Translation of Documents for Immigration Explained

Rapid Translate Team

Feb 07, 2024 | 8 min read

Immigration documents are necessary for settling into different countries. Most of these documents contain all the information about the immigrants from birth. Unfortunately, language barriers in different countries make it challenging for others to understand the contents of these documents. Translation of documents for immigration breaks through this barrier and facilitates understanding between the immigrant and the processing agency.

Translating legal documents from one language to another requires skill and accuracy. For the United States, getting an English translator is quite straightforward. However, there are certain translation requirements and additional certifications to make the immigration application successful. This article covers everything you need to know about the required translation of immigration documents.

A stack of documents.

Explaining the Translation of Documents for Immigration and Why It’s Important

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the agency in charge of legal immigration into the U.S. They oversee the smooth transition of anyone looking to study, work, or immigrate to the United States. 

Anyone looking to move to the country legally must make official immigration applications at this government agency. As expected, the applicant will need to submit some required legal documents.

However, applying for citizenship or naturalization at the USCIS is only possible with translating certain official documents. Coming from a different country means the applicant’s documents are in a foreign language. Therefore, all the foreign language documents will need USCIS-certified translation into English before submission to the USCIS. This translation makes it easy for their personnel to read and understand the information in these documents.

In addition, immigration paperwork is incomplete without adequate supporting documents. The agency will request evidence and a certification letter. So, application materials and supporting document translations need verification from a certified document translator

English translation and its certification are crucial to the entire process. The agency may delay or reject your application without these requirements.

The Importance of Certifying Translations of Immigration Documents

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The certification included in immigrants’ paperwork is a letter confirming the translator’s fluency in different languages. In this case, it concerns fluency in English and the language of the translated document. This certification letter confirms the accuracy of the translated documents. It should also include the translator’s full name, phone number, address, signature, and signing date.

The translator must type and sign the translation certification and attach it to the original documents. The certification must specify each document if it is effective for multiple documents. Each translated document needs separate certification by the translator. In addition, the paperwork must include an affidavit or declaration in English by an immigrant who doesn’t understand English.

It must also include a certificate of interpretation. This certificate should state that someone has read the affidavit or declaration to the person in a language they understand. The document must also indicate they understood its content before signing. The applicant must understand every document they submit to an immigration agency. Proper understanding will aid their document arrangement and memory of the paperwork.

Two people are signing documents on a wooden table.

Documents that Require Translation for Immigration

All documents required by the US government for immigration must be in English. A certificate of translation should accompany the documents to verify their accuracy.

Here is each required document:

  1. Birth certificates
  2. Divorce certificates (for previously married applicants)
  3. Marriage certificates
  4. Bank statement
  5. Academic transcripts
  6. Police record (detailing previous criminal history)
  7. Medical records

The USCIS usually requires complete and accurate document translation. So, you must capture all the details from the original language used in the document. While submitting your documents for immigration application, you need to get your paperwork right. 

First, you need a copy of the original documents in your home country’s official language.

Secondly, you need a word-for-word English translation of each original document with a certificate of translation. Although immigration officers may not be able to read the original language, they must do some comparison. 

During comparison, they use similar documents from the applicant’s home country to confirm their authenticity. If the applicant submits forged copies, the officer will know and may deny the application.

When submitting birth certificates, using a “long-form” version of the document is best. The long-form version provides detailed information about the applicant. Applicants can also submit “short-form” birth certificates if the long-form is unavailable. It is typical for government agencies worldwide to generate shorter versions of birth certificates.

The applicant only needs to compare the information on the shorter document with USCIS translation requirements. They should also be sure an official government agency generated the document. If the short-form document contains all the required information, the immigration agency will accept it.

Requirements for Immigration Document Translators

Translating legal documents is something anyone who understands both languages can do. However, everything official comes with rules, and government agencies abide by these rules. 

Since there are translation stipulations for immigration documents, knowing who can handle translations is best. The USCIS sets standards for people who can translate these legal documents.

The government agency only allows anyone fluent in the original and target language to take up the task. The applicant or other family members may translate the foreign language documents into English. 

However, the translator must write or type a certification letter indicating the accuracy of the translated documents. It isn’t ideal for people to translate their documents, even if they understand both languages adequately.

Certifying their English competency is an ordeal that may make or break the application process. The immigration officer overseeing applications will decide whether the translated documents are up to standard. 

If the translation doesn’t meet the requirements, the applicant may have to resubmit the document with a new translation. This complication will delay the application and processing.

Hence, sourcing a professional translation service is best to avoid delays or complications. A friend or family member with enough experience can also help you. On the other hand, some U.S. Embassies and consulates accept translators from certain agencies. Check the translation requirements for your home country before applying for immigration or a green card.

The word “English” is written in white on the edge of a blue signboard.

How To Find Professional Immigration Documents Translation Services

In the United States, any company or individual can certify a translation. There is no need for accreditation from an official organization such as the American Translators Association (ATA). However, machine translation services like Google Translate may not give accurate results.

USCIS often rejects such documents due to over-translation and wrong interpretations of names and addresses. Similarly, the USCIS can question translations from non-professionals if they don’t meet requirements. The best way to avoid complications is to hire a professional translator. Several agencies offer professional translation services with a competent translator.

The best place to find experienced translators is through these professional organizations. The American Translators Association directory contains the names of professional translators. Search and filter results by language, location, specialty, and keywords.

Here’s how it works in 4 steps:

  1. Go to the directory and choose a country under Search by Location.
  2. Select Translator under Search by work.
  3. Next, select the needed language combination in the Search by Language section. Choose your original language in the From box and select English in the Into box.
  4. Confirm you are not a robot and click Search for a translator.

You will get results for professional translators in your location. You can use the keywords filter for better language search. Or, you can use the Translator Search section to find ATA-certified translators. ATA-certified translators have passed an extreme translation examination and can use their official seal on the translation certificate. Although it is not compulsory for immigration applications, hiring an ATA-certified translator assures you of professionalism.

Two seated people are explaining the documents on their table to the person seated in front of them.

How Much Does Translating Documents Cost?

Contact a certified translator once you have located a credible one and clarify your needs. Let them know you require a certified translation for your immigration application. Send clear copies of the original documents and ask for the price of the services. The cost of translating immigration documents varies according to the service provider, location, number of documents, and complexity.

The price usually depends on how much the service provider charges for each document. However, you should pay around $25 to $75 per page for their services. Rapid Translate can make your search for an affordable professional translator easier. Rapid Translate is a credible provider that offers affordable translation of documents for immigration.

Whatever your reason for moving to a different country, we are there for you. For $27.99 per page, we will deliver quality English translations of any document. Our efficient and accurate English translation services meet the USCIS requirements and ensure acceptance. The best part is that we offer 100% online services, so you don’t have to stress yourself.

Rapid Translate’s professionalism extends to French, Russian, German, Hindi, Italian, and more languages. We can break down language barriers and take you to a new world. Order now and experience the power of seamless communication!

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