If you have a foreign birth certificate that you need to use for official business in the U.S., you must get your birth certificate translated if it is not in English. Both the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) require an approved translation of any non-U.S. birth certificates that are not filled out in English.
So, we’ve put together this quick guide, showing you how you can get your birth certificate translated and notarized.
Getting a foreign birth certificate translated for use in the U.S.
If you have a foreign birth certificate, you must get it translated before you can use it in the U.S. While this sounds simple, there are quite a few rules and regulations that you must adhere to in order for your translated birth certificate to be valid. There are also multiple steps you will need to follow carefully to keep in line with USCIS standards. Since the regulations are so specific, you may find it easier and more convenient to enlist the help of a translation service that specializes in this task. There are companies that can fulfill every step of the translation and certification processes, so you don’t have to find multiple individuals to complete the process.
First, you’ll have to make sure that your birth certificate copy is eligible for translation. In order for it to meet USCIS standards, your birth certificate must:
- Be a long-form birth certificate copy
- Have a seal from the appropriate government agency in your birth country
- Have the correct birth certificate information, including:
- First name
- Last name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Parent’s full names
If your birth certificate meets the requirements listed above, then you’ll need to go ahead and take the following steps to make sure the translation is USCIS-approved:
- Find a translator (human, not a computer program) to translate the foreign birth certificate
- Have the translation certified
- Have the translated birth certificate notarized
Finding a birth certificate translator
You’ll need to find an qualified translator who is fluent in both English and the original language to translate your foreign birth certificate. However, not just anyone can do this. The USCIS, as well as other government entities, require that the translation be done by a certified translator.
Even if you are bilingual, you cannot translate it yourself, since it also needs a translation certificate and notarization. It must be done by a certified translator in order to be accepted by the USCIS.
Getting the translation certified
After the translator finishes your birth certificate, it will need to be certified. This can be done by the translator or the agency responsible for translating it. Certification is not the same as notarization, it is a signed and dated sworn statement from the certified translator confirming that the translation is complete and accurate.
According to the USCIS, the certification must include:
- The languages the translator is fluent in, the language the original birth certificate was issued in, and the language it was translated to
- The company seal, if it was translated by an agency
- The certification date
- The certifier’s name, signature, and address
Once your birth certificate is translated and certified, you’ll need to get it notarized.
Notarizing a translated birth certificate
After translation and certification, you must also obtain an affidavit to have your birth certificate notarized. For convenience, you may want to use a translation company that offers all three steps in a single package.
To correctly notarize a translated birth certificate, the translated must have their signature notarized on the certification by one Notary Public. Then, a different Notary Public will notarize your signature on the translator’s certification.
This process ensures that the translation is accurate and that you agree with the information in the translated version.
After all three steps are complete, your birth certificate is legal to use in the U.S.