"Two-Copy" Rule No Longer Applies When Sending I-589 Application for Asylum — One Copy Enough

For many years, part of the process of filing for asylum in the United States was to submit not only an original Form I-589 Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal with supporting documents, but two copies of the entire application.

One of these copies was to be sent to the U.S. Department of State (DOS), for its review.

However, the U.S. Department of State no longer reviews asylum applications. In light of that fact, U.S. citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) has announced that it will no longer require applicants to send in two copies of the application materials. One copy will be sufficient.

In April 2009, USCIS amended the relevant regulation, 8 C.F.R. § 208.ll(a), to remove the mandate that USCIS send a copy to DOS, though it still says that USCIS may choose to do so in its discretion.

This announcement was made in a November 27, 2015 memorandum from USCIS. The USCIS Asylum Division plans to amend the instructions to Form 1-589 soon, to reflect this change.