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What Documents Need to be Translated for the N-400 Application?

The USCIS N-400 Application for Naturalization requires a substantial amount of evidence and documents to be submitted. The only documents that require translation for the N-400 are those in a foreign language that will be used as supporting evidence. For example, if you were previously married overseas, USCIS will require the divorce decree, death certificate, or annulment documentation to be translated from the foreign language it was written in to the English version.

As with all USCIS translations, the translation must be certified by a competent translator and include a statement of certification. For a full listing of USCIS translation requirements, be sure to read the article we've prepared on the subject.

We have prepared a brief list of common documents that must be translated for an N-400 application. In some cases, additional evidence may be requested by USCIS in the form of an RFE. In most cases, it is better to have a document prepared and translated in the event it is later requested by USCIS.
Marriage Certificate
If you are filing an N-400 in relation to a marriage to another US citizen on the grounds of a marriage and the marriage certificate is in a foreign language, USCIS will require the marriage certificate to be translated. In some countries, a...


How to Have Your Marriage Certificate Translated

If you're immigrating to the United States or were married overseas, the USCIS  requires a copy of your marriage document. Those documents include:

Marriage Certificate
Marriage License
Marriage Contract

If your marriage certificate or license is not already in English, it will need to be translated into English to be accepted by USCIS or your local or state government.
The exact translation of your marriage documents depends both on what language the document was originally written in, as well as the country of origin. Although certain countries produce a document in the same language, the translation and meaning of the words as well as the formatting varies.

What are some of the differences between various countries and translations?
Typically, in an Arab country, a marriage certificate is actually referred to as a Marriage Contract. The marriage contract document may include information about the dowry paid between families and testaments that there are no religious or legal impediments (for example, an existing marriage).

Who can translate my marriage certificate or marriage license?
If you're submitting your marriage documents to USCIS, it is required that the translator be competent in both languages and attest to the completeness and accuracy...


What is a Certified Translation?

One of the most common questions we receive here at ImmiTranslate is, "what is a certified translation?".

In short, a certified translation is similar to a standard translation, but includes a signed & stamped attestation by the translator that the translation is complete and accurate to the best of their knowledge, and that the translator is competent in both the source language and the target language.

Technically, any translator can produce a certified translation, as there is no governing body behind certified translations. As a result, most organizations also require that the translator or translation company is an accredited member of a trade group, such as the American Translators Association.

One challenge faced by those that have a translation that has not been certified is that a translator should only certify a translation that they themselves have completed. For example, having a friend certify a translation that they had not in fact translated would be a false statement. Among the potential impacts of a rejected certified translation is a complete denial of a USCIS application, a rejection from a college admission, or another form of refusal based on the invalid translation.

How do I translate a Birth Certificate?

Although translating a vital document such as a birth certificate may seem easy, in order to truly reflect the nature of the document, close attention must be paid to the details.

Name Order
The world of various languages, it is important to remember that some languages place the individual family name before the 'given' name. Other languages have a different order when it comes to the placement of the maiden name. The proper placement of surnames in the target language is the key to proper naming order.

Phonetic Transcription
The same name can (and often is) pronounced differently among different dialects of the same language. Most prominently, Catonese vs. Mandarin Chinese.

Date Order
The United States adopts a different order for dates in the number format. It is common to see dates in the format "MM/DD/YYYY" in the United States. The rest of the world prefers the format "DD/MM/YYYY". This can create a conflict when translating from documents where the date is either not specified, or likely uses a different format than the target language.

Our policy at ImmiTranslate is to "convert" the date to a universal format, such as "3 November 2000" instead of "11/03/2000" or "03/11/2000". This change prevents ambiguity in the finished...


What are the USCIS Translation Guidelines?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has set a few basic guidelines translators must follow when translating a document. They are straightforward rules that help prevent mistranslations from interfering with any documents they receive.

When translating a document, a translator must verify they have the appropriate knowledge and experience to perform the task. They fill out a simple form that tells the USCIS they are in fact experienced and fluent in the language and the information provided is accurate to the best of their knowledge.

A translation certification looks like this:
“I, John Doe, hereby certify that I am fluent (conversant) in the English and Spanish languages, and that the above/attached document is an accurate translation of the document attached entitled Jane Doe's Birth Certificate.”
The translator then signs the document. The USCIS prefers an address as well as the date the document was translated.

This way, the translator takes personal responsibility for the translation. In the case of a major error, the client, who requires and requested the translation, doesn’t want to be held responsible; being in that position could cause major problems! By filling out the form and signing it, the translator can be contacted in...