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When an Experienced Immigration Attorney Matters!


I-601 Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (Extreme Hardship Waiver) & Other Waivers

Certain foreign nationals can be denied entry into the U.S. based on “grounds of excludability” or “grounds of inadmissibility.”  These two terms are used synonymously and refer to aliens that may be denied entry into the U.S. or cannot adjust his or her status to become permanent residents in the U.S. Inadmissibility and waivers that are available are governed under INA Section 212. Other foreign nationals are “deportable” aliens and are under different standards under INA Section 237.   To be deported from the U.S., the person must be an unlawful person (EWI), violates his or her immigration or non-immigrant status, or be convicted a crime involving moral turpitude (including immigration frauds) or an aggravated felony, as proscribed under IIRIRA.  However, an inadmissible alien need not have been convicted, but any information that shows the person may be a danger to the public or to the security of the U.S. may be excluded and is inadmissible. For more information regarding “inadmissibility” vs. “deportability,” please contact the Houston I-601 Waiver Attorneys and the Houston Extreme Hardship Lawyers at Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham

Who May File an I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver or Extreme Hardship Waiver?

Generally, all immigrant applicants, whether filing abroad with the U.S. Consular Office or in the U.S. with the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS), may file an Extreme Hardship Waiver.  Any K-1 Fiancé Visa Holder or K-3 Spouse Visa Holder may file for an I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver to overcome any K-Visa violations.  Foreign nationals who entered the country without inspection that belong to a group of people that qualify for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) may file for a I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver.  The same can be said for those that are qualified for the Nicaragua Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA).  In addition, Haitian refugees under the Haitian Refugee Fairness (HRIFA) who enter U.S. territorial waters and the U.S. may file an Extreme Hardship Waiver upon entering the U.S. along with their I-539 Application for asylum.  Further, victims of domestic violence who received an approved immigrant self-petition application may file for an extreme hardship waiver along with their application for adjustment of status (I-485) application.  Finally, juveniles under Special Immigrants may file for I-601 Extreme Hardship Waivers. 

The Houston Extreme Hardship Waiver Attorneys and the Houston I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver Lawyers will assist you in identifying whether you are a qualified person to file an I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver.  In addition, our North Houston Extreme Hardship Lawyers will prequalify you to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to show that your U.S. citizen and permanent resident family members will suffer extreme hardship if you were to be removed from the U.S.

What Are The Grounds of Inadmissibility in Which a Person Must File an Extreme Hardship Waiver?

An application for an I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver may be required for both non-immigrant and immigrant applicants.  Immigrant applicants who have a criminal background, health related issues, previous illegal entry into the U.S., immigration violations or removals, or association with certain groups, organizations, or with a totalitarian State may need to file an inadmissibility waiver with the U.S. Consular Office.  Such application would be filed after an I-130 Immigrant Petition or Alien Relative or an I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker by the USCIS and concurrent with the immigrant visa application with the U.S. Consular Office abroad.    

Non-immigrant applicants may need to file an I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver based on their previous illegal entry, violation of the Immigration & Naturalization Act (ACT), such as having over-stayed their visa status, or having been convicted of a minor crime.  The most common reason for filing an I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver by non-immigrants (B-1 and B-2 visitor visas, H-1B Temporary Professional Worker Visas, L-1A and L-1B intra-company transferees) is because of a 3-year or 10-year bar based on the applicant’s overstay of their non-immigrant visas while in the U.S. 

What Are The Requirements for Filing an Extreme Hardship Waiver?

Although both non-immigrant and immigrant applicants file the same I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver, either at the consular office, with the USCIS, or with the Immigration Judge, the standards for each are very different.  The requirements for an inadmissibility waiver for an immigrant application are much more difficult to prove than for non immigrant applications.  Be sure to contact the Houston Inadmissibility Waiver Attorneys and the Houston I-601 Waiver Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham if you feel that you may need to file an I-601 waiver.  Knowing what application to file, and at what stage, may be the difference between receiving an accepted application and a rejecting application. 

  1. Requirements for an I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver for an Immigrant Applicant

      • Health Related Issues – Chronic or specialized treatment requirements for a physical or mental condition for your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, children, or parents that are under your care or supervision and the availability and quality of such treatment in your home country. Whether a condition is chronic or acute, or long-or short-term.  If such illness is not chronic or life-threatening, anticipated duration, and the extent of such treatment. Also, consider the poor healthcare standards of the home country and the ability to which your immediate relatives may be cared for. 

