Monday, March 27, 2023

USCIS Extends Rule Providing Interpreters at Affirmative Asylum Interviews

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today a fourth extension to a temporary final rule (TFR) requiring use of a USCIS interpreter at certain affirmative asylum interviews. This TFR extends the requirement through Sept. 12, 2023. After that date, affirmative asylum applicants who cannot proceed with the interview in English must provide their own interpreters.

We anticipate the federal declaration of a public health emergency for COVID-19 will expire in May 2023. Extending this TFR until after that declaration expires will provide public notice that the TFR is expiring and help ensure an orderly and efficient return to prior practice.

Under the TFR, certain asylum applicants must use USCIS' contract telephonic interpreters instead of bringing their own interpreter to their affirmative asylum interview. USCIS contract interpreters are available in 47 languages, listed on the TFR webpage. There is no fee to use a government-provided interpreter. If an applicant does not speak English or any of the 47 languages listed, they must bring their own interpreter to the affirmative asylum interview.

This extension also retains a previous modification providing that in limited circumstances, if a USCIS interpreter is not available, we will either reschedule the affirmative asylum interview or, at our discretion, allow the applicant to provide an interpreter.

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