Five Major Immigration Changes for Applying for Affirmative Asylum in the United States

 ᛫ 06/09/2023

The process of applying for affirmative asylum in the United States has recently undergone significant changes. These changes, implemented by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), aim to streamline and enhance the adjudication process for those seeking asylum while within the country. Here are five of the most relevant changes you should be aware of if you're considering applying for affirmative asylum in the United States.

1. New Procedure for Submitting Form I-589

The traditional process of submitting Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, has been modified. Instead of sending it to a service center, you are now required to send it to a specific lockbox. The USCIS has indicated that this form should be sent to the "secure location or lockbox" corresponding to your place of residence. This modification is aimed at ensuring the proper receipt of your application. Until this new practice is formally established, USCIS will continue to accept submissions of the form to a service center.

2. Dual Notification to Confirm Form Receipt

After submitting your Form I-589 through a secure lockbox, you will receive two important notifications. The first notification will confirm that the lockbox has received your form and forwarded it to the USCIS. Subsequently, the USCIS will send you a standard second receipt notification, indicating that your application has been accepted. Both notifications should have the same receipt date, a crucial factor in determining eligibility for employment authorization and establishing the one-year filing deadline.

3. Changes in Submitting Applications to the Asylum Research Center

USCIS has stipulated that certain categories of affirmative asylum applicants must directly submit their applications to the Asylum Research Center, as detailed in the instructions for Form I-589. This modification applies to immigrants who have lost derived status after asylum approval but before "nunc pro tunc" adjustment of status, as well as applicants who have lost derived status prior to a final decision, among other specific cases.

4. Online Filing for Affirmative Asylum Applications

USCIS now provides the option to submit affirmative asylum applications online for certain immigrants. This option is recommended for applicants not involved in immigration court proceedings or before the Board of Immigration Appeals and for those not required to submit their application to the Asylum Research Center. However, this online option is not available for unaccompanied minors in deportation proceedings.

5. Update of Form I-589 and its Instructions

USCIS has released a new edition of Form I-589 dated 03/01/23. Starting from July 31, 2023, only this new version will be accepted. As of June 1, USCIS no longer requires a passport-style photograph when submitting the form, and multiple copies of the form or multiple supporting documents are no longer necessary. To avoid delays in processing your application, it is advisable to carefully review the special instructions for Form I-589 before submitting your petition.

These changes in immigration rules for affirmative asylum applications aim to optimize the process and offer a more efficient experience for those seeking protection and refuge in the United States. If you are considering applying for affirmative asylum, be sure to stay informed about these changes and follow the guidelines provided by USCIS for a successful application.

Please remember that this blog provides general information and should not be considered legal advice. It is always advisable to consult an immigration attorney or the relevant authorities for specific guidance based on your unique circumstances.