When someone applies for a green card, a thorough background check is done to make sure that the person is admissible. This means that officials are looking for anything in their history that would disqualify them from being eligible to enter or reside in the United States. Some of the reasons people may be found inadmissible are certain types of criminal convictions, past deportations, misrepresentations on prior applications, or long periods of time in the United States while undocumented. For most people, it’s the last two problems that tend to come up the most: misrepresentations or being in the U.S. for over a year without documentation. Fortunately, there is a way for these issues to be “waived” allowing people to get their visa or green card. The application for this type of waiver is the Form I-601 or I-601A – the I-601A is for people currently in the U.S. and the I-601 is for people who are outside.
Applying for a waiver is not as simple as filling out and submitting the required forms and fees. To be approved, the applicant must show that their spouse or parent is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR), and that this family member will suffer extreme hardship if the applicant is not allowed into the United States or if the family had to relocate to the applicant’s country of origin. There are many factors that are taken into consideration when trying to prove this, and I always recommend including evidence of every factor that applies to the applicant and their family. The more evidence, the better. Below I have written about the top 5 types of evidence that should be included and how you can prove they apply to you.
- Evidence of medical issues. I cannot stress this one enough. The strongest waivers that end up approved always include evidence of medical conditions. The problem is that most applicants who do this on their own tend to think that only the most serious illnesses count. When I do a waiver, I encourage the applicant and petitioner to come up with ANY medical issue they deal with at all, whether it’s something as major as cancer or simply bad seasonal allergies. Problems like allergies, migraines, and other seemingly minor conditions can become much bigger problems for people moving to a country where they may not have the same access to health care, quality of care, or face environmental factors that can make their health worsen. Applicants should also include evidence of any psychological conditions in this category. A history of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other such issues can also be included to show medical hardship to a family member.
- Finances. In many cases, the person requesting the waiver is the primary or only source of the family’s income. While it is important to state this, it must also be proven by documents like federal income tax filings, pay stubs, bank statements, or employer statements. Provide a list of monthly expenses with copies of bills, contracts, and invoices to show what money you owe and would struggle to pay if the family lost a source of income.
- Strong employment and family ties to the U.S. Evidence of things like working at the same job for several years with good benefits, being in the process of starting a business, or having a well-established business that employs people outside of your family is good evidence of strong employment ties to your community. If the spouse or parent of the applicant can show that most or all immediate family is here in the U.S., this may serve to prove strong ties to family that would suffer if the applicant and their family was separated from them.
- Lack or loss of opportunity and important resources in foreign country. A good example of this is if an applicant’s spouse has a university degree from the U.S. and has no guarantee of having the same opportunity in a foreign country to use it. They may be required to attend additional schooling or comply with licensing requirements which may be very difficult if the spouse only speaks English. If the applicant’s spouse is currently in school, they may be unable to transfer to continue their degree or be unable to get financial aid. If the U.S. citizen or LPR spouse is a female, they may not have as many or any opportunities to work or get additional education in certain foreign countries. The same applies if you have children in school, especially if they are in special education or after school programs.
- Dangerous country conditions. If your city and state of origin are in a particularly dangerous area, and this is the only place you can reasonably relocate, include evidence of the danger with news and web articles. If neighbors or family back in your home country have suffered due to uncontrolled violence and criminal activity, include this in the form of personal stories, articles, photos, or police reports. Even areas of extreme poverty can be used to show how much your family would suffer if you were to have to live there. Is the only place available for you to stay in your country of origin a home without plumbing? Is there no electricity? Is access to medical assistance nearly impossible to get to? Include photos of where you live now and where you would have to live in the foreign country to prove why you and your family would suffer living there.
Are you or someone you know thinking about filing for their immigrant visa or green card? Has a friend or relative been denied and told they need a waiver? Talk to an experienced attorney to discuss your situation and help you file the strongest case possible. Contact my office today at (210) 320-5633 to set up a consultation and get a professional assessment of your case.