making payments and a letter from the primary caregiver that explains how you help support your children.

If your relative is working on getting a degree, provide school transcripts; for special needs children, you can provide a report from their school detailing the type of support they need. In addition, provide research for information about the schools in the country you would be living in, including whether they provide the education and resources your family would need.

If your family would experience extreme hardship for financial reasons, provide copies of documentation that will support your claim, like:

  • Bank statements
  • Tax records
  • Bills
  • Pay stubs
  • Mortgage loan agreement
  • Deeds
  • Mortgage statement showing what you still owe
  • Business records for a family business

Depending on the details of your specific case, there may be different types of evidence you’ll need to provide. Your immigration attorney will be able to help you figure out exactly which types of evidence would be required or beneficial for your case.

After you’ve collected your documentation, it’s time to pull everything together. Your waiver packet should include the completed Form I-601 and all supporting evidence. Here are some tips to ensure your waiver packet is submitted properly:

  • Don’t use binders or folders that can’t be easily taken apart.
  • If your waiver packet is thick or bulky, use ACCO two-pronged fasteners or heavy binder clips to hold it together; don’t use heavy-duty staples.
  • If you’re using tabs to separate the documents, they should go at the bottom of the pages, rather than the side.
  • Don’t submit the original copies of documents unless it’s specifically required.
  • Cards, drawings, or other small documents can be stapled to an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper.
  • When requesting letters from family members, make sure they write them on regular paper, rather than notebook paper.
  • Odd-sized documents from overseas should be folded with the bottom of the paper up to make it fit 8 ½ x 11.
  • Avoid submitting oversized documents whenever possible.
  • The way the packet is held together makes it difficult to read the backside of the documents.

If you’re providing long reports from the internet, most of the information probably won’t apply to your case. Make sure you highlight the important sections to help point out what’s most important for the immigration official to focus on. If you only need a few pages, include the cover page and important pages only.

If you’re including documents in foreign languages, such as birth certificates or reports, they must be accompanied by a certified translation. The person who translated the document must certify that they have the competency to translate the document, and that they did it accurately. The certified translation should include:

  • The name of the certifier
  • Their signature
  • Their address
  • The date the document was certified

A list of all the documents will help officials be able to tell what they’re looking at and spot if anything is missing from the waiver packet.

Since immigration officials may not have the time to read through all the documentation provided, you should also include a 1-2-page summary highlighting the most important information you’ve included.

As you can see, many different circumstances can help you qualify for an extreme hardship waiver. Putting together a well-documented waiver application with the right supporting evidence is essential to having your I1601A and I601 waiver approved; this is where working with an immigration attorney can give you an advantage and make it more likely to win your case. If you have questions about how the law applies, which types of documents to include, or how to put the waiver together, the experienced immigration attorneys at Ranchod Law Group are here to help.

Please contact us at 916-613-3553 or email us at to schedule a consultation.