Cases when online filing of Form I-589 Asylum application is permitted

Form I-589 filing,

On November 9, 2022, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced [link] that many prospective asylum applicants will be permitted to use online filing the Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. Although online filing of the Form I-589 is now available for many asylum applicants, the USCIS explained that it “continues to accept the latest paper version by mail.”

However, while the USCIS has expanded online filing options for the Form I-589 asylum application, certain applications must still be filed by mail. Below is the list of cases where online filing of the Form I-589 asylum application is prohibited:

The applicant is in proceedings in immigration court or before the Board of Immigration Appeals;
The applicant is an unaccompanied alien child as defined in 6 USC 279(g) and is in removal proceedings;
The applicant is among the categories of applicants who must file by mail with the Asylum Vetting Center as outlined on the Special Instructions section of the Form I-589 website
[link]; or
The applicant has already submitted a Form I-589 and the form is still pending with the USCIS
[see article].

The “categories of applicants who must file by mail with the Asylum Vetting Center” are as follows:

1. Current derivative asylees filing a new Form I-589 nunc pro tunc after losing derivative relationship prior to adjusting status.
2. Former derivative applicants who lost derivative status before final decision on principal's Form I-589 seeking to file a new Form I-589 as a principal applicant.
3. Individual with pending application as a derivative asylee seeking to also file a Form I-589 as a principal applicant.
4. Individual who previously (A) received a negative decision on a prior Form I-589 from USCIS or (B) withdrew Form I-589 filed with USCIS and was not placed in removal proceedings seeking to file a new Form I-589.
5. Individual who was previously in removal proceedings and who wants to file Form I-589 with USCIS under the belief that USCIS has jurisdiction over the application.
6. Applicant filing Form I-589 with the Asylum Vetting Center after receiving the explicit consent of the asylum office director with jurisdiction over his or her case.

Asylum applicants not described above may take advantage of online filing of the Form I-589.

As a general matter, we recommend that any foreign national who believes that he or she may have a case for asylum should first consult with an experienced immigration attorney in the area of asylum law. An attorney may assess the case and determine whether he or she believes that the individual has a plausible path to asylum or some other form of relief and protection that exists under the U.S. immigration laws. We have written extensively about issues related to asylum and the Form I-589 in our Asylum and Refugee Protection section [see category].