03 Mar I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver Granted by USCIS Philadelphia District Office
Our Philadelphia immigration lawyers recently secured approval of a Form I-601 waiver for a citizen of Georgia due to the extreme hardship his U.S. Citizen wife would suffer if his waiver were denied and he were removed from the United States. Thanks to Getson & Schatz’s diligent research and preparation, our clients will remain together in the United States.
Our clients met in 2003 after the wife entered the United States and applied for asylum, as she feared returning to her country of citizenship, Belarus, based on her political opinion. The wife’s mental health deteriorated during the three years it took to resolve her asylum application due to her intense fear and dread of being forced to return to Belarus and abandon the life that she had started in the United States. During this time, the wife met and married another man, but the future spouses remained friends, spoke often, and the husband proved to be a valuable source of support as his wife’s first marriage fell apart. The dissolution of the wife’s first marriage also caused her severe mental anguish, but in this anguish she found essential support in her current husband that led to the two falling in love. The wife separated from her first husband and immediately started a relationship with her current husband, and our clients were eventually married in 2011. By the time the wife filed a Form I-130 Petition for her husband she was a U.S. citizen, and USCIS approved the petition filed on his behalf shortly thereafter. During this process, the husband failed to disclose that he had a previous marriage, which led USCIS to deny the husband’s Form I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status based on his having tried to procure an immigration benefit through fraud or willful misrepresentation of a material fact – i.e. the failure to disclose the prior marriage.
However, USCIS indicated that the husband may be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility, and our clients hired our firm to assist with the I-601 application. Our Philadelphia immigration lawyers began compiling evidence that the husband was, in fact, eligible for such a waiver based on the extreme hardship his removal would cause his U.S. Citizen wife whether he were removed from the United States or whether she relocated to Georgia to remain with him. This “extreme hardship” standard is a high threshold that the I-601 applicant must meet, and our firm dedicated considerable time and energy towards helping the wife avoid that result by keeping them together in the United States.
One of the principal bases of the wife’s hardship claim was her history of mental health problems. Her immigration proceedings, although ultimately successful, caused her severe mental anguish, and her prior marriage led her to become very wary of others. She had no one whom she could trust, but through the trying times of her immigration proceedings and failing marriage she learned she could trust her current husband. His love and support helped carry her through these tough times and continues to sustain her to this day. Further, without any family or other support system in the United States, the wife wholly depended on her husband to help her maintain her mental stability. The prospect of her husband’s removal from the United States rekindled the intense mental anguish she once suffered, and this anguish would have risen to the level extreme hardship if he had been removed or if she had returned to Georgia in order to remain together.
In addition to the extreme mental anguish the wife would have suffered if her husband had been denied an I-601 waiver and been removed from the country, she also had numerous physical health problems for which she required her husband’s presence, love, and support. She suffers from hypertension, a condition that requires those afflicted with the disease to maintain low-stress lifestyles. Her husband’s removal or her return to Georgia would have made her hypertension life threatening, and the medical care she needs is available in the United States but not in Georgia. Further, the wife developed rapid hearing loss at 32, when that condition generally strikes people between 50 and 60 years of age. She relies on her husband to communicate on her behalf, and relocating to Georgia to remain with him would be detrimental to her health as the couple plans on saving enough money for her to undergo a surgery unique to the United States and for which she requires specialized medical assistance that is only available in the United States. She could not relocate to Georgia, yet remaining in the United States without her husband was not an option due to her medical issues.
Lastly, the wife depended on the financial support of her husband, and his removal would have caused her to suffer financially to the point that it would constitute extreme hardship. Although employed, the wife does not have a stable employment situation and has juggled numerous part-time jobs. The wife also has considerable college debt and, as discussed above, has multiple mental and physical problems. She would not have been able to cover all of her expenses without his income, and her inability to do so would have constituted extreme hardship.
Our Philadelphia immigration lawyers collected statements from the husband and wife and documentary evidence, and performed background research to best present the plight the wife would face if the husband were removed from the United States. Thanks to Getson & Schatz, USCIS granted the husband’s I-601 waiver, thereby allowing him to adjust his status to that of U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident and for husband and wife to remain together in the United States.