8 CFR § 208.9 - Procedure for interview before an asylum officer.

§ 208.9 Procedure for interview before an asylum officer.

(a) The Service shall adjudicate the claim of each asylum applicant whose application is complete within the meaning of § 208.3(c)(3) and is within the jurisdiction of the Service.

(b) The asylum officer shall conduct the interview in a nonadversarial manner and, except at the request of the applicant, separate and apart from the general public. The purpose of the interview shall be to elicit all relevant and useful information bearing on the applicant's eligibility for asylum. At the time of the interview, the applicant must provide complete information regarding his or her identity, including name, date and place of birth, and nationality, and may be required to register this identity. The applicant may have counsel or a representative present, may present witnesses, and may submit affidavits of witnesses and other evidence.

(c) The asylum officer shall have authority to administer oaths, verify the identity of the applicant (including through the use of electronic means), verify the identity of any interpreter, present and receive evidence, and question the applicant and any witnesses.

(d) Completion of the interview. Upon completion of the interview:

(1) The applicant or the applicant's representative will have an opportunity to make a statement or comment on the evidence presented. The asylum officer may, in his or her discretion, limit the length of such statement or comment and may require its submission in writing.

(2) USCIS will inform the applicant that he or she must appear in person to receive and to acknowledge receipt of the decision of the asylum officer and any other accompanying material at a time and place designated by the asylum officer, except as otherwise provided by the asylum officer. An applicant's failure to appear to receive and acknowledge receipt of the decision will be treated as delay caused by the applicant for purposes of 8 CFR 208.7.

(e) Extensions. The asylum officer will consider evidence submitted by the applicant together with his or her asylum application. The applicant must submit any documentary evidence at least 14 calendar days in advance of the interview date. As a matter of discretion, the asylum officer may consider evidence submitted within the 14-day period prior to the interview date or may grant the applicant a brief extension of time during which the applicant may submit additional evidence. Any such extension will be treated as a delay caused by the applicant for purposes of § 208.7.

(f) The asylum application, all supporting information provided by the applicant, any comments submitted by the Department of State or by the Service, and any other information specific to the applicant's case and considered by the asylum officer shall comprise the record.

(g) An applicant unable to proceed with the interview in English must provide, at no expense to the Service, a competent interpreter fluent in both English and the applicant's native language or any other language in which the applicant is fluent. The interpreter must be at least 18 years of age. Neither the applicant's attorney or representative of record, a witness testifying on the applicant's behalf, nor a representative or employee of the applicant's country of nationality, or if stateless, country of last habitual residence, may serve as the applicant's interpreter. Failure without good cause to comply with this paragraph may be considered a failure to appear for the interview for purposes of § 208.10.

(h) Asylum Applicant Interpreters for asylum interviews conducted between September 23, 2020, through March 22, 2021.

(1) Asylum applicants unable to proceed with the interview in English must use USCIS's telephonic interpreter services, so long as the applicant is fluent in one of the following languages: Akan, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Burmese, Cantonese, Creole/Haitian Creole, Farsi-Afghani/Dari, Farsi-Iranian, Foo Chow/Fuzhou, French, Georgian, Gujarati, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesia/Bahasa, Konjobal, Korean, Kurdish, Lingala, Mam, Mandarin, Nepali, Pashto/Pushtu, Portuguese, Punjabi, Quiche/K'iche, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhalese, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Tigrinya, Turkish, Twi, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, or Vietnamese.

(i) If a USCIS interpreter is unavailable at the time of the interview, USCIS will reschedule the interview and attribute the interview delay to USCIS for the purposes of employment authorization pursuant to 8 CFR 208.7.

(ii) Except as provided in paragraph (h)(1)(iii) of this section, if an applicant is fluent in a language listed in this paragraph (h)(1) but refuses to proceed with the USCIS interpreter in order to use his or her own interpreter, USCIS will consider this a failure without good cause to comply with this paragraph (h)(1). The applicant will be considered to have failed to appear for the interview for the purposes of 8 CFR 208.10.

(iii) If the applicant elects to proceed in a language that is not listed in this paragraph (h)(1), the applicant must provide a competent interpreter fluent in both English and the applicant's native language or any other language in which the applicant is fluent. If an applicant is unable to provide an interpreter fluent in English and the elected language not listed in this paragraph (h)(1), the applicant may provide an interpreter fluent in the elected language and one found in this paragraph (h)(1). USCIS will provide a relay interpreter to interpret between the language listed in this paragraph (h)(1) and English. The interpreter must be at least 18 years of age. Neither the applicant's attorney or representative of record, a witness testifying on the applicant's behalf, nor a representative or employee of the applicant's country of nationality, or if stateless, country of last habitual residence, may serve as the applicant's interpreter. Failure without good cause to comply with this paragraph may be considered a failure to appear for the interview for purposes of 8 CFR 208.10.

(2) [Reserved]

[62 FR 10337, Mar. 6, 1997, as amended at 65 FR 76133, Dec. 6, 2000; 76 FR 53784, Aug. 29, 2011; 85 FR 38627, June 26, 2020; 85 FR 59660, Sept. 23, 2020]
Effective Date Note:
At 85 FR 59660, Sept. 23, 2020, § 208.9 was amended by adding paragraph (h), effective Sept. 23, 2020, through Mar. 22, 2021.