U.S. immigration law includes a number of waivers and benefits that require proof of “extreme hardship” or “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship”, usually to a qualifying relative. Over the years, the definition and interpretation of these terms has been variable and inconsistent. Adjudicators and the agency have struggled with these terms and their application to real-life applicants and their families.
In an effort to provide some clarity and consistency, USCIS has circulated for comment a draft of a new section of its Policy Manual focusing on “extreme hardship” and its application to specific situations. The draft memo is intended as a tool for adjudicators charged with weighing “extreme hardship” and provides guidelines, factors and tests to be applied when assessing eligibility for an immigration benefit or waiver.
The comment period for the policy memorandum ended on November 23, 2015. With input from stakeholders, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association, USCIS will evaluate the comments before issuing final guidance on standards for evaluating “extreme hardship.” For more information about USCIS’s Policy Guidelines on Extreme Hardships click here. For information on whether you or your relative qualify for an immigration benefit or waiver based on “extreme hardship”, contact us.