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Top Questions Related to Immigration Document Translation

As an Austin immigration attorney, I know that immigrating to the U.S. can often be a stressful process requiring patience and the assistance of family, friends and a skilled immigration lawyer. The fear of not meeting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (“USCIS”, formerly “INS”) requirements, thus causing potential delays or rejections of permanent residence status, is enough to scare most people into making sure they follow the appropriate guidelines. The USCIS requires applicants to translate certain foreign documents into English. To help guide you through the process, FoxTranslate, a provider of immigration document translations in over 30 different languages, offers answers to the mostly commonly asked questions related to immigration document translation.

Top Five Questions on Immigration Document Translation

What type of translations are required by USCIS?
The USCIS requires applicants to submit a certified translation with documents that are in another language. The hallmarks of a certified translation that is deemed acceptable by USCIS include two certifications:
The translator must certify that he or she is competent to translate the document
The translator must certify that the translation is accurate
In addition, the translator should include his or her name, signature, address and the date of the translation.

What are typical documents that USCIS wants translated?
Documents requested will depend on the visa application. However, common documents include biographical documents such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate or adoption documentation. For a larger listing and details, visit the State Department site.

Does the USCIS require the original translation?
The USCIS has explicitly stated that they no longer routinely require submissions of original documents. A reason for this is the USCIS no longer returns original documents.

Does the USCIS require notarization of translations?
No, the USCIS does not require a notarized translation. The USCIS has clearly stated that they just require a certified translation. There are many misnomers as to the different translation types. A notarization translation does not offer additional assurances of translation accuracy; a notarization is merely a certification that the translator translated the document.

Can I translate my own document?
The short answer is yes. This may surprise many people but if you’re going to translate your own document, we suggest you proceed with caution. Two impeding factors are:
You need to be proficient enough in your native and English language
These are sensitive documents for an important process and you don’t want your USCIS case reviewer doubting the authenticity of your application because of a suspicious translation of requested documents.


Call us for a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer today. (512) 329-2770.