U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has changed the filing location and documentation requirements for certain affirmative asylum applications, and will soon release an updated Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.

New Filing Location Details

USCIS has changed the filing location for certain affirmative asylum applications submitted by mail. Applicants should now mail Form I-589 to the lockbox that has jurisdiction over their place of residence, instead of to the service center. If filing by mail, an applicant should file at the appropriate lockbox location to ensure timely receipt of the application. However, USCIS said it will accept Forms I-589 submitted to a service center “until we formalize this change through a Federal Register notice.” See the “Where to File” section of the Form I-589 webpage to learn where to file the application. 

Applicants who submit a properly filed Form I-589 to a lockbox will receive two notices: (1) acknowledgement that the lockbox has received and forwarded the Form I-589 to USCIS; and (2) after USCIS accepts the application, a standard Form I-589 receipt notice. Both notices will include the same receipt date that is used to determine eligibility for employment authorization based on a pending asylum application and for purposes of the one-year filing deadline, USCIS said.

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

  • 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

USCIS noted that 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 applications to the Asylum Vetting Center as indicated above.

New Form I-589 and Documentation Requirements

USCIS has published a new edition of Form I-589, dated 03/01/23. Starting July 31, 2023, USCIS will accept only the 03/01/23 edition of the form. Until then, the agency will continue to accept the 10/12/22 edition of Form I-589.

Effective immediately, when submitting the Form I-589, an applicant no longer needs to submit a passport-style photo, multiple copies of the form, or multiple copies of the supporting documentation. See the Instructions for Form I-589 for more information.

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