I-602 Waiver for Refugees and Asylees

What Is an I-602 Waiver?

i-601 waiver

Under Section 209(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, refugees and asylum seekers who were previously found inadmissible may be able to achieve lawful permanent resident status. Asylum seekers and refugees who have been found inadmissible may be able to achieve lawful permanent residence status or avoid removal proceedings with this waiver. Those who file Form I-602 may do so on the grounds of “humanitarian reasons, national interest, or family unity,” according to USCIS. It is imperative that you work with an experienced immigration attorney for your case.

Form I-602 differs from Form I-601 in a very specific way, which is why many people confuse the two forms. While Form I-602 waives inadmissibility grounds for those seeking asylum or refugee status, Form I-601 applies to those who are already refugees or asylees. Additionally, 601 waives inadmissibility for reasons not involving refugee or asylum status. Form 602 applies specifically to those who know they are inadmissible and seeking asylum or refugee status.

Immigration cases such as these are highly complex, and even a simple mistake could threaten your ability to be with your family members. At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, our Phoenix immigration lawyers have extensive experience representing immigrants and their families with many immigration services and cases. We will ensure that you correctly file all of your paperwork to have the best possible chance of success with your case. To schedule a free consultation with us, please call our office at 602-910-4040 today.

Who Qualifies for a Waiver of Inadmissibility?

i-601 form

Potential immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers may be declared inadmissible for many reasons. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) outlines these inadmissibility grounds as general categories that include more specific reasons. The categories under which someone may be found inadmissible include the following.

  • Health conditions
  • Criminal convictions
  • National security concerns
  • Likelihood of becoming a public charge
  • Fraud or misrepresentation on previously filed immigration documents
  • Prior removal proceedings or unlawful presence
  • Lack of labor certification
  • Miscellaneous (including smuggling, unlawful voters, those who entered the country illegally, failing to attend immigration or removal hearings in immigration court, abusing a student visa, or practicing polygamy)

Regarding Form I-602, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services states that you can submit a waiver of inadmissibility along with your refugee or asylum application. However, the reasons for the waiver must be of national interest, for humanitarian reasons, or for family unity.

What Grounds of Inadmissibility Do Not Apply to Refugees and Asylees?

Refugees and asylum seekers can file a waiver of inadmissibility grounds for many reasons, but not all grounds may be waived through I-602. The following inadmissible reasons do not apply to an asylee or refugee for waiver consideration.

  • Public charge rule
  • Lack of labor certification
  • Lack of immigration documentation requirements

What Grounds of Inadmissibility Can Be Waived Through I-602?

Luckily, asylum seekers and refugees may file Form I-602 to waive many other grounds of inadmissibility under the INA, as long as they are waived for humanitarian reasons, family unity, or national interest. These applicable inadmissibility grounds include the following.

  • National security reasons
  • Illegal entry and other immigration violations
  • Previous misdemeanor or felony conviction
  • Aggravated felonies
  • Health-related reasons
  • Status as previously-removed immigrants
  • Ineligibility for citizenship
  • Other miscellaneous reasons outlined in the INA

Notably, individuals submitting these waivers are not required to show extreme hardship as other waivers might.

What Grounds of Inadmissibility Cannot Be Waived Through I-602?

In general, an asylee or refugee may request a waiver of inadmissibility grounds for any of the above reasons. However, Section 212 of the INA outlines specific grounds that cannot be waived with Form I-602.

  • Participation in terrorist activities
  • Trafficking controlled substances
  • Sabotage, espionage, illegal exports, or unlawfully opposing the United States government
  • Participation in Nazi genocide or persecution
  • Having an adverse impact on foreign policy

As we stated before, these cases are very complicated. The immigration officer handling your Form I-602 application may send your case to a USCIS international field office for review if necessary. Our compassionate immigration lawyers will work hard to build a strong case for your admission to the country. Afterward, we will also counsel you on your adjustment of status filing.

How Long Does a Waiver of Inadmissibility Take?

This is a difficult question to answer, as every case is unique. It may also depend on which USCIS office you must submit your application to. However, we estimate the process may take at least 12 months or more. The best way to get an idea of how long your case will take is to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer in your area. Our team is available day and night, and we have the knowledge and experience you need for your case.

Does an I-602 Applicant Have to Prove Extreme Hardship?

No. Those filing Form I-601 must prove extreme hardship, but those filing Form I-602 do not have this requirement. There are many differences between the two waivers, which often confuse filers. Working with an immigration lawyer while filling out and filing your forms is extremely helpful, as we know exactly what it takes for you to qualify.

Does an I-602 Waiver Apply Differently to Asylees and Refugees?

No. Both asylees and refugees may submit Form I-602 to apply for a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility. If you wish to submit this waiver, our attorneys can ensure that everything is done right the first time. We will share our filing tips with you, work with you as you fill out the form, and represent your interests throughout the application process.

You will need a lot of information to fill out your waiver properly. Some examples include your A-number, available contact information, biographical information, and more. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible to give yourself the best possible chance of success.

Can You Appeal an I-602 Waiver Denial?


If you or your family member have previously submitted Form I-602 and been denied, you can file again. At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we see countless cases where inexperienced attorneys gave inadequate legal advice to immigrants, who ultimately suffered the consequences. If the same USCIS office you submitted your form to has denied it, our attorneys may be able to help you.

While you cannot appeal the decision, you may be able to renew your application or reapply with the USCIS office.

Contact a Phoenix Immigration Attorney with Ybarra Maldonado Law Group Today

At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we are committed to protecting the rights of immigrants and their family members. We believe that migration is a human right, and we will give you the platform you need to fight for that right. If you are an asylum seeker or refugee who has been found inadmissible by USCIS, you may be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility. To learn more about your rights and legal options, schedule a free consultation with us. Call today at 602-910-4040 or fill out our online intake form.


Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado, Esq.

Founder & Principal Attorney
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Brett Turley, Esq.

Senior Criminal Defense Associate Attorney
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Zachary William Rivera Weiss

Immigration Attorney
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