15. Preparing the I-589

The information contained herein is for reference only and may not be up to date. It does not constitute legal advice. You should always consult an attorney regarding your matter.

The information in this chapter refers to the most recent version of the Form I-589 application form (often simply called the “I-589”), which was revised on 12/29/14.

Please note that Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) revises this form from time to time. The form is available on the CIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/i-589. Please make sure that the most current version of the form online is the same as the one discussed herein. In any event, guidance on how to fill in the form should still be useful.

Also at that link are extensive instructions on how to complete the I-589—and on which Regional Service Center you should file it with when complete.

If you are filing the application affirmatively, your filing will (if timely) meet the one-year filing deadline, get the client a spot in line for an asylum interview (which will, sadly, take place long after the statutory, 45-day timeframe has elapsed) 1, and start a 180-day clock ticking toward eligibility for a work permit. The same form is used to submit applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture, although Asylum Officers are only authorized to adjudicate the asylum claim (the other claims will be adjudicated only if the claim is referred by the Asylum Office to the immigration court).

» Practice Pointer: It is the filing of the I-589 itself that initiates the asylum application process. Thus, it is the date that the application is received by the Service Center or that the application is filed in Immigration Court that marks the filing date for purposes of determining whether or not an applicant has met the one year filing deadline. In all cases, you can file the I-589 initially, and submit all supporting documentation at a later date.

15.1 Filling out the I-589 Asylum Application Form

The purpose of this chapter is to guide the asylum applicant’s representative in the preparation of the application form itself.

The I-589 form is available online at http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-589.pdf. Unfortunately, this is not a “fillable” form as some CIS forms are. There are commercial companies which offer fillable and saveable immigration forms on cd disks to immigration practitioners. It is also possible to find free fillable versions of the I-589 online on private attorneys’ websites by doing a google search such as “I-589 fillable.” If you use one of these sites, make sure that the revised date on the lower right hand corner of the form matches the most recent version on the CIS website. While the data on web-based fillable forms cannot be saved electronically, you can write out the answers in Word or Wordperfect and cut and paste them into the fillable form. You can also print the form and type or handwrite the answers.

Convention Against Torture (CAT) Relief

In almost all cases, it is best to check the box at the top of page 1, as this helps to preserve CAT eligibility if the applicant’s case is referred to immigration court.

A. Part A: “Information About You”

The first part of the application requests biographical information about the applicant. This section collects information that may form an important part of the applicant’s claim. As with every part of the application, you must be careful to answer these questions correctly. Wherever the question asks for information that does not apply to the applicant or for which there is no answer you must write “not applicable” “N/A” or “none.” All questions on the Form I-589 must be answered. If an applicant fails to answer a question, the Service Center may reject and return the entire application.

1. Alien Registration Number (A-Number, or A#)

An “A-Number” is assigned to people who have ever filed an application with the legacy INS or CIS, or who have had a case in Immigration Court.

The A-Number is nine digit number (some older A-Numbers have eight digits, but are now rendered as nine-digit numbers with a zero at the beginning). Most applicants applying for asylum for the first time will not have an A-Number at the time the application is filed. If the applicant does not have an A-Number, the correct answer here is “None.”

2. Social Security Number

Most foreign nationals seeking asylum will not have a valid social security number in their name. If so, the correct answer is “None,” since the application asks only for the applicant’s social security number. If the applicant does possess a valid social security number, then this number must be entered in this space. Such a situation may arise, for example, if the applicant was in the United States on a student visa and had employment authorization. Some undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for many years have valid social security numbers because, ten or more years ago, it was relatively easy for anyone who applied to obtain a Social Security number. Also note that some foreign nationals have IRS tax payer ID numbers called Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers or “ITINs.” These are not social security numbers and should not be included in this box.

3. Complete Last Name

This refers to the applicant’s family name or surname, including two last names such as “Mendez-Robles.” If there is any doubt as to which part of an applicant’s name is the surname, it may be easiest to refer to the applicant’s passport or other identification document. To avoid confusion, it may be helpful to enter the applicant’s last name in all capital letters to distinguish this part from the applicant’s first and middle names and to repeat this style throughout the application.

