Asylum seekers must have their own interpreters from September 2023.
In March 2023, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a temporary final rule expanding the requirement that certain asylum seekers must use a USCIS-contracted telephone interpreter.
This is to maintain the safety of its staff and applicants during the public health emergency caused by COVID-19.
Effective September 12, 2023, if you are an asylum seeker and are unable to participate in your approved asylum interview in English, you may be required to use a USCIS contracted interpreter for your interview instead of your own interpreter to bring along.
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If a USCIS contracted interpreter is not available, they may, at their discretion, allow you to bring an interpreter to your confirming asylum interview.
The contract interpreters provide their services over the phone, which has reduced the number of people visiting USCIS facilities.
USCIS requires hiring an interpreter from the agency
During this renewal period, if you are fluent in any of the languages listed below and do not speak English, you must use a USCIS contracted interpreter, which we provide free of charge. asylum interview.
USCIS contracted interpreters are carefully vetted and must meet high standards of competence.
If you refuse to use a USCIS contracted interpreter, we will assume that you failed to appear without good cause and will deny or refer your request to immigration court.
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Requirements that your own interpreter must meet
If you are not fluent in any of the languages listed below, you will need to bring an interpreter to your asylum interview who is fluent in English and your mother tongue or another language you master. Your interpreter must be 18 years or older and must not:
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These are the languages of USCIS interpreters
USCIS contract interpreters are available for these 47 languages:
If you require an interpreter for any of the 47 languages listed above, but no contract interpreter is available, we will reschedule your interview and attribute the interview delay to USCIS for employment licensing purposes under 8 CFR 208.7 or, in their sole discretion you are able to provide an interpreter for the interview.
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