U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has introduced the option to file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, online for specific affirmative asylum applicants. USCIS still accepts the latest paper version of this form by mail, providing flexibility to applicants.
Director of USCIS Ur M. Jaddou expressed the agency's commitment to expanding online filing, making operations more efficient and enhancing the user experience for all stakeholders. The introduction of online filing for affirmative asylum applications is part of USCIS's ongoing effort to reduce reliance on paper records and transition further into the digital realm.
Currently, the online filing option for Form I-589 is available exclusively for certain affirmative asylum applicants present in the United States. To file online, applicants should review the instructions on the USCIS website to determine if their application is eligible for electronic submission.
However, certain categories of affirmative asylum applicants are not eligible for online filing. These include individuals in immigration court or before the Board of Immigration Appeals, unaccompanied alien children in removal proceedings, and those who must file by mail as specified in the Special Instructions section of the Form I-589 webpage. Applicants with a pending Form I-589 submitted to USCIS are also ineligible for online filing.
In FY 2021, USCIS received over 8.8 million requests for immigration benefits and other services, including 61,150 Forms I-589. The agency has been actively promoting online filing since its launch in 2017, which led to a significant increase in electronic submissions. During FY 2021, more than 1.21 million applications, petitions, and requests were filed online, representing a 2.3% rise from the 1.18 million filed in FY 2020.
To file a Form I-589 online, applicants must create a USCIS online account, offering a secure and user-friendly method to submit forms and monitor the progress of their immigration requests. Setting up an account is free and comes with various features, including secure communication with USCIS and online responses to Requests for Evidence.
This expansion allows individuals to submit 13 USCIS forms online, offering added convenience. USCIS still accepts the latest paper versions of all forms by mail, providing flexibility for applicants.