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How to File Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal

How to File Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal

To apply for asylum in the United States, you must file Form I-589 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS I-589 form is also used by individuals who are applying for withholding of removal.

Find out everything you need to know about your Form I-589 application for asylum on this page.

What Is Form I-589 Application for Asylum and For Withholding of Removal?

Form I-589 is the official document you must file if you are applying for asylum or for withholding of removal. You must submit the seven-part form along with additional evidence to support your case. 

In order to file Form I-589, you must be physically present in the United States. You must also be a citizen of another country, not a United States citizen. 

I-589 Processing Time

The I-589 form is filled out by individuals who are eligible for asylum. Asylum seekers are people who have entered the United States and are applying for asylum using Form I-589.

You must apply for Form I-589 within a single year of coming to the United States. If you do not, you may be ineligible to receive asylum.  

The Form I-589 questions will ask for information like:

  •   Previous requests for asylum
  •   Other residencies 
  •   If you have any history of persecution 
  •   If you have traveled outside of and then returned to the United States
  •   If you have any arrests or convictions

What Is Asylum?

Seeking political asylum may be necessary for your own safety and wellbeing. If you are eligible for asylum, you have already endured stressful and frightening circumstances.

Asylum can be granted to those who have entered the United States because they have experienced persecution in their home country. This persecution may be on the basis of race, political stance, nationality, religion, or social group. 

Those granted asylum are eligible to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization,  as well as to petition for family and relatives to join them in the United States using Form I-730. 

You may also apply for permanent residency. If you have questions about seeking asylum and/or what you are able to do once you are granted asylum, talk to your immigration attorney.

What Is Withholding of Removal?

Withholding of removal means that the applicant is protected and will not be returned (deported) to their home country. Withholding is different from asylum because it is does not allow the recipient to apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.

Form I-589 & Convention Against Torture

Form I-589 can also be used to apply for protection if you are in danger under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT). CAT is a relief option for asylum seekers and those applying for withholding of removal.

It’s important to be aware that Form I-589 is not the same as temporary protected status (TPS) using Form I-821. TPS is for individuals from specific countries that have been declared by USCIS. Individuals with TPS cannot apply for permanent residency, whereas asylees—those granted asylum—can eventually do so. 

If your country is a TPS country, speak to the attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. 

Form I-589 Instructions

Below, you’ll find line-by-line Form I-589 filing instructions for your asylum application form so that you can properly fill out your application for asylum. 

There are seven parts designated from A-G. Now let’s look at each section individually:

Part A: Information About You

Part A of Form I-589 has three subsections. Each subsection has questions to answer. 

Section 1 of Part A is where you will fill out the information about yourself, including:

  •   A-Number, also known as your alien registration number, this is the eight or nine digit number you were given by USCIS—your A-Number is assigned when you submit a form to USCIS or when you are/have been involved in removal proceedings  
  •   Social security number, if applicable
  •   USCIS online account number, if applicable
  •   Identifying information, including your:

o   Name 

o   Address

o   Phone number

o   Birthdate 

o   Gender*

o   Marriage status 

o   Race

o   Ethnicity 

o   Tribe

  •   Nationality 
  •   Religion
  •   Immigration court proceedings, if any—if you have had any court proceedings or arrests, discuss your circumstances with your immigration attorney, as you may need to submit your Form I-589 application in a different way
  •   Any previous entry into the U.S—if you are unsure how to answer this question, reach out to your immigration attorney; it’s important to answer all questions fully and truthfully and remember that if you violated immigration law to escape the place where you faced persecution, your asylum application will most likely not be affected  
  •   Passport information
  •   Language information 
  •   If you came to the United States using a name that is not your legal name, start and continue using your legal name
  •   Fill out every section, including if your resident address is the same as your mailing address—you may write “same as above,” if applicable

*A note about identifying information and gender: You may be seeking asylum on the basis of your gender/gender identity. If your claim involves gender—particularly if you are transgender—you may add a supplementary statement. If this is the case, you can write in *see supplement for the gender question in Part A of your Form I-589.

Section 2 of Part A in your Form I-589 asylum application asks for information about your spouse and children. Answer all questions in this section, even if you do not have a spouse or children. This part is important for when/if you petition for family members upon receiving your asylum status. 