» Practice Pointer: Sometimes asylum applicants enter the United States with false identity documents. The applicant should always use their true information on the asylum application form even if they do not have a valid identity document that matches their real name.

4, 5. First Name; Middle Name

Again, if there is any doubt as to what part of the applicant’s name is the first name, it may be helpful to refer to the applicant’s passport or other identification documents.

6. Aliases

Here you should include all aliases, nicknames, previous names or other versions of the applicant’s real name by which they are known or have ever been known. If the applicant is transgender and prefers a different name from what is on their identity documents, they should put the chosen name here. Likewise, if the applicant has had a legal name change, you should put their prior name here.

7. Residence in the U.S

This address is where the applicant lives. The address entered in response to this question should determine which Asylum Office has jurisdiction over the applicant’s application (though in some cases the Asylum Office will be determined based on the applicant’s mailing address). It is therefore important that this information is correct and that CIS is notified of any changes to the applicant’s address after the filing of the application.

8. Mailing address in the U.S

If necessary, this address should be a place where the applicant can safely receive mail. The applicant will receive written notice that CIS has received the I-589 and subsequent notices of the interview and future proceedings at this address. If this is the same as the residence, write “Same as above.” While both attorney and client are supposed to receive a copy of all correspondence from CIS, sometimes CIS only sends notices to the client or to the attorney, so it’s important to include an address where the client can reliably receive mail—and, unless impossible, to avoid using the attorney’s address as the mailing address.

9. Gender

If the applicant is transgender, you should check the box that aligns with their gender identity. Be aware, however, that in other contexts (e.g., issuance of a work permit), CIS only recognizes such identification gender if the foreign national has adjusted documentation (e.g., passport, birth certificate) from their country of origin or obtained a physician’s letter corroborating their gender identity. 2

10. Marital Status

If the applicant is legally (not customarily) married, they should check “married.” If the applicant is in a relationship other than marriage – a civil union or domestic partnership – “single” is the most appropriate box to check.

11. Date of Birth

Sometimes asylum applicants enter the United States with false identity documents. The applicant should always use their true information on the asylum application form, not the data form the false documents.

12. City and Country of Birth

Many countries do not automatically confer citizenship on individuals who were born in the country. For this box you must enter the birthplace, not the place of citizenship.

13. Present Nationality (Citizenship)

Applicant should enter the present country of nationality/citizenship in this space. If an applicant holds dual citizenship, you should include each country of nationality.

14. Nationality at Birth

Applicant should enter the country of nationality at birth, even if it is the same as present nationality.

15, 16. Race/Ethnic or Tribal Group; Religion

These sections should be completed if the applicant is a member of such a group or religion regardless of whether the applicant’s claim is based upon this characteristic. It is important to fill in “None” in the religion box if the applicant does not have a religious affiliation. Asylum applications are often returned by the Service Center if this box is left blank.

17. Immigration Status

It is important to be sure that your client is not currently and has never been in removal or deportation proceedings. If the applicant is in proceedings or has a final order of removal or deportation, they will have to file the I-589 with the Immigration Court rather than with a CIS Service Center, because the Asylum Office will not have jurisdiction. If the applicant has an A-Number, you can call the EOIR Hotline (1-800-898-7180) to make sure there has never been an immigration court case for the applicant. While the information on this phone system is generally accurate, if the applicant was in proceedings more than ten years ago, it’s possible that their information will not have been entered in the phone system.

18. a. The Date of Exit from Applicant’s Country

This should be the date when the applicant last left their country. This date is important to determine whether the applicant traveled through or resided in other countries before finally arriving in the United States and, if so, whether the applicant had a meaningful opportunity to seek asylum in such countries.

