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Bringing Families Together: How Legal Translation Helps Immigrant Families

— June 20, 2022

The US is a destination that many migrants prize highly due to its economic and lifestyle opportunities. Yet the process of moving there isn’t known for being easy.

People from all over the world dream of moving to the United States and becoming Americans. Well over 40 million people living in the US today have done just that, migrating from countries around the world. 

Yet migration isn’t always clear cut. Families often move in stages, meaning that translation agencies supporting those who need documents in another language can play a key role in reuniting loved ones. Below, we’ll take a look at immigration into the US, including translation agency examples and documentation details. 

Immigrants in the US

Individuals move to the US for a wide range of reasons, from work to study (if you fit into the latter category, these tips for law school success will make for handy reading). Often, their families will join them at a later date, with family members applying to become immigrants at different times, based on their individual circumstances. 

As a translation agency working to support immigrants to deal with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Tomedes translates a wide range of documents, issuing certificates of translation to confirm their authenticity. 

The Immigration Process

USCIS has a clear, detailed process that those wanting to move to the US must adhere to. It begins with submitting a petition, after which visa processing begins. Both the processing and the next step – an affidavit of support – require a fee to be paid. After that comes the examination of financial documents, an online application and a review of civil documents. 

A translation agency may need to support the applicant with their documentation, as anything not in English needs to undergo certified translation. 

Following document submission, USCIS will interview the applicant, after which a decision will be made regarding their immigration status. 

Documentation That Immigrants Need

The documents USCIS requires will vary from person to person, but generally include items such as birth, marriage and divorce certificates, passport, bank statements and other financial papers, evidence of qualifications and more. 

Translation agencies can convert all of these to English to aid a smooth application process. Given the US immigration system has a record-breaking current backlog of over 1.7 million cases, the importance of families getting their translations right and not missing their shot at immigration due to non-compliance with documentation requirements cannot be overstated. 

3 Cases Where a Translation Agency Facilitated Immigration Applications

Tomedes has helped many families over the years by translating documents to support their immigration applications. Here are the stories of three families who needed the kind of legal translation solutions that translation agencies provide. 

Family #1

A client needed her marriage certificate translated from Mexican Spanish to US English, as part of her application process with USCIS. The translation had to be accurate and certified, meaning that the translator had to issue an official certificate of translation. This certification is an essential part of the translation process, so immigrants should always ensure they use a translation agency that guarantees the acceptance of their legal translations by USCIS. 

Family #2

Desk globe on table; image by Kyle Glenn, via
Desk globe on table; image by Kyle Glenn, via

Immigrants move to the US from across the globe. In the case of one Tomedes client, this meant leaving China and relocating over 11,500 km away. However, she discovered at extremely short notice that she had misplaced two translations that she needed – of her birth certificate and her driving license. 

Time was very much of the essence, with the client having only a few hours to obtain replacement translations of her documents. This can often be the way with immigration applications – things can seem to move slowly for a long time, until suddenly they need to move very fast! 

Family #3

Another case of urgent translation involved a client who needed his birth certificate translated from Spanish to US English. Birth certificates are a core part of USCIS documentation requirements. They must be translated fully, with the translation laid out to mirror the original document. As with other USCIS document translations, a certificate of translation is required to confirm the authenticity of the paperwork. 


The US is a destination that many migrants prize highly due to its economic and lifestyle opportunities. Yet the process of moving there isn’t known for being easy. Whether you’re at the start of the process and still discovering American culture or mid-way through a visa application, the support of a translation agency can help set your mind at ease. 

If you already have family in the US and are seeking to join them, the pressure can feel intense. Dealing with USCIS can be a source of worry, but with the right documentation and the right translations, you can sleep easier at night, knowing that you have done all you can to give your application the maximum chance of success. 

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