June 7, 2023

Importance of Translated Documents in Canada Immigration

Immigration is a complex process that involves a lot of paperwork, including documents written in foreign languages. In Canada, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires all foreign language documents to be officially translated in English or French, and failure to comply can have severe consequences. This blog post will highlight the importance of including translated documents in immigration applications, using the case of Hasan Gorgulu as an example. We will also provide tips on how to submit translated documents correctly to avoid issues with immigration applications.


The Importance of Certified Translations in Immigration Applications

The Canadian government requires all foreign language documents submitted in support of immigration and citizenship applications to be accompanied by an official translation in English or French. The translation must also be completed by a certified official translator. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the documents are accurately translated and can be easily assessed by IRCC personnel.

It is crucial to note that failure to have foreign language documents officially translated and certified may result in an application being refused or considered incomplete. In addition, IRCC personnel cannot be required to understand documents written in non-official languages, as they will not be able to assess the value of the information in the document if it isn’t in English or French.


The Case of Hasan Gorgulu: Lessons Learned

Hasan Gorgulu, a citizen of Turkey, applied for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) to IRCC. He provided three documents written in Turkish, which he also provided copies of translated into English. However, the English documents were not certified, and his application was refused because the IRCC officer stated that the English documents were not correctly certified and were therefore not considered in his application.

Gorgulu applied for judicial review of this decision, and the federal court concluded that the officer’s decision not to bring the mistake to Gorgulu’s attention was unreasonable. The court also stated that while there are no legal requirements for IRCC to inform applicants of mistakes in their documents, it is within the officer’s discretion to do so. The court highlighted the importance of a complete, accurate, and certified translation of foreign-language documents in immigration applications, as failure to do so can have significant consequences.


Understanding the Government’s Requirements for Document Translation

The Canadian government provides online resources to help immigrants understand their obligations with translating documents into one of Canada’s official languages before submission. It is essential to familiarize oneself with these requirements before submitting foreign-language documents as part of an immigration application.

Documents submitted in a non-official language must be accompanied by an official language translation, complete with a translator’s declaration. Moreover, the documents must be accurately translated, and the translation must be certified by an official translator. Any documents submitted only in non-official languages will not be considered, and IRCC personnel cannot be required to understand them.


Tips for Submitting Translated Documents in Immigration Applications

  1. Hire a certified translator: It is essential to hire a certified translator to ensure that the documents are accurately translated and certified. A certified translator will provide a certification that includes their name, address, signature, and the date of the translation. This certification will prove that the translation is accurate and complete.
  2. Provide complete and accurate translations: Ensure that the translation is complete and accurately reflects the original document. Avoid using online translation tools as they may not provide accurate translations. These tools may also fail to capture the nuances and subtleties of the original language, which could lead to important information being lost in translation.
  3. Submit translations with original documents: Translations must be submitted with the original foreign language documents. Submitting translations separately can result in delays in the processing of the application. It is also important to ensure that the translation is attached to the correct document.
  4. Plan ahead: Translation takes time, so it is important to plan ahead and ensure that you have enough time to have the documents translated and certified before the application deadline. Rushed translations are more likely to contain errors or omissions that could impact the success of your application.
  5. Follow IRCC guidelines: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) require that all foreign language documents submitted in support of applications for immigration and citizenship must be accompanied by an official translation in English or French. The translation of these documents must also be completed by a certified official translator. It is important to follow IRCC guidelines to ensure that your application is complete and accurate.

Submitting translated documents can be a complex and time-consuming process, but by following these tips, you can help ensure that your immigration application is successful. Remember to plan ahead, hire a certified translator, provide complete and accurate translations, and follow IRCC guidelines to avoid any unnecessary delays or complications in the application process.


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