      • Financial Considerations & Economic Conditions – If you are the primary contributor to the financial welfare of your U.S. citizen and permanent resident immediate relatives, consider the loss of opportunity or the inability for you to support your relatives in case you are removed from the U.S.  Also consider the loss due to the sale of your home or business or termination of a professional practice, the inability to recoup short-term losses, the cost of extraordinary needs such as special education or training for children; cost of care for family members. Further, consider the decline in standard of living for your relative should they be required to relocate with you to your home country.

      • Educational Factors – Consider the loss of opportunity for a higher standard of education for your relatives and for higher education, the lower quality or limited scope of education options, the disruption of current programs and curriculum; the need to learn a foreign language associated with the time loss in learning the second language to continue education, the unavailability of special requirements, such as job training programs or internships in specific fields.

      • Special Factors – Consider the cultural and language barrier for your spouse, children, and parents in moving to a new country.  Cultural barriers may include religious, ethnic customs, traditions, and assimilation to such new culture.  Language barriers may affect your relatives’ opportunity for education, training, and the ability to obtain a job.  Further, your family may have valid fears of persecution, physical harm, or injury based on your cultural or religious difference.  Your relatives may also face social, racial, or cultural ostracism, prejudice, and stigma.  Lastly, consider the ability or inability to which your relatives may have access to social and governmental support as they immigrate to a new country.

      • Personal Factors – Consider ties your family has to the community, including but not exclusive to close friends, relatives, associations, religious groups and institutions in the United States.  Consider the separation from spouse and/or children should you leave your family behind, the ages of and needs to the relatives; and the length of residency in the United States.

    • Requirements for an I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver for an Non-Immigrant Applicant

            • Security Issues – Consider the risk of harm to the general public and the security of the U.S. should you be admitted into the U.S.

            • Previous History and Violation – Consider the seriousness of the prior violation of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), including illegal entry, overstaying your visa, or a violation of the Act such as not marrying the intended K-1 fiancé sponsor.  Further consider your previous criminal violations, if any, (irrespective of whether such crime resulted in a conviction or plea bargain), and whether such violation is a serious crime that could be construed as an aggravated felony or a crime involving moral turpitude. 

            • The Nature of The Application – Consider the nature of the nonimmigrant application and the reasons why you are seeking to come into the U.S. or to stay in the U.S.  State the specific duration, if known, or special assignment in which you seek to accomplish during your stay. 


Each I-601 Inadmissibility and Extreme Hardship Waiver is unique in facts and circumstances.  Please consult with the Houston I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver Attorneys and the Houston I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver Lawyers at Veritas for more information and guidance.  If you are not sure whether an I-601 waiver is applicable, please feel free to contact our office at 713-517-6645. 


Immigration Law is a vast area of law and every situation is unique. You should NOT rely on the limited information on this general site in replacing a personal consultation with an experienced Houston Immigration Lawyer. There may be legal issues, depending on the facts and circumstances, in which you may not be aware. Please feel free to give us a call at 713-517-6645, or to contact us online, for more information. Call the Houston Immigration Attorneys and the Spring Houston Naturalization Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham today at 713-517-6645 or complete our Contact Form.


Serving Clients in Houston, West Houston, Southwest Houston, Sugar Land, Katy, Copperfield, Memorial, Spring, Northwest Houston, Northchase, Spring Cypress, Champion Forest, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Humble, Lake Houston, Midtown, Memorial, West Oaks, Royal Oaks, Clear Lake, League City, Westchase Business District, Harris County, and Galveston County.






Assisting Employers Effectively Employ And Sponsor Foreign National Professionals

General Background

Houston H-1B Temporary Professional Specialty Worker Visas
experience, or the financial capability to come to the U.S. immigration policy favors those that have skills, U.S. As such, the H-1B Specialty Worker Visas was designed to attract professional to come and work in the U.S. on a temporary basis.  Under H-1B, the employer, the petitioner, will file the visa application on the behalf of the foreign national who is the beneficiary. Currently, there are only 65,000 visas available for specialty workers to come to the U.S. and work in a professional capacity.  In addition to the 65,000 H-1B visas, and an additional 20,000 visas are available for applicants who obtained Master’s Degrees or higher from U.S. Institutions.  Even more favorably, qualified teachers and educators are exempt from the numerical limitation and may apply for H-1B throughout the year.


How Do I Qualify For An H-1B Visa?

