USCIS Issues New Implement New Interpreter Policy on May 1, 2017

USCIS has issued a new Policy Memorandum regarding the use of interpreters during Field Office Interviews. The new policy took effect on May 1, 2017.

In accordance with the Policy Memorandum all translators must fill out a Form G-1256, Declaration for Interpreted USCIS Interview PRIOR to the actual interview. The Declaration of the interpreter MUST BE SIGNED IN THE PRESENCE OF THE OFFICER AFTER BEING PLACED UNDER OATH.

The new Policy Memorandum does NOT apply to asylum interviews, credible fear interviews, interviews in overseas offices, or interviews for which USCIS provides an interpreter.

This Policy Memorandum does NOT require that applicants provide their own interpreter for field office interviews. It provides guidance for who may be an interpreter at interviews where the field office cannot provide an interpreter or when the applicant wishes to bring their own interpreter.

Requirements to Serve as Interpreter:

1) Interpreter must be fluent in English and the interviewee's language.

2) The interpreter must be over the age of 18 (the officer may allow a child ages 14-17 to serve as an interpreter if there is an exception for good cause).

3) The interpreter must not be a witness in the case (unless there is an exception made for good cause).

People Who May Not Serve As Interpreters:

1) Attorneys.

2) individuals under the age of 14.


A derivative beneficiary MAY serve as an interpreter if the officer determines that they are capable of providing an unbiassed translation.

Children over the age of 14 and older may translate with an exception for good cause at the discretion of the officer.

Interpreters shall not be permitted for naturalization interviews without establishing eligibility for an exemption to reading, writing, and speaking english.

What are Exceptions for Good Cause?

Confidential Medical Conditions - Interviewees with certain medication conditions may not want to share sensitive information with unfamiliar interpreter. Must provide proof of medical condition.

VAWA Interviewes - Obviously may not want to disclose sensitive information about spousal abuse to unfamiliar interpreter. Must be an I-360 petition.

Physical or Mental Disabilities - This includes developmental disabilities. These interviewees may be more responsive to a familiar interpreter. Must provide doctor or social service letter in support of claimed disability.

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