Section 3 of part A covers your background information. This section includes information like:

  •   Previous addresses and residencies outside of the United States 
  •   Education
  •   Employment
  •   Information about your parents and siblings

Part B: Application Information

In this section of your Form I-589, you will explain why you are applying for asylum, noting persecution and accompanying evidence. 

If your answer is “yes” to any of the questions, explain why you marked yes. You are allowed to use extra sheets of paper to do so. 

Discussing these events can be hard, traumatizing, or re-traumatizing. You may not even be able to process what has happened yet. That is okay, we can help you with this. 

Please be aware that you may also have to discuss these explanations and events in further detail at your interview. Please seek help from your lawyer or therapist if you need it. 

Part C: Additional Application Information

In Part C of Form I-589, like in Part B, if you check “yes” to any question, you must explain why you did so. In Part C, you must also answer the question about whether you applied within more than one year of coming to the United States, as that one-year time limit is a requirement for seeking asylum. If you answer “yes,” then you must explain why you did not apply sooner. 

Seek help from an immigration attorney if you did not apply within a year of entering the United States. 

Part D: Signature

This is where you will print your name both in your native alphabet and in English. In this section, you must also include the signature of any family member who helped you with the form.

Part E: Declaration From Additional Preparer

Your immigration attorney or any other person who helped you fill out this form will complete this section. 

Part F: Interview Section

You will not fill out this section. This is for your asylum application interview.

Part G: Removal Hearing Section

Like in Part F, you will not fill out this section. This section is for a removal hearing, if applicable. This section is filled out in immigration court. 

Additional Evidence for Form I-589

You must provide additional evidence to show USCIS that you qualify for asylum or withholding of removal. The material you submit as additional evidence needs to show:

  •   The conditions of your country of origin
  •   Specific reasons why you are applying for asylum

You can submit the following as evidence:

  •   Medical records
  •   Newspapers
  •   Witness statements
  •   Expert statements
  •   Journals
  •   Books
  •   Photos
  •   Official documents
  •   Personal statements
  •   Testimonies

Oftentimes, it can be difficult to talk about the trauma you experienced/are currently experiencing. Thankfully, USCIS also allows you to submit a health professional’s report. This kind of report provides an opportunity for you to answer why you cannot explain your suffering because of the trauma and difficulty involved in doing so.  

We understand that you may not be able to talk about—or even process—what has happened/is happening. Know that the attorneys here at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. are here to support you through this difficult time. 

Form I-589 FAQs

Where to File I-589 Form?

Your Form I-589 filing address is dependent on where you currently live. There are five different addresses you may send your Form I-589 to depending on your place of residency and which carrier (U.S. Post Office, FedEx, UPS, etc.) you are using:

  • USCIS Texas Service Center
    Attn: I-589

6046 N Belt Line Rd. STE 589

Irving, TX 75038-0018

  • California Service Center

P.O. Box 10881
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-0881

  • USCIS California Service Center

Attn: I-589

24000 Avila Road

2nd Floor, Room 2312

 Laguna Niguel, CA 92677 

  • Nebraska Service Center

P.O. Box 87589

Lincoln, NE 68501-7589

  • USCIS Nebraska Service Center

Attn: I-589

 850 S Street

 Lincoln, NE 68508 

Speak with your immigration attorney before sending in your application for asylum to ensure it is sent to the correct location. 

How Much Is the I-589 Fee?

There is no filing fee for a Form I-589 asylum application. If you are required to take a biometrics exam, you will not have to pay for that either. In total, the filing fee for Form I-589 is $0. 

What Do I Do If My Application Is Pending?

You are allowed to stay in the United States if you have a pending application. If you have not been granted asylum, then your case will be moved to an immigration court. If this happens, speak with your immigration attorney right away to discuss next steps.

Can I Work While My Form I-589 Is Pending?

You can only apply for employment if your Form I-589 has been accepted by USCIS and remains pending for one whole calendar year (365 days). 

Talk to an Immigration Attorney 

If you have questions about filing an application for asylum or for withholding of removal, speak with an experienced immigration attorney at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. Our attorneys have over 70 years of combined experience filling out immigration forms, including I-589 forms.

We can help you apply for asylum for yourself and your loved ones. Call us today at 312.444.1940 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to helping you both now and in the future.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!