When you immigrate to Canada or apply for Canadian citizenship, you must submit a list of documents with your application; for example birth and/or marriage certificates, or certificates of citizenship, in order to prove you are who you say you are to the officials at Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

If your documents are not in English or French, you will have to produce what is called a certified translation of all of these documents, in order to provide an English or French version of the documents involved.

Here’s how you obtain a certified translation:

  • In the first place, IRCC policy regarding translation of documents applies to both citizenship applications done through consular missions abroad by persons living outside of Canada, as well as to applications sent directly to IRCC by persons living in Canada or in the United States.
  • Documents can either be the originals or a certified photocopy of the original document. A certified photocopy is a photocopy that is readable and has been certified by an official or authorized person in the country that issued the original document. It must have written on it the following information (in addition to the photocopied document):
    • The name and signature of the authorized person
    • Their position or title
    • The name of the original document
    • The date they certified the document
    • The following phrase: I certify that this is a true copy of the original document.
  • Along with the original or certified photocopy of the required documents you will also need a translation of the document if the original is not in English or French.
    • If you are applying from outside Canada:
      • You will need an affidavit along with the translation of the document. An affidavit is a document where the translator swears in the presence of a notary or other official with the power to administer oaths that the translation is a true representation of the contents of the original document.
      • A seal or stamp that shows the translator is a member of the local organization of translators in the country in question, and/or a membership number for a professional association of translators, is necessary as well.
    • If you are applying from inside Canada then you should use the services of a certified translator who is in good standing with their provincial or territorial organization. In this case you do not need an affidavit. Go here to find a certified translator in good standing in your province or territory.
  • Please note that translations done by a family member is not acceptable, no matter how proficient they may be in English or French. A certified translator in good standing in Canada, or a translator of equivalent professional status outside Canada, are the only accepted professionals who can translate documents for an IRCC application.
  • Also, please be aware that if a translation of a document appears to be of questionable accuracy, IRCC officials have the authority to request a retranslation.

Remember, if you submit documents without accompanying translations, then you will be asked by IRCC to:

  • Translate the original documents into English or French through a certified translator (or the equivalent in your country) AND
  • Re-submit your application with the original documents and with the certified translations attached.

This will involve additional time and expense on your part and can be avoided by always ensuring that any document that is not in English or French is translated by a certified (or equivalent) translator whether in your home country or in Canada.


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