Certified and Notarized Translations of Immigration Documents

Translation of Immigration Documents for the USCIS

We’ve blogged about the need for professional certified legal interpreters and translators for immigration interviews and the importance of certified and notarized English translations of foreign-language documents in accordance with the requirements of the U.S. Immigration (also known as USCIS- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). According to a recent decision by the US 9th Circuit, a state law that automatically legitimizes everyone born out of wedlock satisfies the ‘legitimation’ requirement for citizenship of a foreign-born child of an unwed US citizen father. Anderson v. Holder (March 12, 2012). Specifically, the Court stated: “Citizenship is determined under the federal law that was in place at the time of the birth of the person in question”.

In Anderson, the person in question was born in 1954. In 1954, federal law only granted citizenship when paternity was established by legitimation before the child reached the age of 21. The child in question spent his childhood in Arizona, a state which, at the time, had no paternity legitimation procedure in place – a result of a 1921 state statute making all children automatically ‘legitimate’.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt writes: “To require some unspecified formal act not only defies the state legislature, it imposes a Kafkaesque requirement to undertake a formal process that does not exist.”

This decision will have interesting ramifications as immigration continues to play a role in states such as Arizona. When a child’s parents are foreign-born and in the country illegally, or when there is no documentation showing the country in which the child was born, new issues related to the US citizenship are likely to arise. Further, if a child is born in the US but later moves overseas to live with a foreign parent, how does this play in if later on the citizenship becomes an issue? Regardless, all will require the use of certified foreign language document translations for immigration.

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