The U.S. might be “the land of opportunity.” However, certain people might be barred from re-entering the country for a variety of reasons – certain criminal records, medical problems or other issues. If you are barred from re-entering the U.S., you are definitely in a tricky situation.
If you are blocked from re-entering the U.S. on inadmissibility grounds, you might request what is known as a waiver on “extreme hardship” grounds. Eligibility for this type of waiver generally depends on the nature and extent of hardship your U.S.-based relative would experience if you are prevented from joining them in the country.
So how do you prove “extreme hardship”?
Proving extreme hardship may be difficult. However, it is not impossible. Per the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), your application for waiver will only be approved when you provide strong evidence that the U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative will experience:
- Extreme hardship in the U.S. if you are barred from coming into the country to stay with them
- Extreme hardship in your country of origin should they relocate and join you there.
Subject to the circumstances of your case, you may try to prove that your U.S.-based relative would undergo extreme hardship in both situations. If, however, only one situation would cause extreme hardship (such as living apart in two different countries, but having them join you abroad wouldn’t be as bad), then you have to be ready to prove that the one situation likely to lead to extreme hardship is also the one you wish to pursue. You must also be ready to explain why this is so.
Here are possible arguments for extreme hardship that you may raise:
- Your U.S.-based relative has a medical issue that requires you to be physically around to help them either with mobility or emotionally.
- Your U.S.-based relative is financially dependent on you and you cannot possibly provide this support while abroad
A waiver of inadmissibility can be your lifeline if you are barred from re-entering the U.S. Understanding how the USCIS reviews admissibility criteria can help you protect your interests while seeking a waiver on grounds of extreme hardship.