Preparing for an Asylum Case

by Michael Spychalski

Asylum cases can involve a very long, drawn-out process. It is very important to be prepared when filing an asylum case. The asylum case starts by filing an I-589 form Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. It is important to carefully review each question and respond correctly. Each question could be scrutinized at either an asylum interview or immigration court. Many times I ask the client to attach a personal statement in their native language (with a certified translation) fully describing all details of the maltreatment they experienced in their home country. Dates, names, times and descriptions are very important and provide credibility to the client’s case. If the client has any additional photos, documents, certificates or witness testimony, it should be submitted together with the I-589 or at the time of the interview. These applications must be signed and dated by the client.

The form I-589 must be properly submitted with all attachments to the correct U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing center. This can be found on the form I-589 instructions at the www.uscis.gov website. There is no fee for this application. I make sure to keep one copy and submit the application by registered or certified mail with return receipt requested to have proof that the client’s application was received. I keep this certified receipt with the copy of the application.

There is a requirement that biometrics and fingerprints are done for the asylum interview. I notify USCIS within 10 days of any move by submitting a Change of Address Form AR-11. It is strongly suggested to follow up the Change of Address Form with a telephone call to the USCIS National Customer Service notifying USCIS of the address change. They will give me a confirmation number. It is necessary to keep a record of this exchange because we must be able to receive all notices from USCIS, and USCIS must be aware of the client’s most current address in order to send these notices. Next month I will get into preparing for the asylum interview.

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