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Starting from September 13, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires affirmative asylum applicants who are not fluent in English or wish to proceed with their interview in a language other than English to bring their own interpreter. The only exception to this requirement is for sign language interpreters, as USCIS will continue to provide them as a disability accommodation. If you need a sign language interpreter, follow the instructions on your interview notice to request this accommodation.
If you fail to bring an interpreter or your interpreter is not fluent in English and a language you speak, and you do not establish good cause, it may be considered a failure to appear for your interview. As a result, your asylum application may be dismissed or referred to an immigration judge. Determination of good cause will be made on a case-by-case basis.
The interpreter you bring must be fluent in English and a language you speak fluently. Additionally, the interpreter must be at least 18 years old and not be:
– A relative or friend of yours
– Someone who has an interest in your asylum case
– Someone who has an advocacy or legal role in your case
– The USCIS asylum officer assigned to conduct your interview
It is important to note that the requirement for affirmative asylum applicants to use USCIS-contracted telephonic interpreters during interviews, which was implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will expire on September 12, 2023. USCIS will be returning to the prior regulatory requirement for applicants to provide their own interpreter as outlined in 8 CFR 208.9(g).
For more information and updates, refer to the official website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: USCIS.gov.
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