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How to apply for a waiver of excludability - ‘Unlawful Presence’

An immigrant visa applicant who is ineligible for a visa under INA 212(a)(9)(B) “Unlawful Presence” may not apply for a waiver unless he or she is the spouse or son or daughter of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR).  A waiver under INA 212(a)(9)(B)(v) will be granted in such a case only if the applicant can establish that denial of his or her admission would result in extreme hardship for the U.S. citizen or LPR.

Documents required:

  • Complete form I-601 “Application for Waivers of grounds of excludability”
  • Proof of Marriage/parentage to U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful resident status from the spouse/child
  • Evidence if other family members are U.S. citizens or lawful residents.
  • Statements of ‘Extreme Hardship’ signed by the U.S. citizen/permanent resident spouse/children.
  • Supporting evidence of extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen/permanent resident spouse/children (see instructions below).

If the applicant has been in the United States after reaching the age of 14, the Embassy must also take :

  • A completed finger prints charts (Form FD-258) – There is an associated fee of $ 85 for taking the prints.
  • A completed form G-325, Biographic Information.
  • Application fee $ 545

Once you have all of the above mentioned documents, please call our office Sunday through Wednesday between 2:00 and 3:30 pm, or send an e mail to our immigrant visa mail box at: to schedule an appointment to file the I-601 with our office.  Once received and accepted by our office, a consular officer will prepare a memorandum and forward the completed I-601 to the regional U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service office in Athens Greece for their adjudication.  Please note that it may take CIS Athens several months to reach a decision on the waiver application.

How can one demonstrate Extreme Hardship?
A waiver of section 212(a)(6)(C)(i) is dependent first upon a showing that the bar imposes an extreme hardship on a qualifying family member. Congress provided this waiver but limited its application. By such limitation it is evident that it did not intend that a waiver be granted merely due to the fact that a qualifying relationship existed. The key term in the provision is “extreme” and thus only in cases of real actual or prospective injury to the United States national or lawful permanent resident will the bar be removed. Common results of the bar, such as separation, financial difficulties, etc., in themselves are insufficient to warrant approval of an application unless combined with much more extreme impacts. Matter of Ngai, 19 I & N Dec. 245. With this qualification in mind, furnish documentary evidence proving that failure to receive the waiver requested will result in extreme hardship to your US citizen spouse.

Please be very detailed as to how you meet the “extreme hardship” burden. Keep in mind that the hardship must be to your qualifying family member - not to you.

Extreme hardship can be demonstrated in many aspects of your spouse’s life such as

  • HEALTH - Ongoing or specialized treatment requirements for a physical or mental condition; availability and quality of such treatment in your 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 care 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 for grade; availability of special requirements, such as training programs or internships in specific fields.
  • PERSONAL CONSIDERATIONS - Close relatives in the United States and /or your country; separation from spouse/children; ages of involved parties; length of residence and community ties in the United States.
  • SPECIAL FACTORS - 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 situation which you feel may help you meet the burden of extreme hardship.