Successful I-601 Despite Living on Disability Benefits

Successful I-601 Despite Living on Disability Benefits

  • Applicant: Mrs. Lema
  • Nationality: Philippines
  • Case Type: I-601A, Unlawful Presence Waiver
  • Special Factors:
    1. Prior entry on K-1 nonimmigrant visa to abusive fiancé
    2. overstayed and then married current spouse
    3. Spouse is primary guardian of mentally disabled nephew
    4. Spouse current lives on disability benefits


Mrs. Lema had accrued 2 years of unlawful presence in the United States by overstaying the term of her non-immigrant K-1 visa. Mrs. Lema had been married to American-born Mr. Lema for 2 years, and they had one child together. Mr. Lema is the primary guardian and caretaker of his 20-year-old mentally disabled nephew, as his mother passed away. Furthermore, Mr. Lema was living off of disability benefits, and had been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent and Severe Psychotic Features and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Diabetes, Hypercholesterolemia, Hypertension and severe back pain.


In order to best demonstrate Mr. Lema’s hardship, we held a strategy session to discuss the varying factors in his case. Upon doing so, we discovered that Mr. Lema’s current income from disability benefits was barely enough to support the current living situation for his family, much less all of the future expected expenses related to Mr. and Mrs. Lema’s growing newborn. By assisting Mr. Lema in compiling his monthly expenses, budget, and other documentation, we were able to prove that without Mrs. Lema, Mr. Lema would struggle to care for the newborn alone while looking for employment; and if Mr. Lema relocated to the Philippines, he would lose his only source of income and likely be unable to find a job.

Furthermore, we were able to assist Mr. Lema in proving his family and medical hardship, as well as the dangers posed for Mr. and Mrs. Lema if they relocated to Mindanao, which was reported by the U.S. government and Human Rights Watch to have violent and dangerous conditions at the time.


Our firm was able to assist Mr. and Mrs. Lema in demonstrating that Mr. Lema would suffer extreme hardship if his wife was not able to remain in the United States and his wife’s waiver was accepted and approved within 5 months.

*Name has been changed to protect client identity

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