Filing Form I-602, Waiver of Inadmissibility for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Filing Form I-602, Waiver of Inadmissibility for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

If you are trying to come to the United States as a refugee, seeking asylum, or applying for adjustment of status as a refugee or asylee, you may need to use Form I-602, Waiver of Inadmissibility. You may have been deemed “inadmissible” to stay in the United States because of health reasons, criminal activity, or other unlawful actions. The Form I-602 application is available to eligible applicants who request to “waive” their inadmissible status.

On this page, we’ll cover what Form I-602 is and how to fill it out when seeking a waiver of grounds of excludability.

What Is Form I-602 Waiver of Inadmissibility?

Form I-602 is explicitly intended for individuals seeking refugee or asylum status—or those who are already a refugee or asylee and are applying for permanent residency—who are considered inadmissible.

The form itself is an application to waive the inadmissible status, meaning that by applying, you are asking the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to forgive and forgo the reasons why you are considered inadmissible.

Form I-602 is a waiver for those who want inadmissibility waived on the grounds of:

  • Humanitarian reasons
  • Family unity
  • National interest

You should file this form if you can present a strong case and assure USCIS that you do indeed deserve your reasons of inadmissibility to be waived.

What Is the Difference Between Form I-602 and Form I-601?

Form I-601, Application by Refugee for Waiver of Inadmissibility Grounds, is only for refugees and asylees found inadmissible, typically for felonies or health reasons. The I-602 form is to waive inadmissibility for reasons such as humanitarianism, family unity, or national interest.

Form I-601 and Form I-601A are also waivers of inadmissibility, but they are for reasons outside of refugee and asylee status.

Form I-601A, specifically, waives the 3- or 10- year ban for the purpose of keeping families together. Form I-601 is for any other circumstances.

Form I-601A is sometimes mistakenly confused with an I-602A form. This is incorrect because Form I-602A does not exist for the purpose of immigration with USCIS.

All three waivers are nonimmigrant waivers of inadmissibility. However, your immigrant status and grounds of inadmissibility affect which waiver of grounds of excludability you need to submit to USCIS.

Do I Need an I-602 Waiver of Inadmissibility?

If you already know that you are inadmissible, then you should absolutely file Form I-602 along with your refugee, asylum, or derivative petition. But you may not need to do so right away. USCIS will make it clear and ask you to file Form I-602 if they find you inadmissible.

However, it’s important to consult your immigration attorney before sending in your immigration forms with or without Form I-602. You want to make sure that everything is in order so that you can enter the United States legally.

Who Can File Form I-602?

There are four categories of people who may file for Form I-602. You need to only fall into one of these categories to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility:

  1. You are applying to become a refugee in the United States and are currently abroad.
  2. You are already in the United States and are applying for derivative refugee status as a family member (spouse or child) of a refugee.
  3. You are an asylee in the United States who is currently applying for permanent residency.
  4. You are a refugee currently applying for permanent residency.

Only refugees and asylum seekers can apply for Form I-602. If you are not applying for refugee or asylum status—or lawful permanent residency with these visas—then you need to file Form I-601.

I-602 Instructions: How to File Form I-602

There are eight parts to Form I-602, Waiver of Inadmissibility. In this section, we’ll break down all eight parts so that you can fill out this form with confidence.

It’s important to work with an experienced immigration attorney so that the form is filled out correctly. If not, then you may not be granted refugee or asylum status, further affecting your position in the United States.

Form I-602 Filing Tips

Make sure that your Form I-602 is properly signed. USCIS does not accept any form that is not signed. You are able to send in photocopies, faxes, or scanned copies as long as the original handwritten signature is on it. You must also write legibly with black ink.

Part 1: Information About You

In Part 1 of your Form I-602, you will give your biographical information. This includes your:

  • Full legal name; if you used another name to come to the United States, start using your legal name—the one on any identifying documents—immediately
  • Birthplace
  • Mailing address
  • Physical address
  • Date of birth
  • Country of citizenship or nationality
  • Your current status in the United States as either a refugee or asylee; if you are unsure how to answer this question, ask your immigration attorney right away
  • A-number, which is eight or nine digits long and starts with the letter A; you will have an A number if you have been involved with USCIS in any form—if you received your A-number from removal proceedings (deportation), then contact your immigration attorney before filing your Form I-602
  • USCIS Online Account Number, if applicable

Part 2: Reasons for Inadmissibility

In this section, you will inform USCIS of why you are applying for a waiver of inadmissibility grounds. It’s important that you know exactly why you are applying, which is why we advise you to seek the input of an immigration attorney.

