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Foreign Immigration Documents Must Be Translated for USCIS

| Jun 24, 2015 | Common Immigration Questions and Problems

“Do I need a English translation of my foreign document for immigration?”

Although the answer to this question might seem obvious and intuitive, it is nevertheless worthwhile to address it since this issue arises so often. Many people make the erroneous assumption that since an application is being mailed to immigration, immigration must have the resources and capability to decipher and understand any document even if not in English. Unfortunately, while this may be true, USCIS will normally reject an application or request a translation if any foreign document is not accompanied by an English translation. So the answer is yes, you do need to submit an English translation.

What if the document is in both English and the foreign language?

If the document is originally in both languages, it may be permissible to submit the document without a translation, since it is already in English. However, it is probably best to err on the side of caution and still obtain a translation.

Can the applicant do the translation?

Since the applicant is a party to the case, it is probably not appropriate for an applicant, petitioner, or beneficiary to do the actual translation.  It should be done by an independent party so there is no question or issue as to objectivity, veracity, or faithfulness. 

Does the translation have to be done by an official notary?

Not necessarily. Although an “official” translation service will normally attach a seal and accompanying certification verifying that the translation has been faithfully rendered, translations are not required to be done by official translation agencies. The requirement, in most cases, is that the translation is accurate and be accompanied by a certification by the person who does the translation that the translation is a complete and accurate translation of the foreign document, and that he or she is competent to translate the foreign language into English.

We hope that you have enjoyed this article and learned at least one new thing or tip that you may not have known. To keep informed about the latest developments in immigration law, please subscribe to our blog feed by clicking on the “Subscribe To This Blog’s Feed” button on the left. It is important to understand that the above is only general information and not legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship nor should it be relied upon as legal advice. The law is extremely fact and circumstance sensitive. For an individual legal analysis of your specific legal case, please complete the “Case Evaluation” box to the right of the screen to get in touch with one of our attorneys. 

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