“Certified” Translation of Documents Accompanying U.S. Immigration Visa Applications

Applicants for U.S. Immigration Visas must be accompanied by supporting documents from your nation of origin and “certified” translations of those documents are, typically, required. Applying for U.S. immigration visa can be a complex undertaking. Depending on the purpose of the visit to the United States, an applicant will have to produce a variety of documents—from a birth certificate, tax documents to education and military records. Depending on the nation of origin of the applicant, it is not uncommon for these kinds of documents to require translations. However, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) outlines its requirements on its website that translations shall be “certified.”

The USCIS requires all foreign language documents to be translated into English. Applicants for U.S. Immigration need to provide a plain photocopy of the original document and its “certified” translation into English, which can be translated by a professional or anyone other than you who is fluent both in English and your language. To avoid delay and frustration, we recommend using a reputable translation service with experience with immigration filings.
Here are some additional tips to look for to see if your “certified” translation has been handled properly and your application for U.S. immigration is sufficiently supported.
  • The entire document, including signatures, seals and stamps, must be translated.
  • Passports do not require translation.
  • If something is not written clearly, then the translation should say “not legible.”
  • Everything must appear in the same place as on the original document. If the seal is on the bottom right, the translation for the seal must be on the bottom right.
  • If you are able, check to see that the translation is accurate.
  • In the United States, the translation does not to be notarized.
USCIS greatly scrutinizes the information they receive, and can send a Request For Evidence to you that will delay the processing time for your application if any of the above is not properly formatted, not properly translated or incomplete.

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