Facing deportation can be a scary time for you and your family. You may be wondering what options you have for defending yourself. Proof of “extreme hardship” can be helpful in many types of immigration relief. One of your options may be “a waiver of inadmissibility” You must also have a family member who is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.

How do you show “extreme hardship,” though? First, be aware that the extreme hardship must be on the family member, not the applicant. How the government looks at the factors may depend on whether the family member would stay in the U.S. without you, or leave with you.

Here are the five general categories of hardship used by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when considering a waiver of inadmissibility:

  1. Impact on economics. This must be something more than the regular, expected hardship of separation. For example, the family member may have to sell a business or end a professional practice.
  2. Impact on family ties. This may include the family member’s ties to relatives in the U.S. or in the country of relocation. The USCIS is most concerned with the need to care for children, disabled people or elderly adults.
  3. Condition in the country of relocation. The USCIS takes into account civil unrest, natural disasters, and whether the country has a Temporary Protected Status designation, to name a few.
  4. Health conditions. These may be physical or emotional conditions. For example, the family member may not get needed medical treatment in the country of relocation. Perhaps they suffered trauma as a refugee that would be made worse.
  5. Impact on social and cultural ties. If the family member is a witness in a legal proceeding, that may play a role. Other social factors include fear of discrimination based on religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

This is just a brief overview. The USCIS considers many other issues under these categories. In addition, the USCIS has named a few situations they consider “significant factors.” These include things such as asylum or refugee status, disability, military service or the need for care for your children.

As you can see, the USCIS considers many situations when looking at extreme hardship. Before you apply for your waiver of inadmissibility, make sure you know how these factors may apply to you.