Effective September 13, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has introduced a crucial change for affirmative asylum applicants regarding interpreter services during asylum interviews. Here are the key details:
- Affirmative asylum applicants who are not fluent in English or prefer to use a language other than English during their interview must bring their own interpreter.
- Sign language interpreters are an exception to this requirement, and USCIS will continue to provide them as a disability accommodation. Please follow the instructions on your interview notice to request a sign language interpreter if needed.
Consequences of Non-compliance:
- Failure to bring an interpreter, or bringing an interpreter who is not fluent in English and the language you speak, may result in USCIS considering it as a failure to appear for your interview.
- Consequences of non-compliance may include the dismissal of your asylum application or referral of your case to an immigration judge.
- USCIS will assess good cause for non-compliance on a case-by-case basis.
- Your interpreter must be fluent in English and proficient in the language you speak.
- The interpreter must be at least 18 years old.
- Excluded individuals from serving as interpreters include your attorney, accredited representative, witnesses testifying on your behalf, representatives or employees of your country of nationality (or last habitual residence if stateless), and individuals with pending asylum applications who have not yet been interviewed.
It’s essential for affirmative asylum applicants to be aware of these changes and ensure compliance with the new interpreter requirement for a smooth asylum interview process.