Several days ago, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that starting on November 15th, 2022, affirmative asylum applicants may now file an online Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. According to the USCIS, expanding online filing is a goal for the agency as they strive to improve operations for both the agency and its stakeholders, including applicants, petitioners, and requestors. USCIS continues to strive toward reducing dependence on paper records and further transforming to an electronic environment.
Over 8.8 million petitions for immigration benefits and other requests, including 61,150 Forms I-589, were submitted to USCIS during fiscal year (FY) 2021. The aggregate number of forms filed electronically has dramatically grown since the introduction of online filing in 2017. Online applications, petitions, and requests totaled more than 1.21 million in FY 2021, a 2.3% increase over the 1.18 million submitted in FY 2020.
In order to file an online form, a person must first register for a USCIS online account. This account offers a quick and secure way to submit paperwork and follow the progress of a pending immigration request from the USCIS throughout the adjudication process. The creation of an account is free and comes with a number of benefits, such as the opportunity to contact USCIS regarding an application through a secure mailbox and reply to requests for evidence online. After this step, the petitioners may apply for the form online.