Getting married is a joyous event in life. But, like most important life milestones, it comes with its share of paperwork.

Whether you are getting married overseas or immigrating after your wedding, it’s important to know that you might need to have your marriage certificate translated.

In this article, we break down when you need to translate your marriage certificate and how to do it. You’ll also find answers to some common questions related to this topic below, such as where to find your marriage certificate and how much the translation will cost.

  1. What is a marriage certificate?
  2. Where can you find your marriage certificate?
  3. Why do you need to translate your marriage certificate?
  4. Marriage certificate translation for USCIS
    1. What is a certified translation?
  5. How do you translate official documents?
  6. How do you translate a marriage certificate?
    1. Find an appropriate translator or translation company
    2. Ask for a quote and delivery time
    3. Submit an electronic copy of your document to your translation provider
    4. Receive your certified translation
  7. Can I translate my own marriage certificate for USCIS?
  8. How much does it cost to get a marriage certificate translated?
  9. Final thoughts

A marriage certificate is an official document that proves two people are married.

It should not be confused with a marriage license which (in the United States) is a document you obtain before your wedding ceremony which authorizes you to get married.

Your marriage certificate will typically include the date and place of marriage, the name, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, and occupation of both spouses, the name and birthplace of the spouses’ parents, and the names of the witnesses.

This will depend on the country you got married in. Marriage certificates have different names in different places and may be issued by different authorities. A good bet to get a copy of your marriage certificate is to turn to the agency where you filed for marriage. It could be a church, a vital records office, or a registrar of public record, for example.

Here are the most common reasons you will need to translate a marriage certificate:

  • If you live in the US but get married overseas and the document is issued in a different language, you will need the translation to register the marriage in the United States.
  • You will also need this translation for immigration purposes. If you move to the US after getting married and your certificate is in a foreign language, you will need a certified translation to submit it before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Some countries require copies of your marriage certificate to issue passports or visas. If your marriage certificate is in a language other than that country’s official language, you will need to have it translated.
  • It might be necessary for you to translate your US marriage certificate when moving to another country.

As immigration is a common reason to translate a marriage certificate, we thought it was worth focusing on what this entails.

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Here are the USCIS translation requirements:

  • Translations to be submitted before USCIS must be typed, not written.
  • They should also follow the same format as the original and be certified.
  • The certified translation should be printed with the letterhead of your translation provider and include a certification statement.

Let’s take a closer look at what a certified translation entails below.

A certified translation is a literal (word-for-word) translation of all visible text in a document used for official purposes. The receiver (USCIS, in this case) requires certification to verify that the translation is complete and accurate.

The translation service provider will also add a signed statement that says the translation is a complete and accurate rendition of the original document. This statement is known as a “Certificate of Translation Accuracy.”

You will be happy to know that a certified translation does not expire. It is valid forever unless the requesting agency says otherwise, which is rare.

It is worth noting that, in the United States, a translator does not need to be certified at a federal or state level to provide a certified translation service. Anyone with sufficient skills in the relevant languages can issue the translation.

You can learn more about certified translations here.

Do note that it’s crucial to follow all requirements to make sure your translation is accepted by the USCIS and avoid delays in the immigration process. You can find the section from the Code of Federal Regulations that discusses the US Citizenship and Immigration Services translation requirements here. You can also find more information on the translation of immigration documents for USCIS in this article.

Official documents generally require an official translation. This is a translation that is legally valid, which usually means it has been stamped by an authority. In the United States, the term is often used in the context of certified or notarized translations.

We’ve discussed what marriage certificates are and when you need to have them translated. It’s now time to move on to the translation process in the United States. We’ll break it down in steps below but first, let’s give you a brief overview of official documents in general.

As we’ve mentioned, a certified translation is a word-for-word translation of all the text in a document intended for official use.

Meanwhile, a notarized translation is a certified translation that includes one more step to ensure its validity. It is signed and sealed by a Notary Public.

We’ve covered the requirements for certified translations above. If you want more information on notarized translations and their requirements, take a look at this article.

Whether you need a certified or notarized translation will depend on the institution before which you are submitting your document. This is why you should always ask for the exact requirements.

Now let’s cover the four steps you should follow to translate a marriage certificate in the United States.

For example, if you need your document for immigration purposes, you should ensure they offer immigration translation. They should also have a 100% acceptance rate with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

You should note that both the quote and the delivery time may vary depending on how many documents you need to translate. Other factors that affect the cost and delivery time are the length of the document, the format, the specific language combination, if you require certification and/or notarization and if you need the translation urgently. However, marriage certificate translations usually have a 24-72h turnaround.

When submitting your document, you should include some personal details such as your name, phone number, and email address. You should also include the language of the original document (source language) and the language for the translation (target language).

Once the translation is complete, the translation provider will make sure it is reviewed for accuracy. You will then receive an electronic copy as well as hard copies by post as needed.

As you can see, the process is not complicated and doesn’t usually take long.

Certified Translation Services

Get your documents translated and certified by a professional translator in 60+ languages for just $24.95 per page with 24 hour delivery.

The short answer is no. USCIS specifically bans you from translating your own immigration documents. We suggest you don’t ask for help from friends or family either, even if they are professional translators, as this is seen as a conflict of interest and a cause for rejection.

As we’ve mentioned in the previous section, the price for translation services varies depending on different factors.

For this article, we’ll consider certified translation as that’s what you are most likely to need for your marriage certificate. Translators or translation companies usually charge per word or page (one "page" is about 250 words). When it comes to cost per word, you will find prices ranging from $0.08 to $0.50/word. The cost per page can vary from $20 to $130.

RushTranslate provides certified marriage certificate translation services for 65 languages, at $24.95 per page, with 24-hour delivery and 100% guaranteed approval by USCIS.

As we’ve seen, there are several reasons why you might need to translate a marriage certificate. As different countries and different institutions have different requirements, you should always check what they are beforehand, including whether it needs to be certified and/or notarized.

We hope this article has given you a clear overview of how to translate a marriage certificate and answered your questions related to this topic.

Updated October 31, 2022 in Translation