How to translate a birth certificate for USCIS

06th Jun 2024


A birth certificate is a legal document that contains important information about a person's birth, such as their date of birth, name, and place of birth. It is issued by a government authority and serves as an official proof of identity. For individuals applying for immigration benefits with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), having an accurate translation of their birth certificate is crucial, especially if the original document is in a language other than English. Non-English speakers often face significant challenges when dealing with their foreign language birth certificates in USCIS applications. These documents are essential for verifying identity, age, and citizenship status. Incorrect or poorly translated certificates may result in delays or rejections. Professional translation services play a crucial role in ensuring that your birth certificate is translated accurately and meets USCIS requirements. By using professional translators who specialize in legal documents and follow USCIS guidelines, you can ensure that your translated birth certificate is both accurate and accepted. Here are some reasons why professional translation services are important for your USCIS application:
  • Accuracy: Professional translators have the language proficiency and knowledge of legal terminology to accurately translate your birth certificate.
  • Adherence to Guidelines: USCIS has specific formatting and content requirements for translated documents. Professional translators are familiar with these guidelines and can ensure that your translated birth certificate meets them.
  • Certification: Some USCIS applications require certified translations. Professional translation services can provide the necessary certification to validate the accuracy of the translation.
  • Speed: USCIS applications often have strict deadlines. By using professional translation services, you can expedite the translation process and submit your application on time.
If you're specifically looking for Chinese translation services, our Chinese Translation Services can assist you with accurate translations tailored for marketing purposes. For more insights into the world of translations and how they can benefit you, we invite you to explore our blog on translation services. Additionally, if you are in the Seattle area and require Chinese translation services, we offer specialized Mandarin Chinese translation and interpreting services in Seattle.

Understanding USCIS Requirements for Translated Birth Certificates


Specific Formatting Guidelines

When submitting translated birth certificates to USCIS, it's important to follow these specific formatting guidelines:
  • Maintaining the Original Page Layout: The translated document must look exactly like the original birth certificate. This ensures that all information is in the right place and can be easily checked by USCIS officers.
  • Using Typewritten Text: Handwritten translations are not accepted. The translation must be done on a computer or typewriter to make sure it's clear and professional.

Certification Requirements

USCIS requires that all translated documents, including birth certificates, be certified. Here's what you need to know:
  • Statement of Accuracy by the Translator: The translator must sign a statement saying that they did the translation correctly.
"I [translator’s name], certify that I am fluent in [language] and English, and that the above/attached document is an accurate translation of the document attached."
  • Certified Translation: A certified translation is one that has been checked and confirmed as accurate by a qualified person. This is very important when applying for permanent residence.

Electronic vs. Hard Copy Submissions

You can send translated documents to USCIS in two ways: electronically or as physical copies. Here are some things to consider:
  • Electronic Format: If you choose to submit your documents digitally, make sure they are easy to read and all signatures and certifications are clearly visible.
  • Hard Copies with Ink Signatures: While electronic copies are allowed, some people prefer to send paper copies with ink signatures because they feel it adds an extra layer of authenticity. If you decide to go this route, check if there are any specific requirements for your case or consult with professional translation services.
For additional information about professional translation services, especially if you require Chinese financial translation services, you can explore options here.

Certified Translation: The Key to USCIS Acceptance

A certified translation refers to a precise, word-for-word translation of a document, accompanied by a signed statement from the translator affirming its accuracy. Unlike a regular or literal translation, which might only capture the general meaning of the text, a certified translation ensures that every detail is meticulously translated. This is particularly critical in the context of official documents such as birth certificates. Ensuring that the translated text is visible and legible is paramount when dealing with official documents. The translation must maintain the integrity of the original document's information while being clear and easy to read. Any issues with visibility could result in delays or rejections by USCIS. The Certificate of Translation Accuracy plays a crucial role in this process. This certificate is a signed statement by the translator or translation service, attesting that the translation is complete and accurate to the best of their knowledge and ability. It verifies authenticity, providing USCIS with assurance that the document has been professionally translated according to their requirements. For more specialized services, you may want to explore Chinese Translation Services in San Francisco, which offer professional Mandarin Chinese translation and interpreting services. They also provide technical translation services, which could be relevant depending on your specific needs.

Finding the Right Translator for Your Birth Certificate

When it comes to translating your birth certificate, USCIS has strict guidelines in place. It's important to note that translating the document yourself or relying on friends or family members as translators is strictly prohibited by USCIS. This measure is put in place to ensure the translation's impartiality and accuracy, which are critical for acceptance by USCIS.

Why Hire Professional Translators?

There are several reasons why it's crucial to hire a professional translator for your birth certificate:
  • Expertise in USCIS Documentation: Professional translators are well-versed in the specific requirements and terminologies needed for USCIS applications, making them an invaluable resource.
  • Accuracy and Legibility: Ensuring that the translated text maintains the original document's clarity and format is crucial. Professional translators have the necessary skills to achieve this.
  • Certification: Only professional translators can provide a Certificate of Translation Accuracy, validating the translation's authenticity.

Where to Find Reputable Translation Services

When looking for a translation service to handle your birth certificate, it's essential to choose a reputable provider that specializes in USCIS translations. Here are some options to consider:
  • Chinese Translation Services: This service offers expertise in over 60 languages and provides certified translations with guaranteed USCIS approval. Their professional Mandarin Chinese translation and interpreting services make them a leading provider in Austin, Texas.
  • Chinese to English Translation Services: If you specifically need Chinese to English translation, this service can assist you with accurate and reliable translations for your birth certificate. They cater to some of the world's largest and most influential companies, providing professional translations from Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese to English.
These services offer fast turnaround times, often delivering translations within 24 hours. By hiring a professional translator from these reputable services, you not only ensure compliance with USCIS standards but also significantly reduce the risk of delays or rejections due to translation errors.

