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Was Your Spouse Deemed Inadmissible?

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on May 16, 2019

Qualifying Relatives (QR) may be able to get hardship waivers when their foreign national spouses or other family members have been deemed inadmissible under U.S. immigration law. Spouses may be deemed to be inadmissible when certain health concerns, criminal activity including some nonviolent offenses, previous illegal entry into the U.S., dishonesty, or security concerns are at issue.Some people may face inadmissibility periods of three to ten years, while others may be banned for life. To qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility based on hardship, the hardship must be extreme.


When a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident marries a foreign national, the foreign spouse normally should be allowed to immigrate to the U.S. However, if the spouse has committed a disqualifying action in the past or has certain health concerns, he or she may be deemed inadmissible for a period of three years, ten years, or for life. People may face three-year bans for remaining in the U.S. illegally for more than 180 days. They may face 10-year bans if they have remained in the U.S. illegally for a year or longer. Spouses who are deemed inadmissible may petition for hardship waivers. When presenting their cases to immigration judges, applicants must show how their absence from the country will create extreme hardship for their spouses or other Qualifying Relatives. Waivers must not focus on the hardships applicants themselves might face.

What Is Extreme Hardship?

To qualify for a waiver of inadmissability, the petitioning spouse must show evidence of extreme hardship. Showing that the U.S. citizen or resident would be forced to live separately from his or her spouse during the inadmissibility period is not enough. The hardship must exceed what is typically expected with deportation.

This might include situations in which the U.S. citizen or resident spouse suffers from a medical condition or disability for which he or she would not be able to obtain adequate care in the foreign spouse’s country. Proving extreme hardship can be difficult, but it is necessary to obtain a hardship waiver of inadmissibility.