To qualify under H-1B, the employer must offer the foreign employee a fulltime or part-time professional position.  The offer must contain the proposed salary that is within the prevailing wage, issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, based on the geographical region.  Further, the employment must be one that is qualified as a “specialty occupation.”  A "specialty occupation” means an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of an area of specialized knowledge, such as an accountant, teacher, software developer, information technology analyst, an engineer, or a scientist.  In addition, the person must also have a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent of a U.S. degree.  In some limited circumstances, The USCIS will accept experience in place of a bachelor degree.  The USCIS will replace every three years of experience for one year of education.  Therefore, if the IT professional, a network administrator, only has an associate degree in information technology, but has 6 or more years of experience, the person may qualify for an H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa. 

Please contact the Houston H-1B Visa Attorneys or the Sugar Land H-1B Specialty Worker Lawyers for information to determine if your degree is an equivalent to a U.S. bachelor degree. 


What Is The Application Process For H-1B Visas?

The employer must first offer a position to the potential employee.  Subsequently, the employer must prepares and file a petition on behalf of the foreign employee.  Because the USCIS often receives three times the number of applications over the number of visa available each year, the USCIS has created an electronic lottery system in which a computer randomly picks the applications. The employer can only file 1 H-1B application for each prospective employee.  The USCIS will reject and fine any employer who attempted to file multiple applications for the same employee.  However, the employee may have different applicants filed on their behalf by multiple employers. 

In October of 2000, the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21) was signed into law. AC21 includes a portability provision that allowed previous H-1B holders to start with a new employer upon filing and receiving a receipt from the USCIS for the new H-1B petition. This is sometimes refers to as an “H-1B Transfer.”  However, it is not a transfer at all but that the new application will use the existing H-1B visa that previously awarded to the beneficiary.  The law drastically changed the way the H-1B visa holders are regulated.  Before the enactments of AC21, individuals could not start the new position H-1B employer until the new H-1B petition was approved. For more information on H-1B Transfer, please contact the Houston H-1B Transfer Lawyers and the Spring H-1B Visa Attorneys at Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham

Unlike before, F-1 students who are graduating after April 1 of each year (the date in which the USCIS will start accepting H-1B applications for following fiscal year with the October 1 start date) may now file for a change of status application when filing for H-1B.  The student must indicate that the start date of the change of status is October 1 of that year.  As such, international students under F-1 visa status may remain in the U.S. while waiting for the decisions of USCIS.  If the person was not selected under the lottery system, or if the application is denied, then their status ends on the date of the notification and they must leave the U.S. to avoid overstaying their visas.  Those that were selected may remain in the U.S. and begin work on October 1. 


Advantages and Drawbacks For H-1B Visas?

One drawback of the H-1B Specialty Worker Visa is that the applicant’s spouse, H-4, cannot work.  On the other hand, unlike other non-immigrant visas, H-1B is considered a dual-purpose visa and does not have to show that the foreign national has the intent to depart the U.S.  In addition, because of the limited number of H-1B visa available annually, applicants are placed in a lottery system in which the computer will randomly select the application for review.  Although the number of applications is expected to be lower than previous years, the USCIS still expect that the number of H-1B applications to be higher than the number of visas available.  The USCIS will continue this lottery system until further notice.  Employers should be aware that the USCIS will reject the application, as well as issuing fines, if the employer files more than one application for any one potential employee.  The employee, however, may be sponsored by many employers on his own behalf; and thus, can have various applications by different employers. 

An initial H-1B has authorization to stay in the U.S. for 3 years and can be renewed once for a three-year period, totaling 6 years.  Within this period, the employer may file an I-140 immigrant petition for the employee. If the I-140 immigrant petition is approved and there employee has a pending adjustment of status application, the H-1B visa holder may file an annual extension to continue to work and remain in the U.S. 

Please see above.

Employers who wish to employ their H-1B on a permanent basis should file an immigrant petition for the employee as soon as applicable. It could take 3 to 4 years before the employer’s immigrant petition (I-140) is approved.  Once approved, the employees and their spouses may file for adjustment of status and obtain employment authorizations.



Immigration Law is a vast area of law and requires an immigration attorney with years of experience to understand the intricacies of the Immigration & Nationality Law. Please contact the Houston H-1B Visa Attorneys and the Houston H1-B Specialty Worker Visa Lawyers to ensure proper documentations to show that the foreign national does not have the presumed “immigrant intent.”  Please call the one of our Houston Immigration Attorneys and the Spring Texas H-1B and H-2B Visa Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham today at 713-517-6645 or complete our Contact Form. At Veritas, you will have the opportunity to work directly with a Houston Immigration Attorney or a Houston H-1B Visa Lawyer.  Our attorneys are accessible and will always return your calls within 24 hours.