Many green card applicants find their cases denied because of an unlawful action in their immigration history. In addition, some green card holders commit a crime or fraudulent act, where DHS can take away their green card. If married to a U.S. citizen or having U.S. parents or children, an applicant may be eligible for an extreme hardship waiver. If the waiver is denied, the applicant must leave the United States from anywhere from three years to life. In addition, approximately 70%-95% of these cases are denied. Therefore it is very important to prepare a strong waiver packet and to explore every possible hardship.
A waiver application must thoroughly explore and document each aspect of hardship: economic, physical, emotional, psychological, etc. Any negative effect of familial separation should be explained and documented, complete with letters from teachers, doctors, friends and family, country condition reports and other documentation. A strong waiver application takes careful preparation, will contain several types of evidence and take several months to complete. However, the alternative is long term separation from a family member or moving with the applicant to a foreign country.
An applicant should consult with a qualified immigration attorney before filing any paperwork with DHS. Based on the individual facts of your case, it may be advisable not to file any paperwork at all. In the alternative, there may be ways to "fix" the mistake, such that the applicant is no longer subject to the waiver and can obtain the green card after all.
Triggers Requiring an Extreme Hardship Waiver include:
- Unlawful entry to the United States
- Being in the United States for over 180 days without proper authorization
- Working without authorization in the United States (when applying via employment)
- Using fraudulent documents to obtain an immigration benefit
- Lying on an application at the U.S. Consulate of with DHS