Temporary Final Rule Change

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently announced a notice for affirmative asylum applicants. The temporary final rule has been put in place to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) by using government-contracted telephonic interpreters for affirmative asylum interviews at no cost to the applicant.

This temporary final rule changes for the next 180 days the requirement that asylum applicants who do not speak English must bring an interpreter to their affirmative asylum interview. 

Under the modified regulation, USCIS will temporarily require applicants to proceed with a USCIS contract interpreter, provided the applicant is fluent in one of the 47 different languages available.

Interpreters Available at No Cost

The government-contracted interpreters will be provided at no cost to asylum applicants. The interpreters are carefully vetted and tested. Additionally, they must also pass rigorous background checks as well as meet a high standard of competency. The contract interpreters already regularly serve as interpreters for border screening interviews and act as interpreter monitors or occasionally serve as the primary interpreter during affirmative asylum interviews. 

Asylum applicants who are unable to proceed with the interview in English or any of the available languages listed must continue to provide their own interpreter.

The temporary rule will amend existing Department of Homeland Security regulations for 180 days and goes into effect on Sept. 23. On March 23, 2021. However, asylum applicants unable to proceed with the interview in English will again be required to provide their own interpreter. 

Uncertainty and fear of returning to your country may qualify you to apply for Asylum.  If you are granted asylum, you may petition to bring your spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 to the United States, within 2 years of being granted asylum. You may also apply for lawful permanent resident status (Green Card) one year after you have been granted asylum.Contact Usto schedule a consultation and learn about your options.

For more information, read the temporary final rule published in the Federal Register on Sept. 23.