Personal documents are required to be presented whenever a prospective migrant or visitor to Australia applies for a visa. The only exceptions are for short-term visitor visa waivers, known as ETAs, which are usually applied online and normally quickly processed without any need to provide supporting documents. The list of personal documents required varies somewhat from visa to visa, but usually almost includes birth, marriage, and divorce certificates, police criminal record checks, medical examination reports, and English language proficiency test results.

Why do I need my divorce certificate translated?

Australian immigration authorities insist that all personal documents are translated into English (with the exception of passports) if they are not actually issued in English in the first place. This means that everything you have been asked to provide to support your visa application (or Australian citizenship application) must be translated by a professional translator and certified to show that it is a genuine and accurate version of the original. 

This can take some time if you are about to apply for a visa and it is worth starting early by getting all your personal documents translated in time. Note that most visa applications are quite expensive and if you do not provide the right documents or have them translated to the satisfaction of immigration officials you risk losing your fee and then having to start all over again and paying another fee.

The need for a NAATI-certified translator

NAATI is Australia’s only accreditation authority for translators and interpreters (the acronym stands for National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters). It maintains high standards for translators and interpreters within Australia. Australian government agencies, employers, and educational organizations, all of which deal with foreign applications rely on NAATI-certified translations when they ask applicants to provide translations of their personal documents.

In theory, if you are applying from outside Australia, you can use a local professional translator to do the personal document translation, including such things as divorce certificate translation, for you rather than a NAATI-certified translator. However, there are good reasons why using a NAATI-certified translator to translate your divorce documents together with other documents as you will not have to worry whether the standard of the translation will be questioned. 

Obviously, it is easier to send original documents from within Australia, which may be a necessary part of the process. Relying on using a courier to send personal documents from outside Australia to a NAATI translator in Australia may be a legitimate concern. However, you may be able to scan the documents and send them through the internet, avoiding the risk of losing the originals.

Find the right language service provider

In conclusion, if you are applying for an Australian visa or you have been asked to provide translated personal documents such as divorce certificate translations by an Australian employer or educational institution, you are advised to use a NAATI certified personal document translation service as a preferred choice unless the practicalities of doing so mean using a local translator. Don’t even consider doing the translations yourself, whatever your English proficiency, or a friend. Use a trusted professional service.