United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that starting September 13, 2023, affirmative asylum applicants must bring an interpreter to their asylum interview if they are not fluent in English or wish to proceed with their interview in a language other than English. If an affirmative asylum applicant needs an interpreter and does not bring one, or if their interpreter is not fluent in English and a language the applicant speaks, and the applicant does not establish good cause, USCIS may consider this a failure to appear for the interview and may dismiss the asylum application or refer the asylum application to an immigration judge. The USCIS will determine good cause on a case-by-case basis. 


Interpreter requirements: 


The interpreter must be fluent in English and a language the applicant speaks fluently and must be at least 18 years old. 


The interpreter must not be: 

  1. An individual with a pending asylum application who has not yet been interviewed

  2. The applicant's attorney or accredited representative

  3. A witness testifying on the applicant's behalf

  4. A representative or employee of the government of the applicant’s country of nationality (or, if they are stateless, their country of last habitual residence)