If you're applying for a green card (lawful permanent residence), you might come up against a hurdle if you are found to be inadmissible. That could stop your application cold; except that in some situations, a waiver of inadmissibility can be granted. In most cases, it's necessary that the intending immigrant have an existing family relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and can show that extreme hardship would result to that U.S. relative (or relatives) if the immigrant were denied admission to the United States.
Being inadmissible means that, despite meeting the basic eligibility requirements for the immigration benefit you're seeking, you have some characteristic that's on the list of found in § 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) or 8 U.S.C § 1182.
As mentioned, however, in certain situations, people who are inadmissible can apply for a waiver, usually using Form I-601. This basically asks U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to forgive the problem and grant the green card anyway.
Examples of things that might make an intending immigrant inadmissible include having committed certain crimes, committed fraud in order to obtain an immigration benefit (for example, used a B-2 visitor or tourist visa to enter the U.S. in order to get married), appearing likely to become a public charge (receive financial need-based government assistance), or having stayed in the U.S. unlawfully for more than six months (which leads to time bars on reentry of three or ten years).
Not all grounds of inadmissibility can be waived. You'll need to talk to a lawyer for an individual analysis and a description of the exact requirements.
Except in cases where an immigrant would face persecution upon departure from the United States, any hardship an immigrant would undergo if refused the green card is usually ignored by U.S. immigration law. The law basically aims to protect U.S. citizens and permanent residents from harm. That's why, in order to obtain a waiver, the immigrant will likely have to show a blood relationship with, plus the likelihood of extreme hardship faced by, one of the following people, who are either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents:
Although you might be thinking how awful it would be if, perhaps, your green card was denied and your family were separated and you had to pay for traveling back and forth and maintaining two separate homes, family separation and financial inconvenience alone will not likely be viewed as constituting extreme hardship. After all, numerous immigrants whose green cards or immigration benefits were denied face the very same thing.
Your hardship isn't considered extreme, however, unless it's something worse than faced by others in your shoes.
Think about issues such as whether your qualifying family members would face health or medical hardship if you were separated or if that person had to relocate to your home country, and about other effects of relocation such as language or cultural barriers, the likelihood of physical harm, loss of educational and job opportunities, and so forth.
Simply claiming, "My family will face extreme hardship!" isn't going to get you a waiver. Rather, you must provide documentary evidence that supports your claim and your reasons for seeking a waiver. For example, gather:
You will likely need legal assistance in filing for a waiver of a ground of inadmissibility based on extreme hardship. Contact an experienced immigration attorney.