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Will the U.S. accept asylees who do not speak English?

Your journey to gain asylum in the United States may be an emotional experience, but it is worth it if you escape the difficult circumstances you have fled from. However, someone you know may have a harder road to gaining asylum because they do not speak English fluently. 

If you have a family member or friend who has not mastered the English language and fears a denial of asylum for that reason, now is not the time to lose hope. The United States does accept asylees even if they cannot speak English. It just requires taking the right steps to complete the asylum process. 

Have an interpreter

As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services website points out, you or whoever else you know that seeks asylum will go through an asylum interview. If you have problems with the English language, you may bring along an interpreter. Bear in mind that the USCIS does not provide interpreters. It is up to you to have an interpreter accompany you to the interview. 

Additionally, be aware that some people cannot serve as your interpreter. The person you bring with you must be no younger than 18 years old and must speak English and your language fluently. Also, your interpreter cannot be your attorney or your representative of record. Other disqualifications include individuals who represent or work for your home country or a witness that will testify for you during the interview. 

Have translated documents

You may have documents supporting your case that are in the language of your home country. These may include your birth certificate, marriage certificate and bank statements. However, you must still present these documents to the U.S. government in English. 

In this case, you must have your home language documents translated into English before presenting them. These documents must also have certifications testifying to their translation. These and other steps may help you or a loved one transcend the language barrier and secure asylum status in the United States.