Who should accompany me to my asylum interview?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2018 | US Immigration Law

Going through an asylum interview can be stressful. But having the right people on your side, supporting you through the process, can provide real benefits both to your nerves and to the outcome of the interview.

Here are three people you may want to consider bringing with you to your interview:

Your family: If you listed any dependents on your asylum application—your spouse or any children under 21—these family members must attend the asylum interview with you.

Your attorney: You have the right to an attorney, and this attorney may accompany you to the asylum interview. Your attorney can also provide real advantages to you in other ways, by helping you to prepare for your asylum interview and training you on what to expect.

Your interpreter: The asylum interview is conducted in English, so you must speak English well enough to answer all questions in the language. If you do not feel confident enough in your language skills to answer entirely in English, then you must provide an interpreter to attend the interview with you. Your interpreter cannot be:

  • Under 18 years old
  • Your attorney or representative
  • A witness who will be testifying on your behalf
  • An employee or representative of your country’s government

The USCIS may provide their own interpreter at your asylum interview, but their purpose is not to assist with direct interpretation. Instead, their role is to monitor the interpreter you provided to ensure that their interpretations are accurate and neutral.

As noted above, the USCIS will not provide you with an interpreter. The only exception to this rule is if you are hearing impaired—in which case a sign language interpreter will be provided. You must provide notice that you require such an interpreter in advance of your interview.