With a proven track record of demonstrating genuine hardships for qualifying relatives, the attorneys at Nuñez & Associates know all-to-well that the authorities want to see well-thought out, truthful arguments that were given mindful effort and attention.
An Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (I-601) may be an option for immigrants who are the spouses, fiancés or parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents and have been denied admissibility for a green card based on certain grounds of inadmissibility.
An immigrant must file an application addressing the basis for inadmissibility and provide sufficient proof that denial will result in extreme hardship for the relative U.S. citizen or legal resident, also known as the “qualifying relative.”
Who is a Qualifying Relative?
A qualifying relative is someone who files the immigrant petition and who would suffer extreme hardship if the immigrant was not allowed to enter as a permanent resident.
The qualifying relative must be:
- A U.S. citizen or legal resident spouse or parent, if the immigrant is denied for unlawful presence or misrepresentation
- A U.S. citizen or legal resident who is a spouse, parent or child of the alien who is denied admissibility based on criminal history
- A U.S. citizen fiancée
A major element in obtaining a waiver is providing proof of the hardship that the qualifying relative will suffer. Factors that may constitute an extreme hardship include:
- The relative has to leave the U.S. to be with you
- You need medical treatment on a continual basis (e.g., for a brain tumor or multiple sclerosis)
- Your country is embroiled in a civil war or constant political upheavals
- You are the primary caretaker for an elderly, disabled or seriously and chronically ill relative
- Your education would be significantly interrupted or terminated
- You would lose or be denied significant employment opportunities if denied
- You are the primary caregiver for your children from a prior relationship and who have an emotional attachment to you
Ineligibility for Waiver
There are some circumstances under which you may not file for an I-601 waiver, though other options for entry may be possible. These include:
- You were in the U.S. unlawfully for more than one year, departed, and then reentered without inspection
- You previously made a false claim that you were a U.S. citizen, unless you can show that the claim was not intentionally made without a reasonable basis, or that you had a reasonable basis for your claim
- You were or appear to be a member of a criminal gang (such as having gang tattoos)
- You have a drug conviction after the age of 18 unless it was for possession of fewer than 30 grams of marijuana
- You failed to attend a removal hearing and have been in the U.S. for at least five years
- Immigration officials determined you were in a sham marriage
- You filed a frivolous asylum claim
It is important to note that if you were previously in the U.S. unlawfully and have been outside the country for ten years, you can reapply for entry without the need for a qualifying relative.
Overcoming Conditions of Inadmissibility
While unlawful presence is grounds for inadmissibility, many immigrants can obtain an I-601(a) provisional waiver. Others, however, may face more difficulty if they are deemed inadmissible based on conditions such as a criminal record, misrepresentation, marriage fraud or other immigration violations. With an experienced and resourceful immigration lawyer, you can present credible arguments to overcome these obstacles though you will likely have to show greater evidence of the hardship that your denial would produce.
If you have a criminal record, you may show evidence of rehabilitation such as:
- An expungement of your record
- Letters from law enforcement, judges, or probation officer attesting to your rehabilitation and unlikelihood of re-offending
- Youth and length of time since crime was committed
- Completion of alcohol or drug program and demonstration that you are not a drug addict or alcoholic; or, demonstration that you have been drug and alcohol-free for three years
- For other immigration law violations, your attorney may be able to argue that:
- You had a bona fide belief you were in compliance with the law
- You and your American spouse have children in common
- You entered the U.S. as a child with your parents
However, if you ever claimed to be an American citizen for purposes of immigration, this is a permanent ground for inadmissibility, and it is very likely that no waiver will be granted.