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Translate Documents for USCIS Petitions

When you apply for immigration benefits, you must translate documents that are written in non-English languages into English before submitting them to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS officials only accepts certified translations.

The certification process helps ensure that the translated documents aren’t just translated, but translated in such a way that they precisely represent their original meaning.

Why USCIS Needs You to Translate Documents for Them

The U.S. government will not search its agency for an immigration official fluent in a particular language to process a petition. Petitioners must provide the federal agency with English versions of any documents they submit.

Think of it this way: Warren Law Firm has interpreters to assist clients in several different languages, but every member of our team does not speak all of our clients’ languages. Likewise, despite the multilingual capabilities of many USCIS officials, the only language that every USCIS specialist speaks is English. 

Foreign documents submitted to the agency that are not written in English must be accompanied by perfectly translated documents so that any USCIS specialist who reviews the documents can comprehend them.

Who Can Translate Documents for USCIS Purposes?

While you or someone you know could translate your documents into English, USCIS will ultimately decide whether to accept unprofessionally translated paperwork. If USCIS finds that the document has been translated inaccurately, the officer may reject your petition. 

At best, an inaccurately or incompletely translated document will result in USCIS issuing a Request for Evidence. Because of these risks, most people choose to work with a professional document translator experienced with USCIS requirements.

Certification Letter for Translated Documents

No matter who you choose to complete the translation service, the translated documents must be certified with a formal letter expressing both of the following:

  1. The translator is qualified to translate documents due to their proficiency in English and their proficiency in the document’s original language.
  2. The documents are translated completely and accurately.


The certifying letter must also contain each of the following:

  1. The translator’s full legal name.
  2. The translator’s address.
  3. The translator’s signature.
  4. The date that the letter was written and signed.


The letter certifying the translation must accompany the translated documents and copies of the original documents.

Which Documents Must Be Translated?

Any document sent to USCIS that is written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a copy of it that is translated into English and a certification letter from the translator. 

When people think of documents, they often think of legal documents like marriage certificates and birth certificates, but USCIS reads all submitted paperwork, so civil documents and other paperwork also need translating including:

  1. Diplomas 
  2. Divorce paperwork
  3. Court documents
  4. Police records
  5. Letters
  6. Bank statements and other financial records
  7. Employment history documentation
  8. Tax returns
  9. Medical records
  10. Life insurance documentation
  11. Custody paperwork

If you submit any evidence or paperwork of any kind to USCIS, it must be in English or translated into English.

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Can’t I Just Use Google Translate to Translate My Documents?

Google Translate can be handy for several purposes, but it is not sufficient for translating documents for USCIS purposes. 

Documents accompanying your USCIS forms are too important to rely on Google Translate. 

Google Translate will not always meet USCIS official’s standards and it can’t provide the required certification letter. 

Can Translated Documents Be Handwritten?

While handwritten translations aren’t forbidden by USCIS, it’s best to provide typed translated documents.

Should My Translated Documents Retain Their Original Format?

Yes. As much as possible, the translator should try to keep the layout and format of the original document. All words written in a language other than English should be translated. This included text on a seal or stamp, all headings, all footnotes, and all annotations.

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Choosing a Reliable Translator to Translate Documents for USCIS

It’s best to find a translator with experience translating documents for the purpose of USCIS evidence. Just because someone is fluent in English doesn’t mean they will meet USCIS translating standards. Explicitly correct translations are crucial to avoid negative consequences. 

If you already have translated documents accompanied by certification letters, your immigration attorney may suggest verification to be on the safe side. If the translator can no longer be contacted at the address noted on the certification letter, your immigration attorney may suggest getting updated certified translations.

Do You Need a Qualified Immigration Attorney?

Warren Law Form has advocated for individuals seeking immigration benefits like work visas, family-based immigrant visas, visitor visas, and student visas since opening in 2003. Warren Law Firm is also experienced in deportation and removal defense, asylum cases, U visa petitions, T visa petitions, and more. 

No matter the type of case, working with us means you don’t have to worry about translating documents or meeting the translation requirements. We have a team of translators that work on hundreds of immigration cases and will easily meet all requirements. 

You deserve an experienced immigration attorney who will compassionately and accurately guide you through the complexities U.S. immigration laws. Schedule a consultation with our team today.

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