18. b. Current I-94 Number, if any

The I-94 is a record of inspection at a port of entry. It is available online at http://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/consent.html. Among its contents is a number of approximately 12 digits in the top left corner, which should be entered here. If the applicant entered without inspection, you should write “None” in this box.

18. c. List Each Entry to the U.S. Including Date, Place, Status and Date Status Expires.

Date of Last Arrival

The date of last arrival in the United States is the date of the applicant’s most recent entry. If the applicant entered with inspection, this date will appear on their I-94 (see above).

Sometimes it is more difficult to determine the exact date of entry. The burden is on the applicant to prove that they filed within one year of their last entry into the United States. If the applicant last entered the United States without being inspected by an Immigration Officer at a port of entry (Entered Without Inspection or EWI) then the date given should be the date on which the applicant actually crossed the border. If the specific date is not known to the applicant, as is often the case when the applicant has “EWI’d” and/or when many years have passed since entry, the applicant should attempt to establish with the greatest accuracy possible the date on which the last entry took place. If this cannot be done, you should offer an approximate date using the words “on or about.” If even an approximate date of entry cannot be ascertained (e.g., if the applicant entered the country as a young child and has no way of learning the approximate date of entry) then the appropriate answer would be “unknown.” It is important to note that, 1996, individuals seeking asylum must file an application within one year of their last arrival in the United States or meet narrow exceptions to this rule. Therefore, the answer to this question may determine whether or not the applicant is eligible to file an application for asylum.

Place of Last Arrival

Place of last arrival is also usually easily determined from the I-94 if available. Applicants who have EWI’d (or who entered long ago and can no longer access their I-94) can usually identify the general geographic area at which they crossed the border and entered the United States, such as “Arizona.”


The applicant’s status when admitted is usually easily identified by reference to the I-94 or passport. Most applicants will have entered originally on a non-immigrant status, for example, as a visitor for business or pleasure (B), exchange visitor (J), student (F), professional worker (H), journalist (I), crew member (D), religious worker (R), or visa waiver tourist. Some applicants will have EWI’d, and therefore will have acquired any lawful status. In such a case the correct response to this question is simply “EWI.” If the applicant entered with fraudulent documents, they did not actually EWI; in such cases, you should write in the type of visa they used but indicate that it wasn’t really theirs (e.g., “B1/B2, not issued to applicant”).

Date Status Expires

Expiration of status refers to the expiration of the permitted stay on such status. For example, a foreign national admitted to the United States as a visitor on a B2 visa for six months would designate the end of the time period allowed to remain in the United States as the expiration date (unless it had been extended) and not the expiration of his or her visa (a B-2 visa may be valid for entries as a visitor for many years in some instances). Some I-94s, such as those for students, have the designation “D/S” for “duration of status” written on them rather than a specific date by which the applicant is supposed to leave the United States If the I-94 says “D/S” you should write this in on the Date Status Expires line.

For each entry the applicant has made into the United States, they must provide information to the best of their ability about the date, place and status of entry.

19. Country that Issued Last Passport or Travel Document

This should be self-evident. Again, you must always be truthful, so if the applicant obtained a fake passport that was not issued by their own country, they must indicate the actual country that issued the passport used. Attach to the I-589 a copy of the applicant’s passport (front and back cover and every interior page). Be sure to remove any stapled or loose papers from the passport so that every page is clearly visible. Also be sure that the copies of the various stamps or visas entered into the passport are clearly visible. If the applicant has an I-94 Departure Record card stapled into the passport (before electronic issuance, I-94s were issued on paper), it might be helpful to remove it from the passport and to copy it both front and back and attach the copy with the copy of the passport. Also, if the applicant has renewed their passport since being in the United States, attach copies of both the current passport and the passport which they used to enter into the United States.

20. Passport/Travel Document #

Enter the passport number of the applicant’s current or most recent passport (even if it is now expired). This number can generally be found on or close to the identification page of the passport.

Applicants who entered with a passport typically do not have a travel document, and vice versa. In such cases, write “N/A” in the appropriate box.

