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To translate or not to translate?

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I am about to send in supporting documents to the NVC for my wife's IV (immigrant visa) packet.

According to the official instructions : "All documents not written in English, or in the official language of the country in which you are applying for a visa, must be accompanied by certified translations. The translation must include a statement signed by the translator stating that the:

  • Translation is accurate, and
  • Translator is competent to translate."

So, since we are applying from Vietnam and will conduct the interview here in the Ho Chi Minh City consulate, according to the instructions, we don't need to translate items such as her birth certificate or our marriage license (which are in Vietnamese, "the official language of the country in which [we] are applying".
However, I may have read people recommending translation- after all I will be sending these documents initially to the U.S.
Anyone with any experience in this?

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The consulate may have specific translation requirements despite what it says on the NVC website. While you may or may not receive a checklist from the NVC for translations (I don't know if they keep up with each individual cou try's requirements {I doubt that they do}). If the Consulate requires translations and you don't have them, they will delay issuing a visa until they do.

You need a Vietnam specific answer for translation requirments at the Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City.


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We translated everything - aside from my understanding it is required in that consulate, I didn't feel comfortable submitting anything in Vietnamese only, since my Vietnamese is not very good - I wanted to see everything in English.

I am about to send in supporting documents to the NVC for my wife's IV (immigrant visa) packet.

According to the official instructions : "All documents not written in English, or in the official language of the country in which you are applying for a visa, must be accompanied by certified translations. The translation must include a statement signed by the translator stating that the:

  • Translation is accurate, and
  • Translator is competent to translate."

So, since we are applying from Vietnam and will conduct the interview here in the Ho Chi Minh City consulate, according to the instructions, we don't need to translate items such as her birth certificate or our marriage license (which are in Vietnamese, "the official language of the country in which [we] are applying".
However, I may have read people recommending translation- after all I will be sending these documents initially to the U.S.
Anyone with any experience in this?

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Thanks everyone- because it seemed the right thing to do, and also since it was cheap and easy (about $7.50 per document), I had everything translated.

So one final whine: Why don't they just drop the language saying 'or in the official language of the country in which you are applying for a visa ' blah blah blah and just say EVERYTHING MUST BE TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH. Why the fake-out? Oh well, we probably all have more important gripes to worry about. So that's that...

Thanks again for getting me over that bump.

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Thanks everyone- because it seemed the right thing to do, and also since it was cheap and easy (about $7.50 per document), I had everything translated.

So one final whine: Why don't they just drop the language saying 'or in the official language of the country in which you are applying for a visa ' blah blah blah and just say EVERYTHING MUST BE TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH. Why the fake-out? Oh well, we probably all have more important gripes to worry about. So that's that...

Thanks again for getting me over that bump.

They likely require it in the language of the country to help determine a document's authenticity (for example, COs in Vietnam would be familar with the look and feel of a Vietnamese birth certificate), and the English version is necessary to ensure the document is associated with the particular visa application (i.e., names and circumstances match). Either that, or lobbyists for the document providers got this read into law. Partially sarcastic...

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JRF- your reasoning is sound, however the NVC instructions say 'either/or' not 'both'. According to the instructions a Vietnamese document does not need to be translated into English (for cases in Vietnam). Everyone is advising to do it anyway and I concur.

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