When it comes to translating immigration documents, a good translation may mean the difference between acceptance and denial. At the very least, a poor translation will significantly delay the process. That’s why obtaining the services of a professional translator – one who understands the specific requirements of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – is so vital.

The USCIS requires that those who file for citizenship provide personal documents that are translated into English. Some of the documents include, for example, birth and marriage certificates, among others. All other documents that accompany those papers – such as affidavits, for example — must also be translated into English. Translations must also be certified; in other words, the translation must be completed by a translator who is fluent in that language.

The best way to obtain the services of a high quality, certified translator is through a reputable translation company that employs linguists experienced in this field. Here are some of the specific USCIS requirements for translations:

• All foreign language documents must be accompanied by certified translations.

• Translations must be word-for-word.

• By certifying the translation, the linguist is attesting to the fact that the translation has been done as accurately as possible.

• The certification must include the date, address, name and signature of the certifier.

The US Department of State website provides the following format for translation certification:

Certification by Translator

I [typed name], certify that I am fluent (conversant) in the English and ________ languages, and that the above/attached document is an accurate translation of the document attached entitled ______________________________.


Date – Typed – Name



While it may be tempting to choose some type of machine translation, that’s never a good idea with immigration paperwork. Not only are these translations often poorly done, they are also not considered to be “certified,” which is a requirement of the USCIS.

When it comes to submitting immigration paperwork, it’s important to make sure that everything is in order beforehand, including the certified translations. Remember, if the USCIS receives a poorly translated document, or if it questions the authenticity of a document, it may issue an RFE (Request for Evidence), which can cause significant delays in the process. If you are submitting your application to stay inside the US for an extended period of time, or if you are applying for residency or citizenship, you already know that the application process is lengthy. Submitting high quality, certified translations will help to ensure that your application process goes smoothly.