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Is A Notary Public Allowed To Translate Documents For USCIS?


As a general rule, the non-English language documents have to be translated by a professional translator and be completed by his/her certification for USCIS. An example of a document that has to be translated for an immigration application is a birth certificate.

Some people assume that notary publics have the legal ability to translate certificates written in a foreign language though this is a gray area that differs depending on the kind of translation and whether or not the document needs notary public translation.

So before you move to the notary public in search of a translation, you should explain yourself the laws regarding notary translations.

Let me first start by stating that laws regarding the notary public service differ from state to state.

Just because one state authorizes notaries to conduct a particular act or service doesn’t mean another state will. This is why it’s essential for notary publics to learn their specific state’s laws; otherwise, they could miss their commission and be subject to penalties.

So, can a notary public translate documents for USCIS in the English language. The quick answer is yes; a notary public is allowed to do this service.

For instance, a notary public translation of a marriage certificate is a translation that has been translated by a notary public and acknowledged and stamped to verify that it is an English version of the original foreign language certificate.

Marriage certificates are not always needed if you are the single person applying for a visa of the United States, but if you intend bringing your partner with you, you may need to submit your marriage certificate to prove your relationship.

You may also need to submit a marriage certificate translation, if you are married to the U.S. citizen in your country or anywhere else for that case, and the certificate again is not in English.

When you have guidance about which documents you need to provide, make sure you are clear how they should be translated. There is a difference, for instance, between a certified translation and a notarized translation. Of the two, the notarized translation carries a little less weight than the certified translation.

Notarized translation for USCIS is rarely required. So, always get in touch with the organization requiring your documents and inquire if they need your translations notarized or only certified. But if a client goes to a notary’s office to ask for a translation, and the notary public is good in the language, the notary can translate the document.

With that said, translations aren’t an approved service of the notary public job, meaning there are some laws notaries must follow when offering this service.

Even if the notary public is skilled in the foreign language used in the document, he or she may not certify translations. This is because translations are not a professional job. Though, the notary is allowed to notarize the sign of a translator who attests to the correctness of the translation.

Here’s a typical view that often arises: a client asks a notary public to translate a certificate and then notarize a sign on it. In most states, though, notaries are forbidden from notarizing signs on certificates they have translated.

If a notary public translates a document for USCIS, the document must be brought to another notary to have it notarized.

Also, a notary public may notarize a document even if he or she is not fluent in the language used. The notary must be capable to verbally interact with the signer or translator to make sure the signer signs the certificate in his or her clear mind. The notarization and associated certificate should be made in English, though.

To outline, notary public translation in the United States is rarely granted to translate documents for clients, although not in an ordered range. And if the notary decides to translate a document, he or she may not notarize any signs on the document.

The document should be notarized by a notary public who has not translated it. Positively, this will give you a better perception of what’s adequate regarding the translation and notarization of foreign documents and what’s not for US immigration process.

About Nirmala Santha Kumar

Nirmala is a dedicated blogger who blogs about technology. She is one of the active partners in this blog who would like to publish posts on her fascinating topics.

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