Translation Requirements for a Marriage-Based Green Card
By Katherine at Legal Language
Posted on 11/26/2010
Certified translation of immigration documents is an important and extremely necessary part of the marriage-based green card process.
In addition to immigration forms, USCIS requires personal legal documents to be submitted with an immigration application — and USCIS needs translations of any personal documents issued in a language other than English.
Which Documents Must Be Translated for a Marriage-Based Green Card Case?
A marriage-based green card case requires you to submit specific documents along with application forms as proof of identity and current citizenship.
These personal documents include:
1) Your Passport
USCIS will require a passport translation of the biographic information page, picture page and, if applicable, the visa page of your current passport and any old or expired passports that you have. Copies and translations of every page are not necessary.
Make sure that your passport is current before you begin the marriage-based green card process!
2) Your Birth Certificate
Birth certificates and birth certificate translations are mandatory for nearly every immigration filing, including marriage-based green cards.
Some countries’ governments keep both a long-form and short-form version of a person’s birth certificate on file. USCIS needs the long-form birth certificate — the one that has the most information on it.
The copy of your birth certificate must include the following information:
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Both parents’ full names
- A seal from the issuing office showing that it is an official record
If a long-form birth certificate is not available, you may have to draw up affidavits for family members. If that is the case, those also will need to be translated.
3) Your Marriage Certificate
The marriage certificate translation is vital to your green card case — it is the document that allows you to qualify for permanent residency through your US citizen spouse.
If you had a wedding abroad and the document isn’t completely in English, you will need a translation for your immigration case. Additionally, if you or your spouse were previously married, copies of those marriage certificates — and translations, if applicable — are also necessary to include in the immigration filing.
4) Divorce or Death Certificates
If you or your spouse had a previous marriage that ended due to divorce or death, you will need to include a copy of the divorce filing or the death certificate. Again, certified translations are required for any non-English documents.
5) Children’s Documents
If your child or children are also gaining green cards due to your marriage to a US citizen, you will need copies and translations of their birth certificates and valid passports.
Why Is Immigration Document Translation Necessary?
Many potential immigrants balk at the thought of immigration document translation. Why isn’t the original document good enough?
In fact, the translation isn’t the only document that should be submitted to USCIS. A copy of the original document must be attached to the document translation as part of the immigration application.
Some immigrants wonder if they can submit a translation they have done themselves. However, USCIS requires certified translations for all immigration documents.
While you may be fluent in English as well as your home country’s language, USCIS prefers that an unbiased professional translator who can have the translation notarized be responsible for providing the translation — that’s why you should contact a professional translation company.
Translations of your personal documents are necessary for the proper filing of your immigration case. Submitting copies of your documents without certified translations can set back your processing time while USCIS sends inquiries, so have your immigration document translation done by qualified professional translators.