About this service

Who can use the Free Translating Service?

The Free Translating Service can be used by anyone who holds a permanent visa (except return resident visas), or one of the following temporary visas:

  • Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300)
  • Partner (Provisional) visa (subclass 309)
  • Partner (Temporary) visa (subclass 820)
  • Dependent Child visa (subclass 445)
  • Temporary Humanitarian Stay visa (subclass 449)
  • Temporary Humanitarian Concern visa (subclass 786)
  • Temporary Protection visa (subclass 785)
  • Safe Haven Enterprise visa (subclass 790).

All other temporary visas including bridging visas are ineligible for the Free Translating Service.

In addition, an applicant must meet the following conditions:

  • The applicant’s eligible visa must have been granted within the previous two years. If your eligible permanent visa was granted more than two years ago, you are not eligible to access the Free Translating Service.
  • The applicant must not have previously exhausted the allowable limit of ten (10) translated documents.
  • The applicant must not have previously accessed the service on an eligible temporary visa.

Which visa subclasses are eligible for the Free Translating Service?

The Free Translating Service can be used by anyone who holds one of the following visa subclasses:

100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 106, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 124, 126, 132, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 143, 151, 175, 176, 186, 187, 189, 190, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 300, 309, 445, 449, 785, 786, 790, 800, 801, 802, 804, 808, 820, 834, 835, 836, 837, 838, 846, 851, 852, 855, 856, 857, 858, 859, 861, 862, 863, 864, 866, 880, 881, 882, 883, 885, 886, 887, 888, 890, 891, 892, 893

All other visa subclasses including bridging visas, tourist visas, and working holiday visas are ineligible for the Free Translating Service. Australian citizens are also ineligible. 

Certain visa sub classes may have additional eligibility requirements, details of which can be verified during the application process.

In addition, you must meet the following conditions:

  • The visa must have been granted within the previous two years. If your eligible visa was granted more than two years ago, you are not eligible to access the Free Translating Service.
  • You must not have previously exhausted the allowable limit of ten (10) translated documents.

I can’t speak English. Can I get an interpreter to call you?

If you don’t speak English well, or at all, you can call TIS National on 131 450, request the language interpreter you need, and ask to be put through to The Migration Translators on 02 8776 3383. You will not be charged for the interpreter but you will be charged for the cost of the call to TIS National.

For how long do I have to access the Free Translating Service?

You have two (2) years from the date of your visa grant to access the service.

How can I apply to get documents translated for free?

You can lodge an application on this website.

In order to apply, you need certain documents with you to complete the application form and upload. These are:

  • A certified copy of your passport or ImmiCard;
  • Your visa grant notice or VEVO entitlement check;
  • Certified copies of all the documents you need translated.

You can start an application here.

Lodging an application online is the easiest and fastest option, but you can also lodge applications by post. If this is what you want to do, please submit the contact form with your details so that we can provide you with a paper application form. You can also call us on 1800 962 100 if you want to request a paper application form over the phone. 

Can I apply for someone else?

You can help someone else apply for the Free Translating Service but the application needs to be made in the name of the person you are helping. For example, if your family requires translation of birth records, then each family member needs their own individual application for the Free Translating Service. This is so we can check the individual eligibility for each person that needs documents translated.

I need help with my application. What can I do?

Please contact our helpdesk via email by submitting the contact form. We will respond to your enquiry within one business day.

You can also call on us 1800 962 100 between 9am and 5pm Sydney time, Monday to Friday (except for public holidays). If all team members are busy, then you do not have to wait: An operator will take your details, and we will call you back within a few hours.

What is my visa grant notice or VEVO entitlement check?

Your visa grant notice was issued to you, or to someone acting on your behalf, by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Your VEVO entitlement check is created using the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system, or the myVEVO mobile app.

You must have your visa grant notice or your VEVO entitlement check to complete the Free Translating Service application form. More information is available here.

What is my visa subclass number?

Your visa subclass number is on your visa grant notice or your VEVO entitlement check.

What is my visa grant number?

Your visa grant number is on your visa grant notice or your VEVO entitlement check.

Can I just take photos of my documents?

