Powell Immigration Law PC | Business, Employment and Family Immigration Law | California

Extreme Hardship Waivers of Inadmissibility (I-601 & I-601A)

A basic overview of the waiver is provided here. If you have further inquiries as to the application process or whether or not this is the correct route for your needs, please don't hesitate to contact us.


Immigrants who have been illegally living in the United States for more than one year may become legal residents after leaving the country and then serving a ten-year reentry ban. However, individuals claiming extreme hardship resulting from deportation or barred reentry may apply for what is commonly known as a "601 waiver" and avoid the ten-year ban.


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) bases its extreme hardship decision on the needs of the individual's immediate family members. Being granted a waiver of the restrictions associated with grounds of inadmissibility will assist in deferring deportation while an individual awaits an Adjustment of Status (AOS), however there is still no guarantee that he or she will be able to obtain permanent legal residence.

Statute offers no clear explanation of eligibility, but USCIS ranks four levels of arguments that might qualify an individual for the 601 waiver, with Level 1 being the strongest and Level 4 being the weakest. USCIS officials are typically looking for at least one Level 1 argument or several lower-level arguments if a waiver is to be granted. The levels are generally characterized as described below.

Level One

  • An immediate family member has a major medical issue and therefore cannot safely travel abroad, necessitating that the foreign national remain in the U.S. to care for the relative.
  • The foreign national's home country is in an active state of war.

Level Two

  • An immediate family member needs the foreign national's assistance due to a serious medical condition making moving abroad extremely difficult.
  • The individual's country is on the verge of a political upheaval.

Level Three

  • An immediate family member has a significant condition making it difficult to depart the U.S.
  • The individual's home country is extremely poor.

Level Four

  • An immediate family member would be unable to pay debts if forced to depart the U.S.
  • An immediate family member's parents are aging.


Back to Services - If you're having any trouble finding what you're looking for, please try the search bar or contact us.