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Hardship Waivers

“The Right Immigration Attorney Makes All The Difference”

Foreign nationals who enter the United States without a visa or without inspection may not seek permanent residence from within the United States. Instead, they must leave the United States to obtain an immigrant visa at a consulate abroad and are generally barred from reentering the U.S. for three or ten years. Holders of J-1 exchange visas may be required to return to their home country for two years before being able to obtain permanent resident status in the U. S. One of the avenues toward a potential waiver of the reentry bar or the J-1 two-year home residence requirement is the hardship waiver.

Foreign nationals who are barred from obtaining permanent residence in the United States as a result of past unlawful presence must obtain a “hardship waiver” to obtain a green card (immigrant visa) and re-enter the United States. To qualify for a hardship waiver, they must prove that their qualifying relative – a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent – would suffer “extreme hardship” if they were not allowed to return to the United States. Children are not qualifying relatives in this circumstance. However, children may be qualifying relatives for hardship waivers based on other grounds of inadmissibility. The applicant must submit Form I-601 (Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility) and filing fee to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services office that adjudicates waivers for that consulate. The foreign national must also submit a Form I-212 (Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal) and a filing fee if they are seeking admission after removal or deportation. Sadness and stress accompanying separation from a qualifying relative is not sufficient cause to seek a hardship waiver. The foreign national must present additional factors that rise to the level of extreme hardship, such as a serious medical condition, personal circumstances (such as caring for the spouse’s elderly or ill relative), the spouse’s financial dependence on the foreign national, and/or unrest or other significant problems in the foreign national’s home country that would make it extremely difficult for the foreign national and the petitioning relative to relocate there.

J-1 visa holders seeking a hardship waiver must prepare and submit the I-612 hardship application, supporting documents, fee, and State Department case number to the appropriate U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Service Center. This process requires the foreign national to show exceptional hardship to his/her U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse and/or child or children. Possible factors for consideration of a hardship waiver for a J-1 visa holder include the waiver applicant’s marital status and whether s/he has any children, the amount and source of funding received by the applicant, absence of any objection by the applicant’s home government to grant of a waiver, conditions which could adversely affect the health, safety or general welfare of the applicant’s spouse and/or child in the applicant’s home country, lack of adequate medical treatment in the applicant’s home country for a chronic medical condition of the applicant’s spouse and/or child, presence of a threat to the safety of the applicant’s spouse and/or child due to political or religious considerations in the applicant’s home country, existence of a custody order that would prevent a U. S. citizen or lawful permanent resident from removing minor children from a court’s jurisdiction, and/or service in the U.S. Armed Forces which would prevent the spouse from accompanying the waiver applicant to his/her home country.

May Law Group, LLC, files many hardship waivers and utilizes psychological evaluations in our waiver applications. The immigration attorneys of May Law Group, LLC, have successfully obtained hardship waivers and exceptional hardship waivers of the two-year home residence requirement filed at numerous consulates around the world and from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Contact an Immigration Lawyer

To speak to an immigration attorney about your immigration goals, including obtaining a work visa in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New York or anywhere in the United States, we welcome you to contact us online or call 412-291-4400 | 215-880-4977 | 347-839-1700 . Free consultations are available. We represent clients throughout the United States, including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Allegheny County, and worldwide in Korea, Africa, India, and Pakistan.

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