It's always important to double check the USCIS website before something is filed, even if it is a very familiar filing.
After years of affirmative asylum petitions being filed at a service center, USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has announced that, effective now, affirmative asylum applications that are mailed should be sent to the lockbox that has jurisdiction over your place of residence, instead of the service center.
You can check the “Where to File” section of the Form I-589 (the asylum form) webpage to learn where to file your application. For people living in Virginia, affirmative asylum applications should be sent to the USCIS Chicago lockbox, but there are different addresses based on the mailing service you are using:
U.S. Postal Service (USPS):
P.O. Box 6893
Chicago, IL 60680
FedEx, UPS, or DHL deliveries:
Attn: I-589 (Box 6893)
131 S. Dearborn St., 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517
However, you should consult an attorney if you are filing an asylum petition, as there are certain categories of petitioners who have to send their petitions to the Asylum Vetting Center instead.
These changes are stemming from the recently launched online asylum filing on the USCIS website, part of the plans USCIS announced to make all USCIS forms available for online filing, but not until the end of fiscal year 2026. At the time of that announcement USCIS offered 14 petitions to file online - it has now increased that number to 17. That's out of a whopping 103 petitions in total that are on the website.
USCIS published a new edition of Form I-589, dated 03/01/23. Starting July 31, 2023, only the 03/01/23 edition of the form will be accepted.
Another big change for asylum filing is that passport-style photos, multiple copies of the form, and multiple copies of the supporting documentation are no longer necessary to include in a physical filing. That makes the size of the package a little bit easier when mailing!
If you have questions about an immigration petition please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.