USCIS Modifies Filing Procedures and Documentation Requirements for Specific Affirmative Asylum Applications Using Form I-589

As of today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented changes to the filing location for certain affirmative asylum applications submitted by mail. This alteration is expected to streamline asylum processing and enhance adjudication efficiency by transitioning to a digital filing system. Going forward, applicants are required to mail their Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, to the lockbox with jurisdiction over their place of residence, instead of the service center.

Refer to the “Where to File” section of the Form I-589 webpage to determine the appropriate filing location for your application. If filing by mail, ensure that you file at the designated lockbox location to guarantee the timely receipt of your application. Nevertheless, if you submit Form I-589 to a service center, it will be accepted until this change is formalized through a Federal Register notice.

Applicants who submit a properly filed Form I-589 to a lockbox will receive two notices. The initial notice will confirm that the lockbox has received and forwarded the Form I-589 to USCIS. Subsequently, upon USCIS acceptance of the application, a standard Form I-589 receipt notice will be issued. Both notices will feature the same receipt date, used for determining eligibility for employment authorization based on a pending asylum application and for adhering to the one-year filing deadline.

The following categories of affirmative asylum applicants must continue to mail their asylum application directly to the Asylum Vetting Center, following the instructions on the Form I-589 page:

  • Loss of Derivative Status After Asylum Approval but Before Adjustment of Status (Nunc Pro Tunc)
  • Loss of Derivative Status After Initial Filing but Before Final Decision
  • Simultaneous Filing as a Principal Applicant and a Derivative Applicant
  • Previously Issued a Final Action by USCIS on a Form I-589
  • Previously in Immigration Court Proceedings

Online filing is also available and encouraged for affirmative asylum applicants who are not in immigration court proceedings and who do not have to submit their application to the Asylum Vetting Center, as indicated above.

To prevent processing delays, carefully review the “Where to File” and “Special Instructions” sections of the Form I-589 page before submitting your application.

Updated Form and Instructions

A new edition of Form I-589, dated 03/01/23, has been published. Starting July 31, 2023, only the 03/01/23 edition of the form will be accepted. Until then, the 10/12/22 edition of Form I-589 will continue to be accepted.

Effective immediately, applicants submitting Form I-589 no longer need to include a passport-style photo, multiple copies of the form, or multiple copies of the supporting documentation. Refer to the Instructions for Form I-589 (PDF, 143.49 KB) for more information.

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