The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented a change in the filing location for certain affirmative asylum applications submitted by mail. This change aims to enhance the efficiency of asylum processing by digitizing paper filings. Instead of sending your Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, to the service center, you should now mail it to the appropriate lockbox that has jurisdiction over your place of residence.
To determine the correct filing location, please refer to the “Where to File” section on the Form I-589 webpage. It is crucial to file your application at the designated lockbox location to ensure timely receipt. However, if you have already submitted Form I-589 to a service center, it will be accepted until this change is formalized through a Federal Register notice.
Applicants who send a properly filed Form I-589 to a lockbox will receive two notices. The first notice acknowledges the lockbox’s receipt and forwarding of the form to USCIS. After the application is accepted, a standard Form I-589 receipt notice will be issued. Both notices will bear the same receipt date, which is used to determine eligibility for employment authorization based on a pending asylum application and for meeting the one-year filing deadline.
Certain categories of affirmative asylum applicants must continue to mail their applications directly to the Asylum Vetting Center, following the instructions provided on the Form I-589 page. These categories include those who have experienced a loss of derivative status, simultaneous filing as principal and derivative applicants, previous final actions by USCIS, or previous involvement in immigration court proceedings.
For affirmative asylum applicants who are not in immigration court proceedings and are not required to submit their application to the Asylum Vetting Center, online filing is available and encouraged.
To avoid processing delays, carefully review the “Where to File” and “Special Instructions” sections on the Form I-589 page before submitting your application.
Additionally, a new edition of Form I-589 dated 03/01/23 has been published. From 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.
As of now, when submitting Form I-589, there is no longer a requirement to include a passport-style photo or provide multiple copies of the form and supporting documentation. Please refer to the Instructions for Form I-589 for further details.