Starting next month (December 5, 2017), USCIS will begin implementing new policy guidance regarding extreme hardship waivers and how they should be adjudicated. The new instructions for officers, as laid out in the updated USCIS Policy Manual, is a tremendous resource for applicants looking to understand what they need to prove to have a successful hardship case. One section of the guidelines refer to "Particularly Significant Factors," that the government has determined "often weigh heavily in support of finding extreme hardship." It is important to note that the presence of one or more of these factors do not necessarily guarantee that a hardship waiver will be approved. In other words, they do not create a presumption of hardship. Nevertheless, if the applicant can demonstrate, through reliable evidence, that one or more of these factors pertain to the case, the officer should give strong consideration to them.
· Qualifying Relative Previously Granted Iraqi or Afgan Special Immigrant Status, T Nonimmigrant Status, or Asylum or Refugee Status
· Qualifying Relative or Related Family Member's Disability
· Qualifying Relative's Military Service
· DOS Travel Warnings
· Substantial Displacement of Care of Applicant's Children
Although the first factor may not be as common, the other four may certainly apply to a large swath of people. Additionally, USCIS notes that the above factors are not exhaustive. There may be other facts or circumstances that officers should also weigh heavily during the review process, and they may vary significantly from what is already referenced. The examples are merely illustrative of what has already been found to successfully undergird situations where extreme hardship has been found. If one or more of these circumstances exist, they should definitely be investigated and evaluated by an attorney who can determine its relative strength and how to prove it through credible evidence. These factors are critically important and proving them effectively can mean the difference between approval or denial.
The above is general information only. It is not intended to substitute for legal advice nor does it create an attorney client relationship. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney.