Complete Guide to Birth Certificate Translation

Posted by Frank Gogol

We don’t all have the opportunity to live freely and comfortably where we are born. If you want a chance at more opportunities, you might be thinking about leaving the country you were born in. Immigration to the U.S. is a popular option and can open exciting new doors.

There are many steps you need to take if you want to move to the U.S. and start a life here. One of the most important documents in this process is your birth certificate. Your birth certificate is the document issued by the government of your country of birth that serves as proof of the birth of a child. At the most basic level, your birth certificate proves your age and citizenship.  If you were born in a non-English speaking country, it is likely that your birth certificate will not be written in English.

Before you can move to the U.S., you will need to get a birth certificate translation. You will basically need to get your birth certificate translated into English. This is so the USCIS can easily access and study personal information about you while they are processing your immigration application.

Below we unpack the USCIS birth certificate requirements and how you can get a birth certificate translation done.

USCIS Requirements

If you are interested in immigrating to the U.S., a USCIS certified translation of your birth certificate is required. Having a certified translation means your birth certificate translation comes with a signed letter from a registered translation company.

This letter will state that a qualified translator performed the service and that the birth certificate translation is a correct and accurate translation of the original document. This certification carries legal weight. Any certified birth certificate translation is regarded as official documents for immigration. The translator will be held accountable for any incorrect information provided.

Legal documents, like visas, passports, and birth certificates, have to be translated by a certified company. You cannot translate your birth certificate yourself. You also can’t get a friend or family member to do it for you – not even if they are professional translators themselves.

Getting a friend or family member to translate legal documents for you is seen as a conflict of interest. The USCIS wants to know that the birth certificate translation has been done by someone who has no interest in changing any of your personal information. This is why the USCIS requires a certified translation of your birth certificate.

The translated birth certificate needs to have the same format as the original document. For example, any seals on the original documents should also appear in the translated document and should be in the same place across both documents. The certified copy of your birth certificate translation needs to be printed on the letterhead of the translation company.

If you fail to provide either the birth certificate translation or the certificate of translation, there will be a delay in your immigration process. Your application could even be rejected altogether. It is therefore very important that you get a certified birth certificate translation for your immigration application.

It is not a USCIS requirement that your birth certificate translation is notarized, only certified as an accurate translation.

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Who Needs to Have a Birth Certificate Translated?

The USCIS requires immigrants applying for permanent residency to submit their birth certificates, which must be translated into English. Most immigrant visa applications also require a certified birth certificate translation.

If you are trying to enrol yourself or your child into a school in the U.S., they will also require a birth certificate translation.

Steps for Getting a Birth Certificate Translated

Here are a few easy steps to get a birth certificate translation:

  • Submit an electronic copy of your birth certificate to a certified translation service.
  • Include your name, phone number, email address, the source and target language of the document, together with the document itself.
  • A USCIS approved translation of your birth certificate should include the following information: your full name, your date of birth, your place of birth, your parents’ full names, and a seal that verifies it is an official document.
  • Your birth certificate will now be translated. The time it takes to translate your birth certificate will depend on the length and stylizing requirements.
  • The translation must include every single part of the original document, including any signatures, stamps, and official seals.
  • Once your birth certificate is translated, it is thoroughly reviewed for accuracy. It is at this point where your birth certificate translation is USCIS-approved and certified.
  • For the USCIS applications, you will need to provide a photocopy of your original birth certificate and the certified translation copy in English.

When to Get a Birth Certificate Translated

You may need your birth certificate translated for a variety of reasons. The USCIS Policy Manual says in section 11.3 regarding Foreign Language Documents and Translations:

“All documents submitted in support of an application or petition must include complete translation into English. In addition, there must be a certification from the translator indicating that the translation is complete and accurate and attesting to his or her competence as a translator.”

You should get your birth certificate translated if you are applying for a passport or a visa for residency in a foreign country.  Some academic institutions will require a translated birth certificate upon enrollment. You should get a birth certificate translation before you enrol yourself or your child at a school.

In the translation market, different languages have different translation rates. Your birth certificate translation may also be more expensive if the format of the source document is very complicated. For example, if your original birth certificate has many signatures and seals it could be more expensive. Depending on the price of the translation, you may want to wait until you really need it for an application before you get your birth certificate translated.

Conclusion

There are many steps you need to take if you want to move to the U.S. and start a life here. One of the most important documents in this process is your birth certificate. Getting a birth certificate translation is an important step in many legal processes, including immigration and visa applications, and some school enrollments.

You need to get your birth certificate translated into English. This translation has to be certified by an approved translator for it to be accepted by the USCIS. The certification process is not difficult but can be quite costly depending on the translation company’s rates.

Remember, the translated birth certificate needs to have the same format as the original document and the certified copy of your birth certificate translation needs to be printed on the letterhead of the translation company. You will have to submit a copy of the original together with the translation for any applications.

Once your birth certificate has been translated, it can be used in any application in the future and you’re one step closer to a successful application.

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