Overcoming the Obstacles with Waivers

Just because you have complications with your immigration or criminal history, it doesn’t mean that you can’t win your green card through marriage case! You can use waivers to overcome some immigration problems.

The process to get a waiver can be difficult and tricky to navigate. You should work with an experienced immigration attorney for your case. 

We can help you determine the best course of action for your situation; we can help you anticipate and deal with problems that may come up. We can help you stay with the people you love and build a new life in the United States.

If you are attempting to get your permanent resident card, you can be denied based on "Grounds of Inadmissibility". These grounds can be anything from a criminal history to time here undocumented to health concerns. If you know that you have grounds of inadmissibility, it's important to get good legal guidance and build a strategy for dealing with them.

The process to get a waiver is not easy. If a waiver can fix your situation, you don't just apply for it and get accepted. You must prove that there is extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen (the spouse) if you were to leave the United States and that you deserve discretion, meaning that you deserve to stay because you are a good person. And for a waiver for unlawful presence, you may be able to use two different processes - the traditional method or the provisional waiver program.

We highly recommend starting the free case review process with us to find out what options you qualify for. We always have a very in-depth conversation with every couple who hires us to create a customized waiver strategy. For now, here is an overview of the waiver process.

How To Get A Waiver

The first thing we look at proving is that the American citizen, ie. spouse, would experience extreme hardship if the immigrant were to be forced to leave the country. This sounds like it should be an easy thing to prove, but the legal definition makes it more difficult.

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The legal standard for what qualifies as extreme hardship is that your hardship goes above and beyond what would happen to any family, to any marriage where one of the spouses was deported and separated. The government says the fact that your marriage is going to break up and your kids are going to be traumatized and your life is going to be totally off track because you're separated is pretty much what we normally expect when someone is deported or can't fix their immigration situation. There's nothing special about that situation, and sadly enough, the U.S. government actually does deport people like that every day.

So the government doesn’t really care about those basic core hardships. They're looking for extreme hardship. That means that the family would suffer, or specifically the US citizen spouse would suffer a hardship that's above the normal hardship that would come from being separated from a spouse for 10 years.

Building a case for extreme hardship

We start with very in-depth conversations to determine what the best strategy is to build the case. We have to work within the current legal system to have the best chance of winning.

In our conversations with clients, we go into a lot of detail about their lives and try to figure out different things that we could possibly use for an extreme hardship argument. It's going to be a very personal argument for each particular client.

Just to be clear, the government doesn't care if the immigrant would suffer extreme hardship, at least, not for these particular types of waivers. They do care if the immigrant’s suffering and the citizen spouse's knowledge of that suffering would cause the citizen themselves to suffer extreme hardship. We basically have to always present the information in a way that always shows that it's the US citizen who is having the extreme hardship.

What can cause extreme hardship?

There are many factors that come into play, including medical issues, financial difficulties, language barriers, cultural issues, and more. The key to building a strong case is to plan ahead and be very thorough. A lot of times, even things that people might not think of as being an extreme hardship can be legally turned into an extreme hardship depending on how they are presented but it is important to be careful to never misrepresent the truth or lie.

Getting Favorable Discretion

Showing discretion means showing based on your history that you deserve to get a waiver. The immigration official makes a judgement call based on policies and their own experiences; they look at the positive and the negative factors of the case to decide whether it should be granted or not.

Discretion can be more difficult to show than extreme hardship because there is no set requirements and guidelines. Sometimes things that don't technically disqualify you from getting a green card can be very negative from a discretionary standpoint. Maybe the person has great extreme hardship and they qualify otherwise but they have three DUIs. It's going to be a lot harder for us to also convince the officer that the person really should receive the waiver and that they deserve it.

In cases like that, we work very hard to show that the person has rehabilitated their lives and that they are making lots of other good contributions to society. It's called balancing of equities. They will look at both the negatives and the positives when making their decision. If you deserve it, they say that they will exercise favorable discretion.