How to Sponsor Your Spouse for a Green Card - Part 3

How to Sponsor Your Spouse for a Green Card - Part 3

This blog series will help you discover how you get a U.S. green card for your Canadian spouse. As immigration lawyers in Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan, we are often contacted to assist couples who want to live together in either Canada or the U.S. We love to support our cross-border couples by providing guidance, advice, and assistance on both Canadian spousal sponsorship and U.S. green cards through marriage.

Part 3 will focus on translating documents.

In case you missed it, Part 2 of this blog series discussed the evidence and forms required for a U.S. marriage-based green card petition.

How to Translate Documents for Green Card Applications

Translating documents for U.S. immigration applications is very important. When people choose to do the immigration application themselves, a mistake in translation is a common reason why the processing of a petition may be delayed.

The United States does not have an official language, but English is the de facto official language used by government departments. The U.S. federal government regulations require that any and all documents submitted to USCIS be accompanied by a full English translation.

Common documents that must be translated include, but are not limited to:

  • Birth certificates;
  • Decrees of Divorce;
  • Marriage certificates;
  • Police records;
  • Bank statements; and
  • Academic credentials.

Certifying Translated Documents

Any individual who is fluent in both English and the original language may translate a document for a U.S. immigration petition. A strict prohibition is that the Petitioner / Sponsor or accompanying spouse may not translate their own documents. The translator should not be related to any of the parties in any way, by immediate family ties or marriage. 

The immigration officer reviewing the application ultimately holds discretion in whether to accept the certified English translation.

Further, some specific embassies and consulates restrict acceptable translators to certain agencies.

For these reasons, we recommend using the services of an experienced professional translator to avoid delays in the processing of your application. 

The full English translation of the document must be typed, not handwritten, and must be certified by the translator. In their certification, the translator must certify that the translation is complete and accurate, and that they are competent to translate the document from the foreign language to English. The translator must provide their name, address, signature, and certification date and must complete a certification form. The federal regulations do not require a translation to be notarized.

Timeline for Submitting Translated Documents

All supporting documents, including copies of the original document and certified translated documents, should be submitted as part of the marriage-based green card petition application. The government may additionally request that you provide certified translated documents at other stages in the process (for example, if the government issues a Request for Evidence seeking answers to additional questions). 

What’s Next?

Check out Part 4 of this blog series on marriage green cards for Canadians, which discusses planning ahead with “Two Pathways - Adjustment of Status vs. Consular Processing”.

If you have any questions, please feel free to schedule a strategy session to discuss your specific situation. The lawyers at Sisu Legal Immigration are cross-border experts, and work closely with couples in Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan (as well as couples in other cross-border regions of Canada and the United States).

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