If you need to translate your birth certificate for immigration purposes (USCIS), you may be wondering if you can simply do it yourself. Keep reading to find out what the law says and the potential risks of translating official documents without a professional.
Can You Translate Your Own Birth Certificate?
Yes. Technically, you or a family member are legally allowed to translate your birth certificate under US law, however immigration lawyers typically don’t recommend it due to problems that could arise.
US Federal law regarding immigration says that non-English documents sent to immigration services (USCIS) must arrive with an English translation as well as a statement from the translator certifying that the translation is complete and accurate, and that they are capable of translating from the foreign language into English.
Some lawyers claim to have success allowing their clients to translate their own documents as long as they can certify that they are fluent in both English and the language of the original document.
At the same time, there are accounts of immigration documents being rejected for having a birth certificate translation done by the owner. This may be due to the fact that every case is unique and the decision to accept or deny a case is ultimately up to the official reviewing your documents.
But generally speaking, immigration attorneys will advise their clients to use a translation agency that regularly has their documents accepted by immigration services, or at least an unrelated friend or third-party to do the translation to avoid inviting extra scrutiny from the immigration officer deciding your case.
Why You Shouldn’t Translate Your Own Birth Certificate for USCIS
Here are some potential errors that could cause your case to be rejected by USCIS if you attempt to translate your birth certificate without the help of a professional service.
- Missing Information – Official documents often include stamps or marks that should be translated, but may be overlooked by someone who is not professionally trained.
- Unpermitted Corrections – If there is a typo in the original document and it appears corrected in the translation without explanation, this could be cause for rejection.
- No Proofreading – Without experienced translators helping to review the translation, your family member may miss errors that would be obvious to a professional.
Who Can Translate a Birth Certificate?
So even though the law doesn’t specify who can or cannot translate the document, attorneys will often recommend having someone else translate your birth certificate who can provide a professional translation along with a certificate of accuracy to help ensure that your case is processed without any issues.
Your official documents should by translated by a:
- Translation Agency – The best option is to have your document translated by a company with experience translating birth certificates to be approved by immigration services. This is because they have professional translators who are familiar with the official requirements and terminology that should be used in your document translation.
- Professional Translator – If you do not have access to a translation agency, it is possible to find professional translation services online or in your area who may be familiar with translating birth certificates.