AAO Approves Extreme Hardship Waiver

An appeal of an extreme hardship waiver application was approved by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) after it was initially denied by the Field Office Director due to the applicant’s failure to demonstrate that his spouse would experience extreme hardship given his inadmissibility. The applicant, a citizen of the Gambia, was found to be inadmissable to the U.S. for having obtained a non-immigrant tourist visa through misrepresentation. On his nonimmigrant visa application, the applicant indicated that he was currently married and living with his spouse. Later, however, he admitted that though he was married, he and his wife had been legally separated for nearly 3 years with his wife living in Great Britain. By stating that he was married and living with his wife, the applicant led the embassy to believe that he had close family ties to his home country, showing that he had intentions to return once his visa expired, which resulted in the issuance of a tourist visa.

Because the applicant was found to be inadmissable, the burden fell on him to establish that a grant of a waiver of inadmissability was warranted. To do so, the applicant was required to show substantial evidence that his U.S. citizen spouse would suffer extreme hardship if the applicant’s waiver request was denied and he was deported. Such evidence included claims that the U.S. citizen spouse would experience medical, psychological, and financial difficulties without the applicant present. The applicant provided a record that contained consistent evidence indicating the spouse has suffered from traumatic events in her childhood, such as sexual abuse, physical injuries, neglect, and emotional abuse as well as evidence of the spouse’s abusive first marriage, which resulted in her psychological reliance on the applicant. The spouse also explained that she had two surgeries and that additional complications may occur in the future. Due to her medical condition, she had hard time paying for her treatment and infusions and relies on the applicant for financial assistance. The applicant additionally demonstrated that the spouse would experience extreme hardship upon relocation to the Gambia as that would entail severing her family ties with her children and parents, relinquishing her employment in the U.S., communication issues as English is not widely spoken in the applicant’s village, no knowledge of the Gambian culture, and insufficient educational facilities as well as clinics for her treatments and infusions in Gambia.

Due to the evidence provided, the AAO established that the extreme hardship that the applicant’s U.S. citizen spouse would suffer outweigh the negative factors, including the applicant’ misrepresentation as well as his period of unlawful status in the U.S. To read more about the AAO approval of this waiver, please [click here].