The Translation Process: From Submission to Delivery

Step-by-Step Guide to Translating Your Birth Certificate for USCIS

  1. Gather Necessary Information:
  • Identify all the details on the birth certificate that need translation.
  • Ensure you have personal information such as name, date of birth, place of birth, and any relevant annotations or seals.
  1. Select a Professional Translator:
  • Choose a reputable translation service experienced in USCIS documentation.
  • Avoid using friends or family members to translate the document as USCIS prohibits this practice.
  1. Submit Your Birth Certificate:
  • Provide the original document to the translator.
  • Specify any particular instructions or requirements from USCIS.

Ensuring Accuracy and Quality

  1. Translation Process:
  • The professional translator will convert the text into English, maintaining the original format and layout.
  • They will ensure that every detail is accurately translated and legible.
  1. Review and Proofreading:
  • Conduct a thorough review of the translated document.
  • Seek professional proofreading assistance if necessary to avoid errors.

Delivery Methods

  1. Finalizing the Translation:
  • The translator will prepare a Certificate of Translation Accuracy, affirming the completeness and correctness of the translation.
  1. Choosing Delivery Options:

Electronic Delivery

Fast and efficient, suitable for immediate submission needs.
  • Speed
  • Convenience
  • No physical storage needed.
  • Potential security concerns
  • It may not be accepted by all authorities.

Hard Copy Delivery

Traditional method providing a physical copy.
  • Perceived authenticity
  • Accepted universally.
  • Slower delivery time
  • Risk of loss in transit.
For more specialised services like Certified Chinese Translation or Translation Services in New York, professional providers can handle even complex requirements efficiently. Chinese Translation Services, for instance, is a specialist provider of professional Mandarin Chinese translation and interpreting services in New York City.".

Cost Considerations in Birth Certificate Translation for USCIS

Several factors influence the cost of translating a birth certificate for USCIS. Understanding these can help you plan your budget effectively:

Factors Affecting Translation Costs

  • Document Length: The number of words or pages in your birth certificate directly impacts the translation cost. Generally, prices range from $0.08 to $0.50 per word or $20 to $130 per page.
  • Language Combination: Some language pairs are more challenging and less common, leading to higher costs. For instance, translating from Mandarin Chinese to English may be pricier than Spanish to English.
  • Certification Requirement: Certified translations often come with additional expenses. This includes the cost of a signed "Certificate of Translation Accuracy," which is essential for USCIS submissions.

Tips to Manage Translation Costs

To manage costs without compromising on quality, consider the following tips:
  • Bundle Multiple Documents: If you have several documents needing translation, bundling them together can sometimes secure a discount from the service provider.
  • Opt for Standard Turnaround Times: Urgent processing incurs extra fees. Planning ahead and opting for standard turnaround times can save money.

Looking for Specialized Services?

  By considering these factors and strategies, you can ensure an accurate and certified translation of your birth certificate within your budget.

Ensuring Validity and Authenticity in Your Translated Birth Certificate

1. Validity of Certified Translation

The validity period of a certified translation typically does not expire. However, it is crucial to ensure that the translation remains accurate and up-to-date if any changes occur in the original document. For birth certificates submitted to USCIS, the translation must be current and reflect any modifications accurately.

2. Avoiding Machine Translation Tools

Using machine translation tools like Google Translate for official documents is highly discouraged. These tools often lack the nuance and accuracy required for legal documents. Human expertise ensures that translations are precise, reliable, and meet USCIS standards.

3. Reflecting Original Errors and Including Seals/Stamps

When translating a birth certificate, it is essential to reflect any errors or discrepancies present in the original document. This includes typographical errors, incorrect dates, or misspellings. Additionally, official seals or stamps appearing on the original document must be included in the translation, as these elements validate the authenticity of the birth certificate.

4. Dealing with Illegible Sections

Illegible or hard-to-read sections in a birth certificate can pose significant challenges during translation. In such cases, consulting secondary sources or seeking assistance from relevant authorities can be beneficial. If parts of the text remain unclear despite efforts to clarify them, indicating "illegible" in place of those sections is an accepted practice. For professional translation services, I recommend reaching out to Chinese Translation Services (CTS).

Other Applications Requiring Translated Birth Certificates

The need for translated birth certificates extends beyond USCIS cases. Various other situations or organizations may also require these translations, such as:

Educational Institutions

Schools and universities often require translated birth certificates for enrollment purposes, especially for international students. These documents verify the student's identity and age.

Foreign Embassies

When applying for visas or other consular services, foreign embassies might request a translated birth certificate to confirm personal details.

Legal Proceedings

In cases involving inheritance, custody battles, or other legal matters, courts may require a certified translation of a birth certificate.

Employment Verification

Employers may need translated birth certificates to verify the identity and eligibility of an employee, especially in multinational companies. Each institution or agency might have specific requirements regarding the translation's format and certification. It's crucial to adhere to these guidelines to ensure the acceptance of your documents. For specialized needs like Chinese Translation Services or Japanese Translation and Interpreting Services, you can explore services that offer professional translations tailored to meet diverse institutional demands. These services are particularly useful when dealing with educational institutions, foreign embassies, legal proceedings, or employment verification.


Accurate and certified translations for birth certificates are crucial for USCIS applications. Ensuring that your documents meet USCIS standards is essential to avoid delays or rejections. Leveraging professional translation services guarantees that your birth certificate translation will be accurate, certified, and accepted by USCIS. Using reputable translation services can make a significant difference in the quality and acceptance of your translated documents. Professional translators are well-versed in the requirements set by USCIS, ensuring that every detail is meticulously translated and certified.