21. Expiration Date

Enter the month, day and year of expiration of the applicant’s current or most recent passport or travel document (even if it is now expired).

22, 23, 24. Languages

Write in the applicant’s native language. If the applicant has more than one native language, they should write in the language in which they feel most comfortable. If the applicant is fluent in English, answer “Yes.”

Part A. II. Information about Your Spouse and Children.

This part of the application asks for information about the applicant’s spouse and children. Most applicants for asylum based on sexual orientation or gender identity will not be married or have children. For those applicants who are married, the section for the applicant’s spouse must be completed, whether or not the applicant’s spouse is included as part of the application. If the applicant is not married, check the box on the top line and proceed to the Question 2, which asks about children. If the applicant has no children, simply check “I do not have any children” and move on. The information requested regarding spouse and children is similar to the information requested for the applicant and should be filled out as explained above.

Part A. III. Information about Your Background

1. Address

This box requires the applicant to list their last address outside the United States. If the applicant did not come directly to the United States, then they must also list their last address in the country from which they is claiming persecution.

2, 3, 4, 5. Residences; Education; Employment; Parents and Siblings

The current I-589 form asks for personal history including information about the applicant’s parents, applicant’s education, addresses at which the applicant resided for the past five years, and the applicant’s employment (including unauthorized employment). Note that for residences and employment, the applicant must list information for the last five years; for education, all schools attended must be listed.

Often, applicants who are working without authorization do not want to give the name of their employer for fear of getting the employer in trouble. In that case, the applicant may feel more comfortable being somewhat vague, such as “Mexican Restaurant, Brooklyn, NY” rather than naming the specific establishment. If the applicant has never been employed, write “None” or “N/A” into at least one line so that CIS does not think that an answer was omitted.

Similarly, if the applicant has relatives who are in the United States without lawful status, the applicant may feel more comfortable giving a vague current location, such as “Los Angeles, CA,” as opposed to a specific address. For each relative, a current location must be provided, or “Deceased” must be checked. If the applicant has no siblings, write “None” or “N/A” into at least one “Sibling” line so that CIS does not think that an answer was omitted.

Abbreviate wherever possible so as to fit each entry on one line. Continue on Supplement B (page 12 of the I-589) as necessary; you can combine overflows from multiple questions into a single Supplement B.

Part B. Information about Your Application

In Part B of the application, the applicant is expected to lay out in detail the basis for their claim. A limited amount of space is offered on the application to answer several basic questions about the reason the applicant is seeking asylum.

» Practice Pointer: Some practitioners do not write anything other than “See attached affidavit” in response to the “essay” questions. This strategy is strongly discouraged. Often at the asylum interview, the Officer will be following along with the I-589 and not with the affidavit itself. Thus the best practice is to succinctly summarize the claim in a few sentences that include the most serious incidents that comprise the claim. You can attach additional sheets of paper to expand on these answers, but since you will already be attaching a very detailed affidavit, it’s best to try to fit the answers in the space provided.

Remember, the Officer will have the entire declaration to read as they are reviewing their notes and the file after the interview. Your goal with the I-589 should be to make it as easy as possible for the Officer to follow along with the applicant’s story during the interview.

1. Why are you seeking asylum?

You should check the box “Membership in a Particular Social Group” for claims based on sexual orientation, transgender identity, and/or HIV status. Note that it is possible to apply on more than one ground at once. Thus, an applicant may simultaneously be applying on other ground(s) such as religion or political opinion (e.g,. if the applicant was active in promoting LGBTQ/H rights in their country, this may also form the basis of a political opinion claim). Also note that it is best to check the “Torture Convention” box in almost all cases, as this helps to preserve CAT eligibility if the case is referred to immigration court.

