An individual who seeks to file an I-751 petition must present that his/her case is very unique. Petitions based on exceptional hardship are very difficult to obtain approval; therefore, you will want to seek counsel from an experienced immigration attorney in order to evaluate whether filing under this ground is your best option, and if not, find your best solution.

According to the INA §216(c)(4), the Secretary of Homeland Security may remove the conditional basis of the permanent resident status of an immigrant if the immigrant demonstrates that extreme hardship would result if he/she is removed.

The statute is vague in its definition of what circumstances constitute “extreme hardship.” The general rule that follows is that the hardship the applicant faces must be significantly greater than the hardship experienced by other immigrants facing removal.

This means that every applicant’s petition is different and unique in itself, and undergoes examination on a case-by-case basis by the USCIS. Furthermore, the USCIS is granted the discretion whether to approve or deny the petitions under its strict scrutiny.

If you are considering to file a petition under this ground, you must remember that, in determining extreme hardship, the USCIS will consider circumstances occurring only during the period that you were admitted for permanent residence on a conditional basis.

Meaning, any evidence you supply to support your claim of hardship must be during your two-year conditional residency within the US. The USCIS may consider evidence outside this scope as supplemental, but cannot be the evidentiary basis on approving your petition. The following is a conclusive list of factors that may contribute to your case of exceptional hardship:

  • Age, Health;
  • Length of US residency;
  • Family ties in US, custody of US-born children;
  • Current political & economic conditions of returning country;
  • You and derivatives’ assimilation to returning country (language, culture, family ties);
  • Lack of necessary medical & educational resources;
  • Inability to find employment with your skill-set in returning country;
  • US-citizen family members are dependent on your income;
  • Likelihood of facing persecution or discrimination upon removal.

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