I-601 Immigration Hardship Waiver

If it is determined that you or a family member is inadmissible in the United States, to become a permanent, legal U.S. resident, you may need an I-601 hardship waiver proving distress that would be caused by deportation. Polaris Counseling can assist you with a hardship exemption evaluation through I-601.

An I-601 waiver applies to immigrants who have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 180 days and, for this reason, would normally be required to leave the country for three to 10 years to adjust their immigration status.

If approved, a hardship waiver allows immigrants to remain with family in the U.S. while gaining legal residency. The hardship exemption achieves this by establishing that legal-resident family members would suffer extreme hardship if non-legal immigrants are forced to return to their native country and immediate legal family members (spouse, parents, children) have to move with them.

Case law has shown that family separation and financial difficulty alone are not enough to establish extreme hardship; additional factors are usually considered with those arguments. Some of those factors may include:

  • the non-legal immigrant is needed in the U.S. to assist with a legal-resident family member’s mental or physical health
  • a legal-resident child’s education would be affected by deportation
  • the immigrant has had a lengthy presence in the U.S. and has made noteworthy contributions to the U.S. community

Any claim of difficulty without U.S. residence must be proven by evidence. For example, if the immigrant or a family member suffers from anxiety or depression because of immigration status, a formal mental health diagnosis may help in a hardship exemption request based on deportation-related distress. Current participation in counseling or therapy will likewise be useful in proving psychological difficulties. Health insurance may cover part of the counseling or therapy sessions.

The best way to understand and potentially qualify for an I-601 hardship waiver is to consult with Polaris Counseling’s immigration counselor. For more information about the I-601 hardship waiver as well as a mental health diagnosis, please contact Dr. Rosa Salas at (407) 986-0123.

Polaris Counseling also offers assistance with the I-601 hardship exemption and a mental health diagnosis in Spanish.