If you have a birth certificate from another country, you’ll need to have it translated in order to use it for official business in the United States, including for immigration and travel. There are steps you must take to ensure that the translation is approved by such agencies as the U.S. Department of State. Once you do, you’ll have a notarized birth certificate that can be used in any circumstance.
Find an Appropriate Translator
The first step to getting your birth certificate translation notarized is to find an appropriate translator. You want someone who is fluent in both the language of the birth certificate and the language you want it translated into. You don’t want someone with just a cursory knowledge of both languages, but someone who is very proficient.
If you know someone personally who is fluent in both the language of your birth certificate and the language you want it translated to, you can have them do it if the agency needing the birth certificate will accept it, as some agencies will insist that only certified translators be used. If you don’t know anybody who can translate your birth certificate, you can hire a qualified person or a translating service to complete it for you. For a fee, in many cases you can get your birth certificate professionally translated within 24 hours, if necessary.
Certify the Translation
Once your birth certificate is translated, you must have it certified by the person or agency that translated it. This is not the same thing as having the birth certificate translation notarized. A certification is a sworn, signed and dated statement written by the translator or translator agency confirming that the translation is complete and accurate. The certification should state the pertinent languages the translator is fluent in and include the certifier’s name and address.
If your translated birth certificate is certified by a translation agency, a company seal must accompany the statement.
If the agency you’re submitting a translated birth certificate to has particular requirements for certification, be sure to comply with those as well. Failing to do so may mean your translated birth certificate will not be accepted by the agency you submit it to, and you’ll need to start the entire process over.
Get the Birth Certificate Translation Notarized
While not explicitly required, it’s always a safe bet to have your birth certificate translation notarized. You’ll only have to translate and notarize a birth certificate once, so it’s a good idea to have all of your bases covered for future use.
To get a notarized birth certificate, you must find a local notary public. A notary public reviews the translated birth certificate, signs the document and provides an official notary seal. The seal indicates that the notary verified the identity of the person translating the document and that the person was competent to provide the translation.
You can find notary publics at banks, court houses, insurance agencies and foreign consulates. If needed, you can have a notary public come to you. No matter where you have it done, you will have to pay a fee to have your birth certificate translation notarized.
Submit Your Translated Birth Certificate
Once your birth certificate has been translated and notarized, you can submit it to the appropriate agency as instructed. You’ll likely only need to provide a legible photocopy of your translated birth certificate, so make a few readable copies to have on hand. In case you need to submit the original notarized birth certificate, it will likely be returned to you, but you should always make a copy or two before you submit it.
Taking the time to translate and notarize your birth certificate properly the first time you need it will set you up well for when you need a translated birth certificate in the future.
Read More: How to Read a Birth Certificate
Some governmental agencies and organizations may only accept certified translations of birth certificates from translation agencies to ensure accuracy of translation.
- You can find Notary Publics in foreign consulates, insurance agencies, banks and court houses.
- Be prepared to pay a small fee to the Notary.
- Some governmental agency and organizations may only accept certified translations from translation agencies to ensure accuracy of translation.
Leslie Bloom earned a J.D. from U.C. Davis’ King Hall, with a focus on public interest law. She is a licensed attorney who has done advocacy work for children and women. She holds a B.S. in print journalism, and has more than 20 years of experience writing for a variety of print and online publications, including the Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy.