The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wishes to inform you of a crucial update regarding interpreter requirements for asylum interviews. Effective September 13, 2023, it is mandatory for affirmative asylum applicants who are not proficient in English or wish to conduct their interview in a language other than English to bring their own interpreter.
Exceptions to this requirement are limited to sign language interpreters, provided as a disability accommodation by USCIS. Please refer to your interview notice for guidance on requesting this accommodation.
In the absence of a proficient interpreter, or if the interpreter is not fluent in both English and your preferred language without establishing good cause, non-compliance may result in considering this as a failure to appear for your interview. Consequences may include the dismissal of your asylum application or referral to an immigration judge. Determination of good cause will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Key points to note:
- The interpreter must be fluent in both English and your preferred language.
- The interpreter must be at least 18 years old.
- The interpreter cannot be your attorney, accredited representative, a witness testifying on your behalf, a representative or employee of your government, or an individual with a pending asylum application who has not been interviewed.
It is essential to be aware that this adjustment follows the expiration of the temporary final rule (TFR) implemented on September 23, 2020. The TFR, initially in response to COVID-19, required the use of USCIS-contracted telephonic interpreters for asylum interviews. With the TFR's expiration, we are reverting to the regulatory requirement outlined in 8 CFR 208.9(g) for affirmative asylum applicants to provide their own interpreters.