USCIS provides 39 different reasons on the current Form I-602. Examples of reasons for inadmissibility include:

  • Health-related reasons
  • Exemptions from vaccine requirements
  • Criminal offenses
  • Prostitution
  • Violation of certain visas
  • Previous removal from the United States
  • Evading military drafts
  • And more

In addition to stating the inadmissible acts/conditions, you will also need to describe the reason for the acts/conditions.

After stating the reason for inadmissibility, you will provide an Inadmissibility Statement, which is why you are requesting the waiver of inadmissibility.

There are three main reasons why you would apply for Form I-602:

  1. Humanitarian reasons
  2. Family unity
  3. Public interest

You will need to explain why your reason matters—as in why USCIS should waive your inadmissibility standing for whichever of the three waiver reasons applies in your case.

Again, consulting an immigration attorney will almost certainly be in your best interest. We have the experience and knowledge to build a strong case for why your inadmissibility should be waived.

Part 3: Applicants With Physical or Mental Disorders

Part 3 of Form I-602 is for applicants who are applying for this waiver on the basis of health-related factors. You need to state in this section that you do not pose a threat to the United States.

In this section, you will also sign the form and provide a medical professional’s statement as well as their address, contact information, and signature.

The purpose of this section—and the following section—is to demonstrate that you have taken the correct steps to get medical treatment once you arrive in the United States or if you are already in the U.S. Know that your form will be presented to the Centers for Disease Control just to verify the credibility of your physician.

Part 4: Applicants With Class A Tuberculosis

If you are an applicant with Class A Tuberculosis, you will fill out Part 4 of your Form I-602. You will also need to include a city or county health department’s statement saying they will provide you treatment and observation for your continued care.

Similar to Part 3, you will include the health department’s name, address, contact information, and a physical signature. Additionally, you will provide information about your medical care arrangement, as endorsed by your state’s health department. Note that this process will add time to your filing, so making timely arrangements with your local and state health department is necessary.

Part 5: Your Statement and Signature

Now, it’s time for you to finalize your statement. Make sure you review the penalties of Form I-602 to ensure you are signing within the parameters of the law. If you use an interpreter or preparer, you will put their name in this section as well.

Make sure you clearly sign and date your Form I-602 waiver of inadmissibility application. USCIS will not accept your application without it. Although this seems self-explanatory, there have been too many denied applications due to missing applicant signatures.

Parts 6 & 7: Additional Signatures

If you used a translator or a preparer, such as an immigration attorney, you will put their information in this section. They will also need to sign and date your Form I-602.

Part 8: Additional Information

If you need to put any other details from the previous sections into your I-602 form application, you will include those details in Part 8. You are also allowed to have more than one page of Part 8—by attaching additional sheets of paper—to write your answers.

Form I-602 Processing Time

You will most likely file your form at the same time as you petition for your refugee, asylee, or refugee/asylee relative petition(s), such as:

  • Form I-590
  • Form I-589
  • Form I-485
  • Form I-730

Once USCIS accepts your petition, they will either accept, deny, request more information, and/or request an interview. If USCIS accepts your application, then you will be eligible to apply for refugee or asylee status. Form I-602 processing times can vary.

Immigration Form I-602 Fee

There is no fee to file Form I-602, meaning the cost is $0.

Additional Information

If you are in a dangerous situation and have questions about refugee or asylum status, contact the experienced attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. today. You may be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) by filing Form I-821 if your place of residency is considered a TPS country.

Contact an Immigration Attorney Today

The immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. are here to help you with any and all questions you may have about your Form I-602 application, refugee status, or asylum status. We are here to provide a safe and legal path to the United States.

All too often, we see people applying for Form I-602 get rejected because of a small mistake on their application or not presenting enough evidence. But with help from your immigration attorney, you can be sure that your form is filled out correctly and that the evidence you provide is thorough.

We will build a strong case for you, making your safety and entry to the United States our priority. Call us at 312.444.1940 or fill out an online contact form today. We look forward to hearing from you!

We're looking forward to hearing from you!