Yes, high-quality photos or scans are all we need; however, these must be certified true copies of the originals (unless they were originally issued to you electronically; e.g., your visa grant notice). This means that you need to make printed copies of your original documents, get them certified by an authorised person, and then take photos or scans of the certified copies.

Any documents that were originally issued to you electronically (such as your visa grant notice) do not need to be certified. You can just upload the electronic copy.

What is a certified copy?

 

A certified copy is a photocopy of an original document that has been seen and certified as a true copy of the original document by an authorised person (see next question). The authorised person will either use an official stamp and sign and date the document, or will write a declaration and sign and date the document. This is done free of charge. Some examples of written declarations include:

  • Original sighted.
  • I declare this is a true copy.
  • This is a true copy.
  • Certified true copy of original.

Who can certify a copy? Where do I need to go to do this?

Any of the following persons are authorised, in Australia, to certify a copy of an original document by signing and dating the copy. The authorised person must examine the original document and be satisfied that the photocopy is a true copy of the original. Visit one of the below people at their office or shop to have your documents certified.

  • Justices of the Peace
  • Pharmacists
  • Full-time teachers at a school or tertiary institution (who have been permanently employed for more than 5 years)
  • Post office employees (who have been permanently employed for more than 5 years)
  • Doctors and nurses (who have been permanently employed for more than 5 years)
  • Public servants, including employees of Commonwealth, state and local government authorities (who have been permanently employed for more than 5 years)
  • Ministers of religion (who are authorised to perform marriages)
  • Police officers and sheriffs
  • Bank managers
  • Chiropractors and dentists
  • Veterinarians
  • Accountants who are members of representative organisations such as CPA and NIA
  • Magistrates
  • Judges, senior court officials, lawyers
  • Civil marriage celebrants
  • Armed forces officers (who have been permanently employed for more than 5 years)
  • Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly
  • Aldermen and councillors
  • Commissioners for Declarations

Which documents can I get translated?

The following documents are eligible to be translated for free, but you can only have up to 10 documents translated. You cannot get the same document translated twice.

We mostly do extract translations, but for some documents full or partial translations may be provided. See “What will the translation look like?” for details.

Identity and relationship documents

  • Identity documents including birth certificate, baptism certificate, identity certificate, family register book, household registration document, certificate of change of name
  • Marriage certificates or other acceptable alternatives such as a household registration document or a family registration book
  • Divorce documents or affidavits
  • Death certificates
  • Custody documents.

Facilitation documents

  • Driver’s licences or motorcycle licences
    Note: International drivers’ licences are not accepted for free translation.
  • Police clearances/Penal certificates
  • Medical documents including medical reports and medical certificates issued outside of Australia and required for medical treatment in Australia, including medical reports and medical certificates.
  • Vaccination records.

Educational documents

  • Primary school certificates
  • Secondary school certificates
  • Vocational training certificates
  • Tertiary certificates
  • Academic transcripts
    Note: An academic transcript is a document that records subject name and mark awarded.  Documents that include lengthy course descriptions or comments on student performance are not accepted as academic transcripts. University syllabi or similar documents are not accepted for translation.

Employment-related documents

  • Professional and trade certificates
  • Employment certificates
  • Employment references
  • Letters of appointment/Employment contracts

How many documents can I get translated?

You can get up to ten (10) eligible documents translated.

See “What documents can I get translated?” for a list of eligible documents.

Who translates my documents? Will the translation be official?

Wherever possible, the documents will be translated by a translator credentialed by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). If a NAATI translator is not available in the source language, the documents will be translated by a professional translator from the Migration Translators’ panel.

The translation will be deemed certified and suitable for many official purposes in Australia.

What will the translation look like?

All translations will be provided on a Department of Social Services’ template and be in extract summary format (up to 100 words), except in the following circumstances:

  • Custody documents and medical certificates/reports will be translated in word-for-word format up to five pages.
  • Vaccination records will be translated in extract summary format up to five pages.
  • Academic transcripts will be translated in extract summary format up to five pages.
  • Employment-related documents will be translated in extract summary format up to 300 words.

Note: If you can supply reasonable evidence that you need a complete, word-for-word translation, then we will translate the entire transcript. Reasonable evidence could include an email, letter or link to an official website of an education provider or skills assessment provider stating that a word-for-word translation is required.

