US immigration law: What is an extreme hardship waiver?

It is possible for some undocumented immigrants who have been living in Louisiana to become legal residents. This is sometimes accomplished by voluntarily leaving the United States and then serving a reentry ban for a period of 10 years. Not everyone can safely or realistically leave the country for 10 years, though. An extreme hardship waiver can possibly help immigrants in this situation.

The extreme hardship waiver — also known as a 601 waiver — can help a person delay a deportation order while adjusting his or her immigration status. This waiver does not guarantee that a person will be able to gain permanent legal residence, though. There are also a number of reasons for which a person may not qualify for the 601 waiver, such as living undocumented in the United States for a period of longer than a year.

There are four levels of eligibility. A person’s whose loved one is suffering from a serious medical condition that prevents him or her from traveling abroad may qualify for a Level one argument. This would allow that individual to stay in the country to care for his or her loved one. Immigrants whose home country is actively at war also qualify for the Level 1 argument, which is the highest priority when applying for an extreme hardship waiver. Other qualify factors for lower-level arguments include an inability for relatives to pay debts or home countries that are facing major political upheavals.

There are limited options for undocumented immigrants to pursue an adjustment of status. Applying for a 601 hardship waiver could be an appropriate choice for a person who cannot leave the country due to extreme hardship. Determining whether this waiver or a different approach is better may not be easy, though. For undocumented immigrants living in Louisiana, speaking with an attorney who understands U.S. immigration law could be helpful.