Our office received approval of the I-601 Application of Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility for an Austrian client who was subject to a life-time bar from being admitted to the United States for conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude under INA Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I).
He was previously convicted of gross careless impairment of interests of creditors and withholding employees’ social security contributions in Austria. Both convictions were expunged from the record after he complied with the terms of his probation. His U.S. citizen wife filed the I-130 Petition for Immediate Relative on his behalf. He was denied at the U.S. embassy during his consular interview since foreign convictions that are expunged are still deemed relevant for U.S. immigration purposes.
He hired an attorney without specialized experience in waivers to prepare and submit a waiver application on his behalf. That waiver was denied. He subsequently contacted our office and engaged my services to re-submit the I-601 waiver on his behalf pursuant to INA 212(h)(1)(B) based on the extreme hardship that his US citizen wife (and son) would continue to suffer if he is not admitted to the U.S.
An I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility under INA 212(h)1()(B) requires a showing that the applicant’s U.S. citizen spouse, parent. son or daughter would suffer “extreme hardship” if the applicant is refused admission into the United States.
”Extreme hardship” has a special meaning under U.S. immigration law. The factors considered relevant in determining extreme hardship include:
- Health of the qualifying relative: ongoing or specialized treatment requirements for a physical or mental condition; availability and quality of such treatment in the foreign national’s country, anticipated duration of the treatment; whether a condition is chronic or acute, or long or short-term.
- Financial considerations: future employability; loss due to sale of home or business or termination of a professional practice; decline in standard of living; ability to recoup short-term losses; cost of extraordinary needs, such as special education or training for children; cost of caring for family members (i.e., elderly and infirm parents).
- Education: loss of opportunity for higher education; lower quality or limited scope of education options; disruption of current program; requirement to be educated in a foreign language or culture with ensuing loss of time in grade; availability of special requirements, such as training programs or internships in specific fields.
- Personal considerations: close relatives in the United States and/or the foreign national’s country; separation from spouse/children; ages of involved parties; length of residence and community ties in the United States.
- Special considerations: cultural, language, religious, and ethnic obstacles; valid fears of persecution, physical harm, or injury; social ostracism or stigma; access to social institutions or structures.
- Any other information that explains how your personal circumstances may qualify as imposing extreme hardship on a qualifying U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative.
Spouses must demonstrate that their relationship will suffer more than the normal hardship or financial inconvenience caused by family separation.
I prepared a comprehensive I-601 waiver application including a 15 page legal brief going over how the facts and circumstances of my clients’ situation met the legal standards used to define “extreme hardship.” I also discussed and presented evidence of the applicant’s rehabilitation, good moral character, and overall dedication as a husband and father who was integral to the care and well-being of his ill U.S. citizen wife and son.
This case was particularly difficult because the U.S. citizen wife was born and raised in Austria. She had spent her entire life in Austria and only recently re-located to the United States. We had to overcome the presumption that a U.S. citizen who was raised and spent her entire life in Austria, who speaks the local language as a native, was educated in the country, and has never resided in the United States, has adjusted to life in Austria and is not suffering extreme hardship.
Given the long history of the U.S. citizen wife in Austria, I made sure that the Austrian physicians’ letters conformed to the specific needs and requirements of the I-601 waiver. I also worked with a U.S. marriage & family therapist to corroborate the Major Depression the U.S. citizen wife suffers from and the consequences of immigration-caused separation upon her mental health and overall well-being. Additionally, I carefully analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the case and put together a table of exhibits that supported a showing of “extreme hardship.” The supporting documents included:
- Psychological evaluation, physicians’ letters, and medical records of the U.S. citizen wife confirming her Major Depression, difficulty sleeping, debilitating migraines, high blood pressure, Chronic Hepatitis C, and hypertension
- Proof of the U.S. citizen wife’s dire financial situation including her complete economic dependence on her Austrian husband
- Evidence of the Austrian husband’s continued employment in the United States with his current employer should he be admitted to the U.S., and the importance of this employment to meet the medical and vital needs of his U.S. citizen wife and son
- Evidence of the U.S. citizen’s wife’s reliance on the support and assistance of her parents, and how her parent’s re-location to the United States necessitated her re-location to the U.S.
- Affidavits demonstrating my client’s good moral character including a sworn affidavit from a Lieutenant-Colonel of the Austrian police department
As a result of our efforts, our client was approved for the I-601 Waiver and consequently, this family of mother, father, and son will be able to live together as a family in the United States.