On September 7, 2023, the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) sent out this stakeholder message:
In May, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a new edition of Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, dated 03/01/23.
When you submit Form I-589, you no longer need to submit a passport-style photo, multiple copies of the form, or multiple copies of supporting documentation. In addition, you should submit supporting documentation directly to the asylum office that adjudicates your case.
|If...||Where to File|
Asylum Vetting Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Go to the "Special Instructions” section of USCIS’ Form I-589 page for more specific definitions and the mailing address.
USCIS LockboxGo to the “Where to File” section of USCIS’ Form I-589 page to see the mailing addresses.
We encourage you to file Form I-589 online.
If you decide to mail your Form I-589, mail it to the USCIS lockbox that has jurisdiction over your place of residence—not to a USCIS service center. Go to the “Where to File” section of USCIS’ Form I-589 page to see the most up-to-date mailing addresses.
Why This Matters
USCIS made these changes so it can digitize paper applications and streamline asylum processing. Filing online allows you to track the status of your case, send a secure message to USCIS, and respond to requests for evidence through your USCIS online account.
If you decide to file Form I-589 by mail with a USCIS lockbox, USCIS will send you two notices.
- Once the USCIS lockbox receives your Form I-589, it will send you a notice acknowledging that it has received your form and forwarded it to USCIS.
- Once USCIS accepts your form, it will send you a standard Form I-589 receipt notice.
Both notices will include the same receipt date, which is used to determine eligibility for employment authorization based on a pending asylum application and whether you filed for asylum within one year of arriving in the United States.
The CIS Ombudsman is dedicated to assisting employers and individuals, including asylum seekers, resolve problems with USCIS. We also make recommendations to USCIS on how to mitigate problems and enhance processes. We recently issued our 2023 Annual Report to Congress with an article on USCIS’ growing humanitarian mission and its impact on the agency’s workload. One of our recommendations is for USCIS to establish specific asylum processing for people already in humanitarian parole programs.
In last year’s Annual Report, we recommended ways USCIS could address the affirmative asylum backlog and eliminate barriers to obtaining proof of employment authorization for asylum applicants in removal proceedings. You can read these reports on our Annual Report to Congress page. When we receive USCIS’ responses to our reports, we also post them on this page.