Written by attorney Elizabeth Rose Blandon

Provisional Waiver: Four Ways to Prove Extreme Hardship

In January 2013, the Department of Homeland Security announced a new process known as the provisional waiver. It helps foreigners who have been living without authorization in the United States to obtain residency, if they are the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Previously, a person would have to leave the country and be separated from their family for many years.

The provisional waiver application, if approved, minimizes the length of separation to just a few months. Importantly, only applicants with U.S. citizen spouses or parents are eligible for this waiver. In addition, the case depends on proving to Immigration that this U.S. citizen family member will suffer extreme hardship if the foreign national is removed. The following is a breakdown of ways to prove that extreme hardship.

Psychological Hardship: The family member should go see a licensed psychologist if they are experiencing feelings of anxiety and depression relating to the possibility of their loved one being deported. A credible report from a reputable doctor is critical evidence.

Medical Hardship, if applicable: If the family member suffers from any disease or condition, medical records can be extremely valuable. A letter from the physician indicating diagnosis and treatment will help Immigration see clearly why the family member desperately needs the foreigner in the United States.

Emotional Hardship: The truth is any family would suffer if they were separated from their loved ones. The key is to prove that this family member’s suffering would be extreme. Letters from friends and family, who know both the foreign national and the family member, would be helpful in demonstrating they would suffer emotional hardship.

Financial Hardship: If the foreigner’s income is critical to paying the family’s expenses, the foreigner must provide documents, including utility bills, mortgage or rent statements, insurance bills, cellular phone bills, and proof of income for both the family member AND the foreign national. A chart demonstrating how critical the foreigner’s income is to the survival of the family can be very persuasive.

Obtaining the right evidence is not easy. Being separated from loved ones even for just a few months is terrifying. However, if approved, the foreigner will be a lawful permanent resident on the day they return to the United States. They will no longer have to live in the shadows. That is worth it!

Although the author is a Board-certified immigration expert, this guide is intended as general information and not specific legal advice. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Schedule a consultation with an attorney to address individual concerns.

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