“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.
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