How to translate a birth certificate for USCIS

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Relocating to another country typically involves a lot of paperwork, and one of the most crucial documents you’ll need is your birth certificate. In the United States, birth certificates are necessary for various types of paperwork, each with distinct requirements. This article offers a comprehensive overview of translating birth certificates, emphasizing translation services for immigration ... Read more

Relocating to another country typically involves a lot of paperwork, and one of the most crucial documents you’ll need is your birth certificate.

In the United States, birth certificates are necessary for various types of paperwork, each with distinct requirements. This article offers a comprehensive overview of translating birth certificates, emphasizing translation services for immigration purposes.

Understanding Birth Certificates

A birth certificate is a government-issued document that verifies your identity and age. It contains information such as your name, birth date, and birth place. The format and issuing entity of a birth certificate differ from country to country.

Birth certificates serve as proof of identity for purposes such as passport or driver’s license applications.

When to Translate a Birth Certificate

If your birth certificate is in a foreign language, you’ll need to translate it and submit it to an official authority.

For immigration purposes in the United States, a translated birth certificate may be required when applying for a resident visa. Educational institutions might also request a translated birth certificate when studying abroad.

There are specific events and paperwork that necessitate birth certificate translation:

  • Passport application
  • Driver’s license application
  • Custody
  • Death
  • Marriage
  • Social security benefits
  • School enrollment

Is Birth Certificate Translation for USCIS Necessary?

As mentioned earlier, if you’re applying for permanent residence in the United States, the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require your birth certificate. If it’s not in English, a translation of the document is also necessary. USCIS uses this information to verify your identity, determine your visa type, and assess if there are any grounds for rejection.

USCIS Requirements

USCIS has specific requirements for birth certificate translations. The translation must be typed, not handwritten; it should match the original document’s format, and it must be certified. The certified translation should have the translation provider’s letterhead and include a certification statement.

The main information that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services requires from your birth certificate includes:

  • Your full name
  • Place and date of birth
  • Your parents’ full names
  • A seal that verifies it’s an official record from the issuing authority

To prevent delays in the immigration process, it is vital to comply with all requirements for your translation to be accepted by the USCIS.

What is a Certified Translation?

A certified translation is a literal (word-for-word) translation of all visible text in a document used for official purposes. The receiver (USCIS, in this case) requires certification to verify the translation’s accuracy.

A signed statement from the translator or translation company, confirming that the translation is a complete and accurate representation of the original document, accompanies the translation. This statement is also known as a “Certificate of Translation Accuracy.”

It’s important to note that in the US, a translator doesn’t need to be federally or state-certified to provide a certified translation service. Anyone with sufficient skills in the relevant languages can issue the translation.

Can I Translate My Birth Certificate Myself?

USCIS explicitly prohibits you from translating your own birth certificate. Friends or family members, even professional translators, should not perform the translation either, as this is considered a conflict of interest and a reason for rejection.

Does My Translated Birth Certificate Need Notarization for USCIS?

USCIS requires translations to be certified but not notarized. A notarized translation means that a Notary has confirmed the identity of the person who signed the Certificate of Translation Accuracy.

In some situations, you might need a document to be translated and notarized, which is typical for US passport applications, school transcripts, and employment contracts.

Do Notaries Translate Birth Certificates?

Notaries can issue a translation for a birth certificate and certify it if they have the relevant knowledge and experience. However, they cannot notarize their own translation.

They must choose between issuing a certified translation of the document and having someone else carry out the notarization, or asking someone else to handle the certified translation and issuing the notarization themselves.

What is the Cost of Birth Certificate Translation?

The price for translation services varies depending on factors such as the document’s length, the specific language combination, and whether it needs certification. There may also be a rush charge if you need your birth certificate translated urgently.

For this article’s purposes, we assume that you need a certified translation of your birth certificate. Translators or translation companies typically charge by the word or page (one “page” is approximately 250 words). Cost per word can range from $0.08 to $0.30, and cost per page can range from $15 to $140.

ABC Translations provides certified birth certificate translation services for 65 languages, at $24.95 per page. We offer 24-hour delivery and guaranteed USCIS approval.

How to Translate a Birth Certificate

Now, we will cover the process of translating birth certificates, broken down into steps:

  1. Find a qualified translator or translation company to translate your birth certificate. If you need a document translated for immigration purposes, ensure the company offers immigration translation and has a 100% acceptance rate with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  2. Request a quote and turnaround time for your translation. The time it takes to translate a birth certificate may vary depending on the document’s length, format, specific language combination, whether it needs certification, and if the translation is needed urgently. However, birth certificate translations usually take 24 hours or less.
  3. Submit an electronic copy of your birth certificate to the translation provider you choose. To get a quote for your document translation, you need to provide some information about the document and your translation needs. This includes your contact information, the document’s source language, and the target language.
  4. Upon completion of the translation, its accuracy will be affirmed. You will then receive a digital copy and any necessary physical copies by mail.

The process is relatively straightforward and rarely takes long.

Other Important Information

We believe the following additional details might be useful:

  • A certified translation does not expire. It is valid indefinitely unless the requesting agency says otherwise, which is rare.
  • You cannot translate your own birth certificate, and Google Translate is not a valid option either. In addition to potential accuracy issues, Google Translate does not meet USCIS requirements.
  • You cannot change the name or correct spelling errors on your birth certificate in the translated version. A certified translation must be an accurate representation of the original document and will show any errors found in it. If you want the errors fixed, you should contact the office that issued the birth certificate to obtain a corrected document.
  • The translation needs to cover everything in the original birth certificate, including any seals or stamps. If something is not clear enough to read, the translator should indicate it as “illegible” in the translation.

Certified Translation Services

Get your documents translated and certified by a professional translator in 120+ languages for just $24.95 per page with 24-hour delivery.


There are various instances when you might need to translate a birth certificate, not just for submission to USCIS. Always check the specific requirements from the institution or agency requesting the translation to determine if it needs to be certified and/or notarized.

We hope this article has provided you with a comprehensive understanding of how to translate a birth certificate and answered most of the questions you may have had on this topic. Remember to follow all guidelines and requirements to avoid delays in the immigration process or other official procedures that require a translated birth certificate.