1. A. Have you, your family or close friends or colleagues ever experienced harm, mistreatment or threats in the past?

This question is asking about past persecution. It is important to succinctly state any past harm that either the applicant or anyone whom they know personally has suffered on account of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or HIV-positive status. If the applicant has never directly experienced harm, it is very useful for them to give detailed examples of harm that their family or friends have experienced, as this helps personalize their fear of future persecution. Likewise, even if the harm they suffered in their country didn’t rise to the level of persecution, it is important (if factually possible) to include some examples of harm here (for example, school taunts, family disownment) to paint a picture of the life that the applicant is afraid to return to.

It is best to be succinct and specific in answering this question because the Asylum Officer will probably follow along with the answers to the “essay” questions during the interview. You do not need to exceed the space provided.

1. B. Do you fear harm or mistreatment if you return to your home country?

This question essentially asks whether the applicant fears future persecution. For the applicant to qualify for asylum, the answer to this question must be “Yes.” Again, it is helpful to be both succinct and specific in detailing the type of harm feared – abuse by police, gay-bashings, coercive psychological “treatment,” forced marriage, being disowned by family, lack of medical treatment, inability to find any employment, etc.

The answer to this question is especially important if the applicant did not experience past persecution. You should explain specifically how the applicant became fearful of the consequences of being LGBTQ/H, especially if they had no personal experience with such persecution. In some cases, the applicant may have become aware of the persecution of other sexual minorities because of incidents in which friends or acquaintances had been victims of persecution, or when such incidents happened to strangers and were reported in the media or documented in other sources. Again the applicant should be as specific as possible about how they learned of the harm that occurred to others. You do not need to exceed the space provided.

2. Have you or your family members ever been accused, charged, arrested, detained, interrogated, convicted and sentenced or imprisoned in any country other than the U.S.?

You may have already included information about arrests or detentions the applicant suffered in his country in your answers to a previous question, but you should still list such incidents again in answer to this question. Remember, this question doesn’t only ask about convictions, but includes arrests, detentions, and interrogations. Thus any interaction the applicant had with the police or military in which they did not feel free to leave should be included here.

Answering this question can help provide details about the basis of the applicant’s claim, if, for example, they were detained and abused by the police because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In some sexual orientation- or gender identity-based cases, applicants have been previously arrested, charged, and convicted of violating laws prohibiting homosexuality or same-sex sexual conduct. These “prosecutions” for private sexual activity between consenting adults may in fact be persecution.

It is also important to include any information about arrests or detentions even if they are unrelated to the asylum claim itself. Convictions for some crimes could lead to a bar to asylum so the Officer will pay close attention to the answers to this section. See Section # 6.2.

3. A. Have you or your family members ever belonged to or been associated with any organizations or groups in your home country?

This question is usually most relevant to someone who is claiming persecution based on their political opinion or affiliation with a certain political organization. In the case of sexual orientation-, gender identity-, and/or HIV status-based claims, if the applicant was a member of an LGBTQ/H organization and for that reason was targeted for persecution, then the applicant may have a dual claim based on LGBTQ/H status and political opinion. The applicant should list any or all associations or memberships with LGBTQ/H organizations in their country of origin, along with corroborating evidence of such membership such as letters, membership cards, news stories, etc.

Even if the applicant was not affiliated with any organizations in their country, they may fear returning because of their family’s affiliations. For example, a Colombian applicant with a politically active brother may fear returning to her country based on her own imputed political opinion because of her brother’s activities. It is therefore important to answer this question thoroughly regarding the entire family.

The answer to this question could also trigger mandatory bars to asylum if the applicant was affiliated with an organization with the United States considers to be a terrorist or genocidal organization.

3. B. Do you or your family members continue to participate in any way in these organizations or groups?

The answer to this question could impact the applicant’s fear of future persecution, so if they are still involved in any of these groups, they should explain thoroughly their involvement.

4. Are you afraid of being subjected to torture in your home country or any other country to which you may be returned?

If the applicant is applying for relief under CAT (and we recommend they do), they should be able to answer truthfully “Yes” to this question. See Section # 7 for more information about CAT relief. Basically, if the applicant fears physical harm or pain either directly at the hands of their government or with the acquiescence of their government, they should respond that they fear torture in their country. Again, although the answer to this question may be redundant, you should still include succinct but detailed information about why the applicant fears torture and by whom.

