Translating Your Immigration Documents Into English

When filing an application for the United States immigrant visa, the applicant must submit supporting documents to accompany their application. If these documents are in any language other than English, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services requires that the documents must be converted into English. It is important to make sure that the translation of immigration documents is done professionally. This article will guide you through the process of immigration document translation to help you understand what exactly is required for you to make an accurate translation.

Why The USCIS Requires Translation Of Immigration Documents

In the United States, English is the widely spoken and written language. Documents submitted to a United States government agency are required to be in English so that they can easily be interpreted and understood. A professional translator can help you with the English translation without losing the meaning of a document’s content. Even though the applicant may be conversant with the English language, self-document interpretations are not advisable. An applicant may hire a translation service to translate their foreign language document.

Immigration Documents That Require Certified Translation Services

The USCIS requires that all documents submitted for immigration purposes must be translated into English if it is not the original language of the document. These documents may include the following:

  • A birth certificate
  • A marriage certificate
  • Police records
  • Divorce papers
  • Bank Statements
  • Academic diplomas and degrees

What Does A Certified Translation Mean?

The U.S government advises that document translations should be done by a certified translator. The reason behind this is to avoid any falsification of information during the process of immigration document translation. The person that translates a document into English will be required to sign a certification statement that declares that the translation is accurate and legible to the best of their knowledge.

A certified translation for immigration purposes, therefore, is a declaration by the translator that their work is validated and competent. It is not a requirement that the person translating a document must be a translation expert, but they need proof that the translator is proficient in the both English Language and the foreign language. A certification statement must accompany the documents requested to consider the translation as one that is certified.

Details Of A Certification Statement

A certification statement typically entails details about the translator and their authenticity. It needs to include the following information:

  • The translator’s full name, and signature
  • The translator’s declaration that the translation made is accurate to the best of their ability
  • The translator’s qualifications and competencies certificate

How To Tell Whether Your Document Has Been Effectively Translated

A well-translated document must ensure that the translation is complete. No piece of information should be left out including the dates, signatures, serial numbers, stamps, and so on. An incomplete translation may be rejected.

The correctness of the translation is also important. Translating a document from its original language requires some experience from a qualified translator, who would know the exact correct words to use without changing the legal meaning of a word.

Finally, the papers must be backed up with a certified translation document declaring the translator’s competency in the job.

Importance Of Birth Certificate Translation

The birth certificate is one of the most common documents required by any government agency when processing paperwork for immigration purposes. It is sufficient proof of a person’s place of birth, identity, and citizenship. This document must be translated into English, word for word, by a certified translator. The USCIS has more specific requirements for the translation of this document, which requires that the translation is in its long-form, capturing the following details:

  • The holder’s full name
  • The holder’s date of birth
  • The holder’s place of birth
  • The full names of the holder’s parents
  • A seal proving that the certificate is a valid record

USCIS Translation Requirements

The basic translation requirements stipulated by the US government for immigration purposes are completeness, accuracy, and competency of the translator. In general, the following are the requirements for a foreign language document translation:

  • A certification statement that proves proficiency in English and the native language of the translated documents.
  • The certification statement should include the name, address, date, and signature of the translator
  • The certification statement should state the name of the document that has been converted
  • The translation must be submitted as a typed document and not handwritten
  • Where there is no clarity of words in the document, the translator needs to indicate that it is “not legible” to the best of their knowledge
  • There is a need for the newly-translated document to maintain the original format of the foreign language document

Read more: How To Avoid Immigration Pitfalls

Who Can Translate An Immigration Document?

Any person who is proficient in the English language and in the foreign language can translate a document for the USCIS. However, the applicant cannot do the translations on their own nor have a family member do it. If you are in doubt, you may need to get a translation service provider to translate your papers. Several language translation companies offer great services in line with all the requirements of USCIS.

USCIS no longer requires that translations need to be notarized. As long as the translation meets all the other requirements as stipulated, the application may be acceptable.

Why It Is Important To Hire Translation Services For Your Immigration Application Papers

Even though the law does not bind an immigration applicant to get professional translation services, it is best to have your translations pass through an experienced service provider. The advantages of this decision are:

Your Translations Will Be Accurate

Picking the right words for a legal document without altering their meaning can be a challenge. A linguistic expert can carefully choose the correct wording to make sure your document is accurately translated.

USCIS Certified Translations

Some documents have specific requirements for their translation. Despite an applicant’s proficiency in both languages, the USCIS does not accept a self translated birth certificate as supporting evidence of an immigration application. A converted version of this document should bear a seal that proves it as an official record of the certificate’s issuing office. This can only be obtained by a recognized linguistic translation service provider.

Confidentiality Of Information

Translation services providers ensure that they keep the confidentiality of the translation application. Their clients are entitled to privacy. The professionalism of a translation service ensures that this privacy is not intruded throughout the process.

All Standards Of Immigration Services Are Observed

Translation service providers are always aware of a government agency’s translation requirements. They are always updated with new procedures if need be, that any other person may not be aware of.

Frequently Asked Questions About Translation Of Immigration Documents

This article has covered most of the facts about the immigration document translations. If you have further questions that you may need clarity on, these set of questions and answers may help you understand better.

Can I Translate My Own Papers for Immigration Application?

It is not a requirement that document translation must be done by an expert translator. If you choose to do it on your own, then you have to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that you are proficient in English and the other language. Ultimately, the decision to accept the documents entirely lies with the officers responsible for the approvals.

What Should I Look For In An Immigration Translation Service Provider?

Not every linguistic translation company is approved for immigration documents translation. If you have picked a translator, be sure to ask them if they are competent to do an English translation in accordance with the guidelines of the immigration services USCIS.

What Are The Reasons For Rejecting Translated Documents?

The decision for accepting or rejecting a translation document solely belongs to the USCIS. Some obvious reasons relating to failure to meet their stipulated requirements may lead to rejection. Anything that gives reasons to doubt the authenticity of the translated documents such as inaccuracy, omissions, and inconsistencies in the documents may lead to rejection. Also, if the certification statement fails to convince the officers of the competency of the translator, the immigration case may not be accepted.

What Are The Consequences Of A Rejected Translation Document?

Before any translated documents are rejected, the USCIS will ask the applicant for more evidence pertaining to the filled paperwork. This is called a Request For Evidence (RFE). The request has to be provided on time, otherwise, the delay may lead to the denial of the case.

Such an outcome leads to the delay of your application and may go for months or years before you can reapply with the correctly translated, accurate, and authentic documents.

How To Avoid Rejections Of Translated Documents

The best way of ensuring that your paperwork meets the immigration translation requirements is to follow all the procedures provided by USCIS. Seeking an expert’s assistance may be a good decision to make since they have a keener eye for the details that are often scrutinized by the USCIS. The translation experts also stand a better chance of competency approval compared to any random individual.


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