If a word-for-word translation is provided, then the first five pages will count as one document, the next five as the second document, and so on. You cannot have more than ten (10) documents translated under the Free Translating Service.

Why do I need to provide you with the preferred spelling of names, places and organisations if my documents are not written in the Latin alphabet?

Many languages do not use the Western "A to Z" alphabet. Examples are Arabic, Japanese, Russian, and Hindi. It is in the nature of these languages that so called "proper nouns" (names of people, places, and organisations) can be translated in more than one way. For example, the Arabic name محمد can be translated as Muhammad, Mohammad, Mohamed, Muhamad, and many more variations. There is no right or wrong – it is personal preference.

It is important that you as the client provide us with all preferred spellings before we start the translation. Without having all preferred spellings, the translator will only be able to guess the correct spelling, which might frustrate you and cause delays.

We are happy to implement your suggestions, but only within the legal framework in Australia. This means that preferences are limited to pronunciation issues. We are not allowed to change the order of name components, change a name significantly, omit a name or part of a name, or add a name or part of a name.

The regulations on identity fraud in Australia are strict. Our accredited NAATI translators translate what is on the document — no more and no less. We do not "fix" documents. If you think that the outcome of the translation might not satisfy you because the information on the original document is incorrect, please discuss this with us before lodging your application.

How does the process work and how long does it take?

Once you have lodged your application, you will receive an instant acknowledgement email with your application number. Your application will then be assessed against the eligibility criteria within 1–2 business days, and you will be notified by email of the outcome.

We will post (by normal, untracked mail) the completed translation within 30 calendar days of receipt of a correctly lodged application.

What if something is wrong in the translation?

You can request a correction for a period of six (6) months from the original translation application submission date. Please send an email to fts@migrationtranslators.com.au or use the contact form on the website. We will then investigate your request and, where necessary, provide an updated translation at no cost.

You can also call us on 1800 962 100 if you want to request a paper correction request form over the phone.

What if I lose or damage my translated document?

If your translated document has become lost or damaged, you can request a replacement within twelve (12) months of the original translation application submission date.

What if there is a problem with my application?

If there is a problem with your application we will contact you.

If you are not eligible to access the Free Translating Service, we will send you an email that explains why and let you know if there is anything you can do to access the service.

What should I do if I’m not eligible for the Free Translating Service?

There are a number of commercial translating providers that you can access. The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) is the national standards and accreditation body for translators and interpreters in Australia. You can find NAATI-credentialied translators on the NAATI website.

We recommend that you confirm with the institution that needs your translation the specific translation requirements prior to engaging a translator.

For example, if you are applying for an Australian driver licence in New South Wales (NSW), you need to have your translation completed by Multicultural NSW Language Services. You can call them on 1300 651 500, or visit one of their NSW Service Centres. More information is available on their website. If you are eligible to get your driver license translated through the Free Translating Service, then you can use it to apply for a driver license in New South Wales (and all other states and territories). The information above is only relevant if you are NOT eligible to use the Free Translating Service.

Will my information be secure?

This website uses a range of security tools to ensure that the data you enter and the files you upload are secure. The underlying platform is certified to meet government standards. Your information will only be used for the translation process and will not be shared with any third party.

Do I have to use this website?

An online application is the easiest and fastest option, but you can also lodge applications by post. If this is what you want to do, please submit the contact form or call 1800 962 100 with your details so that we can provide you with the paper application form. 

What should I do if I’m not happy with the service?

Please contact us initially through the contact form or email fts@migrationtranslators.com.au. We will respond to your enquiry within one business day.

You can also call us on 1800 962 100 between 9am and 5pm Sydney time, Monday to Friday (except for gazetted public holidays). If all team members are busy, then you do not have to wait: An operator will take your details, and we will call you back within a few hours.

For any feedback or suggestions regarding the Free Translating Service Policy (e.g. eligibility criteria/approved documents) please email DSSfeedback@dss.gov.au, or write to

DSS Feedback
PO Box 7576
Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610

Who provides the Free Translating Service?

The Free Translating Service is funded by the Department of Social Services and delivered by The Migration Translators, a translation agency specialising in NAATI translations.

Start an application