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USCIS Announces Online Filing for Affirmative Asylum Applications

Applicants may use their USCIS online account to file for asylum affirmatively with USCIS if they are physically present in the United States.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today that Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, is available to file online for certain affirmative asylum applicants. USCIS continues to accept the latest paper version of this form by mail.

“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.”

At this time, the option to file an online Form I-589 is only available for certain affirmative asylum applicants. Applicants may use their USCIS online account to file for asylum affirmatively with USCIS if they are physically present in the United States.

To file online, an applicant must first review the instructions on the USCIS website to determine whether their application may be submitted electronically.

Affirmative asylum applicants may not file an online Form I-589 if they:

  • 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;
  • Are among the categories of applicants who must currently file by mail with the Asylum Vetting Center as outlined in the Special Instructions section of our Form I-589 webpage; or
  • Already submitted a Form I-589, which is still pending with USCIS.

During fiscal year (FY) 2021, USCIS received more than 8.8 million requests for immigration benefits and other requests, including 61,150 Forms I-589. Since launching online filing in 2017, the overall number of forms filed electronically has increased significantly. 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, an individual must first create a USCIS online account, which provides a convenient and secure method to submit forms and track the status of a pending USCIS immigration request throughout the adjudication process. There is no cost to set up an account, which offers a variety of features, including the ability to communicate with USCIS about an application through a secure inbox and respond online to Requests for Evidence.

With the addition of online filing for Form I-589, individuals can now file 13 USCIS forms online. The Forms Available to File Online page has links to file all of these forms. USCIS continues to accept the latest paper versions of all forms by mail.

Read more at USCIS

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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