A couple of days ago, I wrote the first of two posts about “extreme hardship” in immigration law. Today, in the second post, I write about the question of exactly what “extreme hardship” is, and how we can show it.
In many immigration cases, we must show extreme hardship to the spouse or parent of the person applying for the immigration benefit. In some cases, we may show extreme hardship to the child of the applicant. The applicant’s qualifying relatives – spouses, parents, and (in some cases) children – must be either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
As we stated in the first post, we need to show harships of both separation and relocation.
“Extreme hardship” is open to interpretation. U.S. government officials may consider many different types of hardships. Many of the most common hardships involve financial concerns, medical conditions, educational goals, psychological or emotional issues, family ties, and conditions in the location where the applicant would be living if the waiver is not granted. In order to explain the hardship to the qualifying relatives, we must imagine that the applicant for the waiver is living in his or her home country.
Financial concerns: An assessment of the loss of income to the household as a result of the applicant’s residence outside the United States, and the ripple effects that this loss can have on the well-being of the qualifying relatives.
Medical conditions: The effects on the qualifying relatives of the potential lack of access to medical care in the country of relocation, and the potential loss of access to medical care in the United States due to loss of income or loss of insurance coverage.
Educational goals: The effects of the applicant’s absence on the education of qualifying relatives, including the loss of educational opportunities in the country of relocation, or the loss of opportunities in the United States due to financial or time constraints.
Psychological or emotional issues: The stress and anxiety that result from separation of qualifying relatives from the applicant, and the stresses and pressures that would accompany the qualifying relative’s relocation to another country.
Family ties: The qualifying relative’s connections to relatives in the United States, vs. connections to relatives in the country of relocation.
Country conditions: Aspects of life in the country of relocation, including housing conditions, sanitation, educational opportunities, safety, social or political unrest, violence, environmental risks.
An application for a waiver based on a showing of extreme hardship requires significant careful preparation, planning, and documentation. I have extensive experience in preparing these applications, and a strong record of success.