Birth certificates have a multiple of uses even though they are often left in drawers or cupboards or even lost for years without being used. If you live in the country of your birth all the time, you are unlikely to ever really need your birth certificate apart from applying for a passport when you are eligible to do so. In some countries, like Australia, to get government recognition for health care or a driving license you need several forms of identification. You might then need your birth certificate as well as other forms of identification like your passport or utility bills. It’s certainly an important document if you do decide to move overseas to live, study or work. Your birth certificate actually provides information about you which other documents do not. For example, your birth certificate shows:

  • where you were born;
  • when you were born (and therefore your age);
  • who your parents were;
  • other information depending on where the birth certificate was issued (e.g. the employment status of your parents).

Situations that require a birth certificate translation

Birth certificate translation is typically necessary if you apply for a visa in a country other than your own where the official language is also different from your own. Presumably, all the official documents you have collected over the years are printed in your own home country’s official language and you will be asked to translate the birth certificate to English (and all other personal documents) if you intend applying for a visa in a country where English is the official language. Let’s say, just as an example, that you are German or Austrian and were born in and have lived in Europe most of your life. All your personal documents you need for moving to another country such as Australia will be in German and unintelligible to the person assigned the task of assessing them against entry requirements. You will certainly be asked to translate your German birth certificate into English together with all other documents you need to present. The exception to this translation requirement is usually your passport. This can be presented in its original form, usually at the last minute when all other application requirements have been completed.

To summarise, German birth certificate translation may be required for any combination of the following: (continuing the example given above where a German speaker is applying for a visa in Australia)

  • an application to study in Australia;
  • an application for a job in Australia;
  • setting up a business in Australia;
  • application to visit Australia for a sporting or cultural event in which you are a participant;
  • application as a scientist or other academic doing research or taking part in a convention or conference;
  • applying for an Australian state or territory driving license;
  • applying for a Medicare card (after taking up residence);
  • applying for Australian permanent residence or citizenship after completing the qualifying residence period.

How can you get a birth certificate translation in Australia?

If you are physically in Australia when you are in need of a birth certificate translation, you may be required to use an authorised birth certificate translation service. Every country has different rules about who is trusted to provide an official translation, but in Australia, this is the National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). All you need to do is to find a NAATI accredited professional translator or translation agency that specialises in translation of personal documents for immigration purposes in the German language or the language of your documents.