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Understanding what extreme hardship means

 Posted on October 01, 2022 in naturalization & citizenship

If you are an immigrant looking into potential waivers, the extreme hardship waiver might be one available. It is applicable to people who may claim extreme hardship from deportation.

This waiver, also called the 601 waiver, exists to delay deportation and resist banishment from the country for up to 10 years.

What is extreme hardship?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services discuss what extreme hardship is. Unfortunately, the definition itself is intentionally left quite vague which means there is a lot of room for interpretation in the immigration courts.

The law defines four specific levels of hardship, though. This ranges from one to four, with four being the least severe. Not only should a person have at least one qualification from level one, but they should have several qualifications from other levels, too. Serious life situations or plausible fears about going back to a home country are ideal for extreme hardship.

Four levels of hardship

Level four tends to involve things like a person’s inability to pay a debt or their age. Level three includes troubles with sick family members or agricultural or economic issues back home. Level two involves pressing issues like a family member in need of medical care in the United States who needs personal care, too. It also includes potential political issues.

Level one includes anything that would make it unsafe for a person to go back to their country, such as war or being unable to travel back safely.

For a person to have a chance at getting an extreme hardship waiver, they should be in a situation that involves one or more of these factors, especially from level one.

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