Part C. Additional Information About Your Application

If an applicant can truthfully answer all the questions below by checking NO, then they are not facing any substantive issues that may jeopardize the applicant’s eligibility for asylum. However, if the applicant has to answer any of the questions in the affirmative, then they should include a detailed explanation of his answer.

1. Have you, your spouse, your child(ren), your parents, or your siblings ever applied to the United States Government for refugee status, asylum or withholding of removal?

The response to the question of whether an applicant has previously applied for asylum or withholding of removal may be extremely important in the adjudication of this application. If the applicant has never before filed such an application, then the obvious correct answer is simply to check the “No” box.

In some cases, an applicant is filing an application because they have been previously included in an application by a parent, but no longer qualify as an unmarried child under twenty-one and must now file a separate application.

In other cases, however, the applicant has previously filed an application (Yes). This application may still be pending with CIS or may have been denied administratively. In either case, a subsequent application for asylum must fully explain the circumstances surrounding the previous application and the disposition or status of the previous application. This explanation may be incorporated in the applicant’s affidavit, particularly if it is a lengthy explanation and if it helps explain other parts of the case such as the applicant’s fear of return to their country.

It is worth noting here that some individuals with true LGBTQ/H based asylum claims may previously have had weak, frivolous or fraudulent asylum applications filed on their behalf on other grounds. These previous applications may have been filed by an attorney or non-attorney (such as a “notario”) in order to obtain employment authorization for the applicant without fully explaining the nature of the documents being filed. It is, therefore, vital that an applicant fully explain the reasoning behind the previous application.

2. A. After leaving the country from which you are claiming asylum, did you or your spouse or child(ren), who are now in the United States, travel through or reside in any other country before entering the United States?

The purpose of this question is to determine whether the applicant could have sought or could currently seek asylum or other lawful immigration status in another country while en route to the United States during this most recent . Asylum is meant to be an application of last resort; if the applicant had or has a reasonable opportunity to safely relocate elsewhere, that is a ground for the United States to deny the asylum application.

This question inquires both as to whether the applicant resided in another country and as to whether the applicant traveled through another country. If the applicant traveled briefly through another country (for example a Guatemalan traveled overland across Mexico), it is unlikely that the Asylum Officer would question why they did not seek asylum there. If, however, the applicant traveled through another country that grants asylum to LGBTQ/H individuals, they should be prepared to explain why they did not seek asylum in that country. Likewise, if an applicant actually resided in another country before fleeing to the United States, they should explain why they did not seek asylum there. For example, if an Egyptian lived in Qatar before coming to the United States and applying for asylum, they could explain that sexual minorities are mistreated in Qatar as well.

2. B. Have you, your spouse, your child(ren), or other family members such as your parents or siblings ever applied for or received any lawful status in any country other than the one from which you are now claiming asylum?

The purpose of this question is to determine whether the applicant could have sought or could currently seek asylum or other lawful immigration status in another country based on familial relationship with someone having such status. It is important to be truthful—but in most cases, because LGBTQ/H applicants have little family support, they are not expected to seek derivative status through family members.

3. Have you, your spouse, or child(ren) ever ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in causing harm or suffering to any person because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or belief in a particular political opinion?

This question again addresses mandatory bars to asylum. In the vast majority of cases, the answer to this question will be “No.” If the applicant did participate in persecuting others, for example, during mandatory military service or forced guerilla service, they should explain in detail why they were forced to carry out such actions.

4. After you left the country where you were harmed or fear harm, did you return to that country?

In this question, you must account for every previous return trip to the applicant’s country of origin. There are many situations which might lead to an asylum applicant to return to their home country after having left it. Because many LGBTQ/H asylum applicants don’t know that their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or HIV status can be the basis of an asylum claim, many individuals return to their countries to comply with the terms of their visas. Some applicants make regular trips to and from the United States to receive HIV medical treatment here. Other applicants, such as students, may not have experienced persecution in their countries until they’ve had the chance to live in the United States and “come out.”

