USCIS Introduces Online Filing for Affirmative Asylum Applications

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the availability of online filing for Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, for certain affirmative asylum applicants. While USCIS continues to accept the latest paper version of the form by mail, this expansion of online filing aims to enhance efficiency and effectiveness for both the agency and stakeholders.

“The expansion of online filing is a priority for USCIS as we make our operations more efficient and effective for the agency and our stakeholders, applicants, petitioners, and requestors,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. “The option to file affirmative asylum applications online is part of USCIS’ ongoing move to minimize reliance on paper records and further transition to an electronic environment.”

Currently, the option to file an online Form I-589 is limited to certain affirmative asylum applicants physically present in the United States. Applicants can use their USCIS online account to initiate the affirmative asylum application process with USCIS.

  • To file online, applicants must first review the instructions on the USCIS website to determine whether their application is eligible for electronic submission.
  • Online filing using Form I-589 is not available for applicants who:
  • Are in proceedings in immigration court or before the Board of Immigration Appeals;
  • Are an unaccompanied alien child as defined in 6 U.S.C. § 279(g) and are in removal proceedings;

Fall into specific categories requiring filing by mail with the Asylum Vetting Center, as outlined in the Special Instructions section of the Form I-589 webpage; or

Have a pending Form I-589 with USCIS.

In FY 2021, USCIS received over 8.8 million requests for immigration benefits and other requests, including 61,150 Forms I-589. Since the introduction of online filing in 2017, the number of electronically filed forms has notably increased. In FY 2021, more than 1.21 million applications, petitions, and requests were filed online, reflecting a 2.3% increase from the 1.18 million filed in FY 2020.

To file an online Form I-589, individuals must create a USCIS online account, offering a secure and convenient method to submit forms and track the status of pending USCIS immigration requests. Setting up an account is free and provides various features, including secure communication with USCIS through an online inbox and the ability to respond online to Requests for Evidence.

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