(Updated: 07-19-2023) Do you need birth certificate translations for USCIS or an immigration interview? Take a deep breath, and relax; we’ll help you understand translation requirements for documents for immigration interviews. As an immigrant myself, I’m cheering for your success. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about certified translations valid for USCIS.
But first, if you are looking for immigration translations online right away, you can fill out the form below. Otherwise, keep reading below for more information about USCIS certified translations.
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If you are wondering . . .
- Where can I get my birth certificate translated and notarized?
- Who can translate a birth certificate for immigration?
- What are USCIS translation requirements for immigration documents?
. . . we’ll give you the information you need to know in the article below.
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Why a USCIS Certified Translation?
If you’re interested in immigrating to the United States, you will have to process your immigration application through USCIS, which stands for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. In order to successfully apply for citizenship or immigration, USCIS certified translation of birth certificates and other documents are required. For example, if you are enrolling yourself or your foreign-born child in school, or getting a visa, a social security card, a passport, or any other identification form, you will be required to submit USCIS certified translated document(s).
As the USCIS Policy Manual states in Chapter 4 — Documentation, “Each foreign birth certificate must include a certified English translation.” This article will explain what certified translation means in simple language so you can ensure that your translated documents are accepted by USCIS.
What Does Certified Translation Mean?
“Certified translation” means that the translation comes with a signed letter provided by a translation company swearing that a qualified translator performed the service and is a correct and accurate translation of the original document. That’s all. Simple as that. The certification carries legal weight, and it distinguishes the certified translation from a document that was translated informally such as by a family member, by one’s self, or by Google Translate. USCIS approved translation services will provide certified translations so that they are regarded as official documents for immigration.
No matter the country, visas, passports, and birth certificates are all legal documents requiring certified translation services. Thus, you cannot translate them yourself or have a friend or family member do it for you—not even if they are fluent in many languages or are professional translators themselves.
Translating birth certificates or other documents yourself or having a family member translate them for you does not comply with USCIS requirements. You must use the services of a qualified professional translator to translate immigration documents.
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What Are USCIS Translation Requirements?
So again, why pay someone for birth certificate translation for getting your green card or immigrant visa? Can’t you translate it yourself?
A birth certificate, marriage certificate, or any other legal document translation for USCIS has to be accompanied by a legal certification document.
In other words, any document translation for citizenship or immigration must be a certified translation. Certified translation services for USCIS provide the translated documents together with a signed certification letter swearing that a qualified translator performed the service and that it is a correct and accurate translation of the original document.
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All documents submitted in support of an application or petition must include complete translation into English. In addition, there must be a certification from the translator indicating that the translation is complete and accurate and attesting to his or her competence as a translator.
The Department of Justice Immigration Court Practice Manual in chapter 3.3 gives more detail on what the U.S. government considers to be a valid certified translation for immigration:
A certification must include a statement that the translator is competent to translate the language of the document and that the translation is true and accurate to the best of the translator’s abilities. If the certification is used for multiple documents, the certification must specify the documents. The translator’s address and telephone number must be included.
If you fail to provide either the translated document or certificate of translation, there will be a delay with your immigration process, or your application will be rejected altogether. Your file or solicitation may also be rejected if there are any errors or mistakes found in the translation, which is why it’s always best to trust a professional translator with the right credentials.
USCIS Approved Translation
A USCIS approved translation of your birth certificate should include the following information:
- Full Name (First and Last)
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth
- Parents’ Full Names
- A seal that verifies it’s an official record from the office where it was issued
Essentially, you will need to provide a copy of the original document and the certified translation copy in English.
The translation must include every single part of the original document, including any dashes, signatures, stamps, etc. And it should visually match the same format as well. So, if the official seal is on the bottom right of the original, then the translated version should also have it.
If some text on the document is unreadable, it should be marked “illegible.”
Does USCIS Require Notarized Translation?
Your USCIS translations of birth certificates and other documents must be certified, but they do not necessarily have to be notarized. According to the official rules of the USCIS, a translation does not need notarization. It may be required when sending documents from abroad. But it’s not necessary for supporting documents for immigrant visa or residency applications, or citizenship.
What Are Notarized Translation Services?
“Notarized translation” refers to a certified translation whose certification document has been notarized. That means that the representative of the certified document translation services company has signed the certification letter attesting to the accuracy of the translation, and then an official notary public observes the signing of the document and then stamps and signs the document himself or herself to witness the signing. The purpose of notarization is threefold; it attests identity, willingness and awareness of the signer.
Translations: Don’t Break the Rules
As mentioned before, you don’t want to submit documents that do not comply with the USCIS translation requirements. Doing so will lead to delays and possibly additional costs.
Be sure to understand the current requirements of USCIS and make sure to request that your translation provider complies with those requirements when it provides you with translations.
At IVANNOVATION we frequently provide translations of legal documents such as driver’s licenses, birth certificates, police records, marriage certificates, bank records, and so on for our customers to use for their immigration needs.
They use the translations in conjunction with a variety of USCIS forms such as,
- Change of status filing: I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- Investment visa application: I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor
- Request of status for relative of refugee: I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition
- Request for authorization to work: I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Remove marriage condition from status: I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
- And many more
It’s important to note that IVANNOVATION is not a law firm. We are in no way authorized to provide you with legal advice for your immigration proceedings.
But we can provide certified translations for use at the USCIS office.
What About Other Document Translations?
Check out our other articles on official document translations:
How to get a driver’s license translation for the DMV.
Marriage Certificate Translation Services: Is My Foreign Marriage Certificate Valid in the USA?
Besides USCIS Translation of Birth Certificates, What Other Documents Often Need Translation?
Any supporting document required of you or your spouse for the green card or visa process, not written in English, must be accompanied by a certified translation. Passports do not need translation, but the following documents may need certified translations if requested:
- Bank Statements
- Marriage Certificate
- Divorce Papers
- Police Records
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How Much Do USCIS Translation Services Cost?
In the translation market, different languages have different translation rates. That means that the cost of USCIS translation of birth certificates and other legal documents can vary depending on several factors.
To get a quote for the cost of translating your birth certificate or other document, scan or photograph the document and send it to us via our quotes page. After we look at your file, we can provide you with a free quote for USCIS document translation. Then with your approval, we can start translating right away and email you the final translation. We can also mail a physical document to you accompanied by a signed certification letter.
Getting certified translations for your USCIS required documents is essential for a foreigner immigrating to the United States. Some of us at IVANNOVATION are immigrants, and we have all lived abroad. We understand the challenges of living in another country. That’s why we are eager to make the transition smoother for our customers who find themselves away from home.
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Q&A: Questions about Translations for USCIS?
Click on the questions below for brief answers. Have a question that’s not answered here? Leave a comment and we’ll answer you as soon as possible!
If you need USCIS certified translation services, please contact us here, and we’ll respond promptly with a quote and turnaround time.
About the Authors:
Gisel Olivares, Content Editor + Creator + Curator at her online business, GeeOlives. GeeOlives provides social media management, copywriting and editing, web customization and development, and graphic design, among other related services to small businesses, nonprofits, and sustainable brands. She has a love for languages, traveling, social media, and writing. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and still working on perfecting her French while living in France for more than three years.
Darren Jansen, Business development and content manager for IVANNOVATION, has a lifetime love for tech and languages. At IVANNOVATION he helps software developers get professional localization for their apps, software, and websites. On his time away from the office, he can be found hiking the Carolina wilderness or reading Chinese literature.
(Updated: 07/19/2023 by IVANNOVATION)
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