It Is Required to Demonstrate the Citizen or Legal Resident Will Undergo Hardship if the Foreign National Is Not Allowed to Reside in This Country

The second thing is you have to show that the qualifying relative would have a hardship if you were not allowed to reenter the United States. If the ground of inadmissibility was not taken away so that you could enter the United States, then it’s not that you, Mr. Immigrant, would have a hard time but that this qualifying relative would have a hardship.

The hardship language is in some of the waivers. It is just defined as a hardship, but in some of the other waivers, it’s defined as an extreme and unusual hardship. Now let me explain that.

Extreme and Unusual Hardship

Anybody who’s separated from a family member in a nuclear family, parents-children-type of relationship, is going to have a hardship. Think of normal situations: a long-distance truck driver who doesn’t get back home for two or three days; during the two, three days he’s away from home, it’s hard on his family.

A soldier’s family in the United States, while he or she gets deployed to Iraq for months at a time, or a sailor’s out sailing the seas. There are normal hardships for any family where they are temporarily separated.

The mere fact that one person’s been deported or one person would have to live in another country and the other person would stay in the United States is not enough of a hardship. It has to be extreme and unusual.

Proving Extreme and Unusual Hardship Can Entail Establishing a Medical Care Need and Financial Considerations

What kinds of factors are examined? There’s a list but it is not all-inclusive.  Most of the categories we look at start with medical situations. If the U.S. citizen or permanent resident qualifying relative has medical needs and needs their spouse or their son to come to the United States to take care of them, that is different than just a long-haul trucker who can’t get back home for a couple of days. That’s a higher hardship than just, ‘I miss him and I want to be with him.’

There are also financial considerations. If the qualifying relative is unable to work or is a child, you can’t exactly put a six-year-old to work in this country, and so if the waiver is to get their parent in the United States so they can be supported and not have to go on welfare, then that’s what we’d look at for a qualifying hardship.

An Attorney’s Service Can Be Invaluable in Helping Determine What Issue Can Prove Hardship

What I like to explain to people is in my firm, we will look at absolutely every single angle we can to try and get someone a waiver. There are medical issues, there are financial issues, and there are emotional issues. There are religious issues, there are social issues, and there are psychological issues. The list can basically be endless.

How I describe it is in order to win these cases, in order to get that waiver, you don’t just fill out a form. There is a form. It’s two, three pages. If you fill out the form and send it off, you will not get your waiver.

It Is Important to Support Applications with the Right Documentary Evidence

You fill out a form, you write a brief, you include documentary evidence, and by the time it gets sent off, it looks like an encyclopedia. That’s how we do waivers and that’s how you get successful at doing waivers.

For instance, we had a case involving a husband and wife. They had young kids and she needed to be a stay-at-home mom because the children were very young. That’s still somewhat the realm of normal, because there are lots of women that are single parents and struggle and do what they can. They had four kids under the age of 6, two who are twins, and the twins had medical needs.

This Evidence Can Include Testimonials from Teachers and Business Associates as Well as Medical Documentation

Now we’re kicking it up a notch. In addition to all the medical evidence that was submitted in that case, and there were social studies done about having two kids is not the same as having a set of twins, and there was evidence showing that young children with medical issues is not the same as, say, a teenager with medical issues as far as the impact that it had on the adult U.S. citizen.

We had lots of letters from friends, families, pastors, business associates, all the teachers of all the individual children, and the doctor.

When that waiver package left our office, it looked and read like a telenovela. You have to tell a soap opera. You have to tell a story that describes this hardship. You cannot just fill out a form, send it in and go, ‘Well, I really miss him, so can he please live here so I can be with him?’ No, that’s not how you get a waiver.

Grandparents Are Not Considered Qualifying Relatives

Interviewer: Are grandparents considered qualifying relatives?

Jeanne Morales: They’re not a qualifying relative. However, what I tell people is sometimes to give us all the information and we’ll try and figure out a way getting it in, even though being a grandparent is not classified as a qualifying relative.

Let’s make it a simpler case, a husband-wife, the wife needs her husband to be admitted into the United States and, say, she only has one child Say the child is a teenager and could stay at home alone. In other words, it’s not as hard as the last scenario I gave you.

Let’s say in addition to the teenager, she’s also caring for an elderly mother, and she has no siblings with which to care for that elderly mother. Now the elderly mother-in-law’s relationship to the immigrant is not a qualifying relative, but it also shows the position that the qualifying relative is in.

We always talk about two directions on a waiver: why you need the family member to come to the United States and why you can’t leave the United States and go wait out the time with the individual in another country.

In this theoretical scenario, we’ve got a woman who, while it might not be a huge hardship for her and her teenager to travel to the foreign country with her spouse in order for him to re-enter the country, it would become a hardship. This is because she can’t leave her mom because she’s the only one who can care for her.