Being denied a green card can create a very stressful time for people looking to make a long-term home in the United States. There may be people depending on you financially and a community that has come to count on your presence personally. That’s to say nothing of the chaos anyone experiences when they aren’t sure where their home is going to be.
The good news is that Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act makes provisions for appeal and to have the reasons for the denial of your application effectively waived. A good immigration lawyer can advise you on what’s needed to get a waiver of inadmissibility approved.
The I-601 form is the starting point for getting a waiver of admissibility approved, but it will take more than that. Depending on the reasons for the original denial, additional documentation may be required to prove your case is one where denial should be waived.
Why Was the Green Card Denied?
There are several reasons the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) might deny a green card application. One of them is health. A contagious disease–particularly in these times when the COVID-19 pandemic is fresh in everyone’s minds–can be the basis for a denial.
The USCIS may also consider whether an applicant is likely to draw heavily on government social services. Someone deemed more likely to require public welfare is less likely to see their application approved.
Conviction of a crime is another reason that can result in denial of a green card. Or if the U.S. government deems someone a security risk, their green card application can be denied.
The circumstances under which an applicant is currently living in the United States can also play a role. A person who does not have proper documentation for their current status is going to have a harder time making the case for the green card, which amounts to an upgrade. A person who has been previously deported faces obstacles to getting their green card application approved.
How To Get the I-601 Waiver
The waiver of inadmissibility amounts to the USCIS agreeing to overlook whatever the reason was for their denial. A common reason immigration officials might agree to do this is that extreme hardship would be caused by a denial.
It is important to note that the hardship of the applicant themselves is not under consideration. A waiver based on extreme hardship is based on how your absence would affect family that may rely on you.
Extreme hardship doesn’t have hard and fast guidelines. That gives discretion to the USCIS officer that hears your case. It also means that your choice of a lawyer becomes even more important. It’s important the attorney leverages the discretion that the immigration official has and point it to your benefit.
That means documentation. Are you caring for your elderly mother? Financial documents that can establish this relationship are necessary to make this case. Are there minor siblings that might end up in the foster care system without your presence?
With cases like this, your lawyer can point out to the USCIS that if you’re not in the United States, the government will likely end up responsible for your mother via the public welfare system. And that a burdened foster care system will get new additions with your siblings.
In short, with extreme hardship, the job of the attorney is to show immigration officials that no one wins if you are forced to leave the United States.
Cases involving a criminal past will depend on how far in the past any transgressions against the law are, along with their seriousness. Persons guilty of crimes such as prostitution or possession of marijuana in quantities less than 30 grams are more likely to get a sympathetic hearing. If 15 years or more have passed since the violation, a case for the waiver can be made on the grounds of rehabilitation.
Please note, however, that by law, the USCIS cannot grant a waiver of inadmissibility in cases where the crime was murder, torture, or an aggravated felony.
Immigration law affects families and helping families is a driving motivation behind the founding of Smith Law Offices, LLC. We are founded by a husband-and-wife team, and we work hard every day to provide our clients with representation that brings deep legal knowledge, intelligent strategic savvy, and personalized human compassion. If you need help with your immigration waiver, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone call us at (636) 400-1177. Or just drop us a note here online, so we can set up your initial consultation.