Immigration to Canada: How to Have the Documents Translated

To immigrate to Canada, you need to gather a lot of documents: passport, education credentials, marriage certificate, bank statements, and other papers. If the documents are not in English or French, they must be translated.

Documents That Should Be Translated

The list of documents may vary depending on the immigration program. In general, the following papers should be translated into English or French:

  • Passport: you need to have translated into English the pages with the passport number, date of issue and expiration, name, date and place of birth, pages indicating any changes in name, date of birth, etc.
  • Other identification documents and proof of civil status: birth certificates, legal documents on the change of name or date of birth (if applicable), marriage certificates, divorce certificates, death certificates of former spouses or partners (if applicable), national identification cards, certificates birth of children, adoption documents.
  • Proof of language proficiency (IELTS certificate is most often issued in English)
  • Proof of work experience: reference letters from former employers.
  • Credentials: diplomas and certificates from a university, college or other educational institution, with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).
  • Documents of relatives who are citizens or permanent residents of Canada (if applicable). Such relatives include a spouse or partner, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews.
  •  — Proof of status. If your relative is a permanent resident of Canada, you must provide a Record of Landing, copy of a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) or a copy of a permanent resident card (PR card). If the relative is a Canadian citizen, you must provide a copy of the first page of his Canadian passport or a copy of the Canadian citizenship card.
  • — Proof of kinship: a birth, marriage or adoption certificate. For example, to prove that your relative in Canada is your father’s aunt, you need to provide copies of birth certificates for her and your father, showing that they have at least one common parent.
  • — Proof of a relative’s residence in Canada: copies of tenant agreements, a letter confirming employment, monthly bills, etc.
  • Police certificate.
  • Documents from insurance companies, if you have any. For example, if you insured real estate, a car, or you had medical insurance, this will probably help reduce your insurance payments in Canada, since you have positive insurance history.
  • Reference letters from former landlords. If you have rented a home, ask your landlord to write a reference letter with his contact details. You may have problems renting your first apartment or house in Canada without a credit history in the country — letters of recommendation may help in this case.
  • Proof of funds: a statement of cash flows for several months, an extract from accounts or deposits, or a statement of the balance of funds in the account.
  • Bank statements on the funds on your bank accounts and supporting documents relating to the cash that you bring to Canada with you. If you bring cash or securities worth more than C$10,000 (or the equivalent in another currency), you will need to declare this amount upon arrival in Canada.

Where To Translate Documents

There are three ways to have immigration documents translated:

1. At a professional translation agency. By submitting documents to the translation agency you will save time. However, the translation may be of poor quality, as translators often make mistakes. An official translation is also more expensive. For example, in one of the translation agencies in Ontario, a translation costs C$49 for the first page and C$35 for each additional page. Translation from rare languages is more expensive. However, the translation agency puts its stamp, and such documents do not need to be notarized.

2. At an independent translator with subsequent notarization. In this case, you must have the translator’s signature notarized (if there is no seal of the translation agency). Translation of documents costs from C$150 to C$400 depending on the notary public, the translator, and the number of documents that need to be translated. The translator must provide his diploma to a notary public who will certify that the documents are signed by a professional.

3. On your own. The most difficult way is to translate the documents yourself. In this case, you need:

  • To take your translations for correction to a translation agency (it will cost much cheaper than a full translation — about 50% of the cost of a full translation)
  • To have the translation notarized at a translation agency or a notary public

What To Attach to the Translation

You need to attach to the translated documents the following:

1. Certified copies of the original documents. The certified copies must be readable and certified by an authorized person as genuine copies of the original. In Canada, the authorized persons are notary public, commissioner of oaths, and commissioner of taking affidavits. The relatives and family members of the applicant (parents, guardians, siblings, spouses, aunts, uncles, grandparents) are not entitled to certify documents.

The authorized person compares the copies with the original documents and puts on the copies his name, title, signature, name of the original document, date of certification and the phrase “I certify that this is a true and correct copy of the original”.

2. Certified copy of the translation into English or French.A copy must be certified by a translation agency or a notary public if the translator does not have a seal. A copy is considered to be certified copy after the authorized person compared the original document with the copy and put on the copy his name, position, signature, name of the original document, and the date of certification.

3. Affidavit is a document that confirms the correctness of the translation and that the translator has professional translation skills and proficiency in a foreign language. A document becomes an affidavit when the translator signs this document in the presence of an authorized person after taking the oath that the document is true and accurate.

Some provincial programs still accept documents in paper, and the requirements may be different (for example, notarization may be required). To learn about translation requirements, you are advised to contact the province you are planning to relocate to.