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Important: U.S. law requires asylum applications to be filed within one year of entry into the United States, with some limited exceptions. But a recent court case called Mendez Rojas gives some people until April 22, 2022 to file their first asylum application or to refile or update an application that was filed after the one year period. Click here for more information about about Mendez-Rojas.
If you are from Afghanistan and interested in applying for asylum, please read USCIS’s website for information specific to Afghans.
Correctly filing an asylum application is an important step. The instructions for how to file an asylum application are different if you are filing affirmatively or defensively. Affirmative means that you are not in immigration court proceedings. Defensive is when you do have a case in immigration court (even if you do not currently know what your next court date will be).
This page first discusses how to file an asylum application with USCIS, then it discusses how to file in immigration court.
Before filing your asylum application, keep an extra copy for yourself of anything that you file.
Normally, asylum applications must be filed within one year of arriving in the United States. If you arrived more than one year ago, contact the Immigration Clinic or another attorney to speak more about your situation.
Filing an Asylum Application When You Are Not in Immigration Court (Affirmative)
Where you file your asylum application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will depend on where you live. If you live in Virginia, you will mail your application to:
6046 N Belt Line Rd. Ste. 589
Irving, TX 75038-0018
If you do not live in Virginia, you may need to file at a different address. Check the USCIS website to confirm the address to submit your application.
Before filing your application, be sure to check the asylum application instructions (available at this link) for more information, including how many copies of your application to include in your submission and any other documents (such as copies of birth certificates).
For more information on how to file your asylum application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, click here to visit their website.
If you have already filed an asylum application but you have moved (just across the street or to another state), you will need to update your address with USCIS. Click here for more information about changing your address.
USCIS is now accepting asylum applications that are filed online, but only in certain circumstances. Visit USCIS’s website for more up-to-date information. In order to file online, asylum applicants must create a USCIS online account. Click here for more information about how to create a USCIS account online.
After filing an asylum application, USCIS will issue a receipt notice as proof that they have received the application. Click here to read USCIS’s announcement from July 2022 about delays in issuing receipt notices for asylum cases.
Filing an Asylum Application When You Are in Immigration Court (Defensive)
To file an asylum application with the Immigration Court, you can either (1) file your application in person at the court, or (2) file your application by mail.
When you file your asylum application with the court in person or by mail, you must also submit a copy of your asylum application with ICE. When you submit the application to the court, you will need proof that you submitted your application to ICE (called a “certificate of service”).
The Clinic has created a document that provides information about how to submit an asylum application to immigration court. Click here to view this information for the Annandale Immigration Court. Click here to view this information for the Sterling Immigration Court.
This document is also available in Spanish at this link. This document has not yet been updated to reflect the new immigration courts in Sterling and Annandale.
ANNANDALE Immigration Court Mailing Address
7619 Little River Turnpike, Suite 400
Annandale, VA 22003
ICE Mailing Address (ANNANDALE)
500 12th Street SW, Mail Stop 5902
Washington, D.C. 20536-5902
STERLING IMMIGRATION cOURT mAILING ADDRESS
Sterling Immigration Court
21400 Ridgetop Circle, Suite 200
Sterling, VA 20166
ICE MAILING ADDRESS (Sterling)
500 12th Street SW, Mail Stop 5906
Washington, D.C. 20536-5906