An Explanation of USCIS Certified Translation Requirements

The USCIS, or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, basically defines certified translations as: “All documents submitted in support of an application or petition must include complete translation into English. In addition, there must be a certification from the translator indicating that the translation is complete and accurate and attesting to his or her competence as a translator.”  So what does that mean?

Basically, marriage certificates, birth certificates, or any other documents that aren’t in English, must be translated in support of any USCIS application.  An explanation of the basic requirements to become a certified translation document:


Documents must be translated completely and directly, including signatures, dashes, stamps, etc. If something isn’t clear, then the English translation needs to state “not legible”. The translation must match the visual format of the document, for example, seals should be in the same spots.


Accuracy is extremely vital when dealing with official government documents. It is important to make sure that the translations that you submit are as accurate as possible. At Lingomod, we take this requirement very seriously and ensure that all translations are as accurate as possible.


If the document is being submitted to USCIS, the certified translation does not have to be notarized. However, if the document is being submitted outside of the U.S., for example, to a foreign Embassy or Consulate, then it must be notarized.


Sometimes the entire document is too long and filled with extraneous information. In such cases, an official extract can be used instead. These are acceptable only if the extract includes all the necessary information needed to decide on a case. For example, an official extract of a birth certificate which fully identifies the child’s parents may be used in support of a visa petition, while one that only lists the child’s name, date and place of birth may not. In addition, only extracts prepared by an authorized official (the “keeper of the record”) are acceptable. Just a simple summary of a document prepared by a translator will not be accepted.