U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services wishes to inform affirmative asylum applicants that starting from September 13, 2023, it is mandatory to have an interpreter present during your asylum interview if you are not proficient in English or if you prefer to conduct the interview in a language other than English.
If you require an interpreter and fail to bring one, or if the interpreter you bring is not proficient in both English and a language you are fluent in, without establishing valid reasons, it may be considered as a failure to attend your interview. Consequently, your asylum application could be dismissed, or it may be referred to an immigration judge. The determination of valid reasons will be made on a case-by-case basis.
The interpreter should possess fluency in both English and a language that you are proficient in and should be at least 18 years old. However, the interpreter must not fall into any of the following categories:
1. Your legal representative or accredited representative.
2. A witness providing testimony on your behalf.
3. A representative or employee of your home country’s government (or, if you are stateless, the government of your last habitual residence).
4. An individual with a pending asylum application who has not yet undergone an interview.
On September 23, 2020, a temporary final rule (TFR) was issued, mandating that affirmative asylum applicants utilize contracted telephonic interpreters provided by USCIS for their asylum interviews, instead of bringing their own interpreter. This measure was taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during asylum interviews conducted by USCIS asylum officers, in response to the national emergency and public health crisis related to COVID-19. Four subsequent TFRs extended this requirement, with the current extension in effect until September 12, 2023. The fourth extension allowed for additional time after the end of the national and public health emergencies to transition back to the previous regulatory requirement. As the TFR expires, USCIS will return to the longstanding regulatory requirement, which stipulates that an affirmative asylum applicant must provide their own interpreter as outlined in 8 CFR 208.9(g).
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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is issuing policy guidance in our Policy Manual to clarify the types of evidence that we may evaluate to determine eligibility for extraordinary ability (E11) and outstanding professor or researcher (E12) EB-1 immigrant visa classifications.
The update adds clarifying guidance describing examples of evidence that may satisfy the relevant evidentiary criteria or qualify as comparable evidence, as well as considerations for evaluating such evidence, with a focus on science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields. The new guidance provides more clarity and transparency and should assist petitioners in submitting appropriate evidence that may establish the beneficiary’s eligibility.
For more information, see the Policy Manual.