Certifying public documents for official use requires Apostille services. It is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that lays out the rules for public documents in languages other than English. The USCIS mandates that all foreign language documents are translated into English when in the U.S. system.
One of the most common needs for Apostille services is translating a foreign birth certificate for the purposes of immigration. You may also need to get officially certified translated documents for corporate or business transactions or family law issues.
Can I translate my own documents?
Even if you are fluent in both languages, an individual is not allowed to translate their own birth certificate or public documents for the purpose of immigration or other official reasons. Most other official government or business dealings also need to have officially certified translations in order to be viable. To do this, you must get an Apostille.
An Apostille is used to legitimize translations when transferring public documents from one country to another. Both the United States and Mexico both follow the Apostille guidelines decided by the Hague Convention in 1961, so both countries follow the same guidelines to certify public documents for inter country use.
The Hague Convention defined “public documents” as:
- documents originating in a court, clerk of a court, public prosecutor or process server,
- administrative documents,
- notarial acts,
- official certificates placed on documents
Who can translate the documents?
Before you can get the translated documents certified, you will need to hire a translator that complies with standards set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The USCIS requires that:
- the translator certify their translation is accurate
- the translator is competent to translate
- they attach their signature, date, name, and address to the document
What documents need to be officially translated?
Common documents we receive are:
- Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates
- Divorce Decree
- Single Status Affidavit
- Background Check (FBI, DOJ, Police)
- Power of Attorney
- Copy of Passport and Travel Consent
- Copy of Driver License
- Transcripts and Diplomas
- Authorization Letter
- Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Good Standing, Certification of Free Sale, Certification of Origin, and Commercial Invoices
Do I need an Apostille?
The Apostille itself is the name of the certificate issued by the Secretary of State that is attached to an original document to prove that it’s legitimate.
If you need any public document for inter-country use between the United States and Mexico, you will most likely need to acquire an Apostille to verify its legitimacy.
Do you need a lawyer for Apostille Services?
You are not required to hire a lawyer to get an Apostille to officially certify the translation. However, Apostilles are usually needed for immigration, family law, commercial invoices, or business transactions across the border. and we provide Apostille services here at LOIT & Associates. Not only can we certify the translation, but as lawyers we can help streamline the immigration process, prevent fraud, and stop you from having to redo documents that were incorrectly filled out.
Even minor mistakes in translations or Apostilles can delay your case, or even cause it to be rejected.
If you need immigration advice or legal help, LOIT & Associates are experienced lawyers and can help you navigate immigration systems of the United States and Mexico. We are based in Jalisco and Texas and handle cases about documents, immigration, family law, personal injury, real estate, and more.