The applicant must anticipate that the Asylum Officer will question why they are afraid to return to their country now, if they willingly returned in the past. They should address such questions in this answer on the form.

5. Are you filing the application more than 1 year after your last arrival in the United States?

If the answer to this question is “Yes,” you should explain in detail why the applicant did not file within the one-year filing deadline. Missing the deadline means the asylum application will be denied unless the applicant can demonstrate an exception to the one-year filing deadline. It is important to state succinctly but with adequate detail the applicant’s claimed exception to the one-year filing deadline in this section. The two categories of filing deadline exceptions are for “changed circumstances” and/or “extraordinary circumstances.” If the applicant has missed the one-year filing deadline, please see Section # 5 for a detailed discussion of the one-year filing deadline and possible exceptions. It is also important to understand that even if the applicant meets an exception to the one-year deadline, they must file “within a reasonable period of time” after the exception is activated. The answer to this question should therefore also briefly address the reasonableness of the period of time.

In general, an applicant should not file for asylum affirmatively if they have missed the one-year filing deadline, unless they have a strong argument for a filing deadline exception.

6. Have you or any member of your family included in the application ever committed any crime and/or been arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced for any crimes in the United States?

It is very important that the applicant answer this question truthfully. The applicant must answer “Yes” if they were ever arrested, even if they were never charged or convicted. Thus, even if a criminal case was dismissed and sealed, the applicant must answer “Yes.”

If an applicant was convicted of a “particularly serious crime,” they will not eligible for asylum or withholding of removal. If you are not certain whether a crime that the applicant committed would affect their asylum eligibility, research this issue thoroughly before filing the application. For more information on criminal bars to asylum eligibility, see Section # 6.2.

Part E. Your Signature

The applicant must sign and date the application, attach one photograph to page 9, and write their name in their native alphabet if the alphabet is different from English. If the applicant’s spouse, parent or child assisted in preparing the application, that person must write their name on the form. If the application was prepared by an attorney or accredited representative, the “Yes” box should be checked in answer to the question “Did someone other than your spouse, parent, or child(ren) prepare this application?” The applicant should also check the appropriate box to the next question about whether or not they have been provided with a list of free or low cost attorneys (if you are an attorney providing pro bono representation, the answer is “Yes!). Failure to check a box, even if it’s not particularly relevant to the claim, can lead to the entire application being returned to the applicant.

The applicant should read the certification written above the signature line which indicates the penalties for false statement of material fact and the applicant should carefully read the “WARNING” that applicants for asylum may be subject to removal (i.e., deportation) if asylum and withholding claims are not granted.

Part E. Declaration of Person Preparing Form if Other than Applicant, Spouse, Parent, or Child

If the applicant is represented by an attorney, the attorney should complete and sign this part. The attorney must also complete a Notice of Appearance Form (G-28) (preferably on blue paper) to be recognized as the attorney of record.

Nevertheless, if an attorney assists an applicant to complete the application, even if the attorney does not intend to represent the applicant, they must sign the form and supply contact information here.

Part F. To Be Completed at Interview or Hearing

The applicant will be asked to complete and sign this part at the interview or before the Immigration Judge to re-affirm that the application and documentation attached are true.

This Manual is intended to provide information to attorneys and accredited representatives. It is not intended as legal advice. Asylum seekers should speak with qualified attorneys before applying.


  1. 8 U.S.C. 1158(d)(5)(A)(ii). 
  2. See CIS, Affirmative Asylum Procedures Manual at pp. 43–44 (http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/nativedocuments/Asylum_Procedures_Manual_2013.pdf). 

The information contained herein is for reference only and may not be up to date. It does not constitute legal advice. You should always consult an attorney regarding your matter.

This handbook is intended for use by pro bono attorneys and immigration attorneys working on LGBTQ/HIV asylum cases.


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