USCIS Publishes New Policy Manual on Hardship Waivers

USCIS has updated his policy manual on extreme hardship waivers (Form I-601 and 601A), which is effective 12/05/2016.  These waivers are used to circumvent the three and ten-year bars to reentry into the US.  For some foreign nationals, the only way for them to obtain legal permanent residency in the US is to depart, obtain an immigrant visa abroad at a US Consulate, and reenter with an immigrant visa.  However, most will incur the three or ten-year bar to reentry (Section 212(a)(9)(B) of INA) upon departure.  In order to be able to reenter within this period, they may file a waiver based on extreme hardship to a qualifying relative (for one such waiver, this would include a US citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or parent).

The manual clarifies that for “hardship to qualify as extreme, it must involve suffering or loss that is greater than the hardship that usually results from denials of admission.”  It also counts hardship based on the relocation of the qualifying relative to the country where the alien will reside if denied entry into the US.