The two main hardship standards in immigration law are “extreme hardship” and “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.” These are different standards, meaning that “extreme hardship” and “exceptional and extremely rare hardship” are variations on the standard of proof required when an individual must demonstrate hardship, i.e. the level of hardship required. “Extreme hardship” is often considered a prerequisite for waivers of inadmissibility. The difference is simply a matter of degree-“exceptional and extremely unusual” is a higher criterion. Here at Therapy by Angelina we specialize on the “extreme hardship” standard.
How extreme is extreme hardship?
The rejection of an application for some form of immigration relief will cause hardship for almost all applicants. By requiring “extreme hardship” for certain types of relief, the government is requiring a demonstration of the extent to which certain family members would suffer more than what was expected. Deportation regulations state that the hardship must exceed what is usually expected or usual in the context of suspension of deportation. Cases have also stressed that the hardship must exceed what is usually expected or typical. Even though “extreme hardship” must be beyond what is expected, it does not need to be unique.
Additionally, USCIS has issued guidance on hardship in waivers, effective December 5, 2016, which provides case law and examples, including examples of factual scenarios that, if present, will be viewed as strong indicators of extreme hardship by USCIS. This category of factors is called “Particularly Significant Factors.”
What is the difference between separation and relocation?
Applicants must show extreme hardship in two scenarios: if the waiver application is denied and the Qualifying Relative remains in the United States, separating from the applicant, or if the waiver application is denied and the Qualifying Relative relocates abroad with the applicant. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have clarified that the applicant need not prove hardship in both scenarios. Although the family impacts of both scenarios must be considered, whether relocation or separation, it is still advisable to argue that extreme hardship has been experienced in both situations.