USCIS announces Extension of Rule Providing Interpreters at Affirmative Asylum Interviews

USCIS announced a fourth extension to a temporary final rule (TFR) that requires a USCIS interpreter at certain affirmative asylum interviews. This rule extends until September 12th, 2023. After this date, asylum-seeking individuals who cannot communicate in English during the interview must bring their own interpreter.

USCIS anticipates that the federal declaration of a public health emergency for Coronavirus will end in May 2023. Extending the TFR after the declaration expires will give enough notice to the public of its expiration and facilitate a smooth return to prior practice.

As per the TFR, certain asylum applicants must use only USCIS contract telephonic interpreters rather than bringing their own interpreter to the interview. This is done to curb the spread of the deadly Coronavirus. USCIS telephonic interpreters are available in a total 47 languages, listed on the TFR webpage. There is no fee to use a government-provided interpreter. The applicant can bring his own interpreter in case he can not speak English or any of the 47 languages listed on the TFR web page.

The extension also retains the previous modification where it was stated that in some circumstances, if the USCIS interpreter is unavailable, USCIS will either reschedule the interview or (at the discretion of the USCIS) allow the asylum seeker to bring his own interpreter.

Source: USCIS website