Hardship

Although several court decisions have helped define “extreme hardship”, no precise standard or elements have been set.  Each case presents unique elements of hardship.  Extreme hardship is more than normal hardship experienced solely on account of separation. Put another way, normal hardship is what any couple would experience due to separation, extreme hardship is something unique to the particular case, and which rises above normal hardship.  

Hardship must be described in two scenarios:

(1) why the qualifying USC relative would suffer were the alien to be removed from the United States (deported); and

(2) why the qualifying USC relative would suffer if he chose to follow his spouse to a foreign country.

Proving extreme hardship can be difficult.  A claim of extreme hardship must be supported by a compelling argument. Compelling arguments often have medical or psychological elements wherein the qualifying relative would find it difficult to live by himself in the U.S. absent the help of his alien spouse. There are other arguments that can be made aside from medical issues, but the success of these depends heavily on the facts of the case.

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