The United States requires that asylum applications be documented to support the most important aspects of the story. This is a Congressional mandate that must be done, otherwise, the applicant risks denial of the case. Furthermore, it is an ongoing responsibility to continue and try to obtain such documentation until a decision is made in the asylum case—so it is possible to supplement the application with additional documents weeks, months, or years later up until a decision is made by the asylum office or the immigration court (EOIR).
Additionally, the law requires that documents be translated if they are in a foreign language and that they be accompanied by a signed translator’s certification from an individual who is fluent in both the foreign and English languages. The translator cannot be the applicant or a member of the applicant’s family (immediate or extended) but can be a friend or a professional translator so long as the individual is competent to translate (i.e. is fluent in both English and the language being translated). The translation must also be a complete translation of the document that is being provided to support the asylum claim. The court will not accept an excerpt; it must the whole document. The asylum office may accept an excerpt, but it has the discretion to refuse to consider it. If you intend to have your documents translated by a friend or colleague, then we can provide a sample of a TRANSLATOR’S CERTIFICATE that needs to be signed by the translator and attached to all translations.
The exact list of documents that should be translated to support an asylum claim will often depend upon the case, but normally fall into the following categories:
All asylum applicants must prove they are a citizen of the country from which they claim asylum. If you have a passport, that document should suffice to establish citizenship and it normally does not need to be translated.
You need to establish family relationships by providing a marriage certificate for a spouse and birth certificate of minor children (under 21 years of age). Government-issued Family Certificates can also suffice.
If the spouse or child is not in the United States, then these documents don’t typically need to be provided at this stage of the asylum case—we will inform you if they are needed.
You might need a birth certificate or related document to establish relationship if that family member is an important part of the story.
2. Documentation of your nationality, political, religious or social group
Asylum is protection because of persecution on account of your race, political, religious, nationality or membership in a particular social group, so this must be documented (e.g. membership card, news articles, etc.)
If relevant, document religious affiliation based upon national ID cards, baptismal certificates or similar documentation.
If relevant, document political or social group participation and position within an organization by membership cards, letters from the organization, articles of organization, school records, cover letters, official government or religious records.
To establish continued commitment to a political or religious organization that exists in the United States, we will sometimes request a letter from that organization.
3. Documentation of arrests, detentions, court proceedings, and searches
Any arrest or detention that is part of the story should be documented, if possible. (Police reports, arrest records, court documents, etc.)
Court proceedings should be documented if they establish some aspect of the case. This includes criminal proceedings especially if they establish the political bases of your asylum claim. The most important court proceeding is most likely the judgment, but sometimes charges also establish the political basis behind the proceeding.
If your home or business has been searched and that is related to the claim for asylum then warrants or police summaries of searches may be relevant and should be translated.
4. Dismissals from employment, police reports, medical reports or attacks upon your home or business
If you were dismissed from work due to political reasons and can document it, then this document needs to be presented and translated.
If there is documentation such as police reports evidencing attacks upon your home or business then this should be documented.
Document if there are medicals from doctors or hospitals that evidence injuries due to attacks, beatings or jail.
5. Stories in newspapers or other media
If there are stories about you, your family or your organization in the media that is relevant to your asylum case, then it should be translated.
To a certain extent, we can try and prove asylum eligibility through news articles that describe arrests, beatings, jail for individuals similarly situated to you. If documenting those in similar circumstances who have been pl+ersecuted, the most important are those who work in the same institutions or organizations which are central to your asylum claim. The need to translate such documents is sometimes dependent upon the availability of such news reports in English language media. If we can find the same evidence in English, then we may not need to translate the foreign news artice.
6. Affidavits of witnesses or family
If a central part of the story supporting the asylum application was witnessed by a family or friend, then it is probably necessary to have that individual who witnessed the event provide a CONSISTENT account of what they recall. It needn’t exactly match your asylum statement, but the affidavit must be consistent with your story.
If the witness statement is in a foreign language, then the full statement must be translated.
There will be occasions where other documents will be requested to support the asylum application. Furthermore, the list of documents needed, may be amended from time-to-time, as we learn more about your claim for asylum or if circumstances change in your home country or in the United States that is relevant to the asylum claim.
It is highly recommended that potential applicants consult with an attorney prior to initiating their immigration process. The information provided above is not intended as a substitute for seeking legal counsel regarding individual applications for permanent residency based on marriage. For more information, please feel free to reach out to one of our attorneys.