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About this service

Who can use the Free Translating Service?

New arrivals with certain permanent resident visas and selected temporary visas can use the Free Translating Service for the translation of up to 10 personal documents.

‘Personal documents’ are officially issued documents that name you, belong to you, and are about you. Personal documents must support your participation in employment, education, and community engagement in Australia. Document translations required for visa applications are not eligible.

Holders of the following visa subclasses are generally allowed to access the service and obtain free translations of up to 10 personal documents. Please be aware that the list of eligible visa subclasses is subject to change without notice. If you previously successfully accessed the Free Translating Service while your visa subclass was eligible, future access to this service will cease once the visa subclass is removed from the list below:

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, 403, 405, 410, 445, 449, 476, 482, 485, 491, 494, 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

Effective 1 July 2024, individuals on visa subclass 500 will no longer be eligible for the Free Translating Service. This change will include applications from subclass 500 visa holders who have previously had documents translated via the service. Enquiries relating to this change can be directed to Language.Policy@homeaffairs.gov.au.

In addition, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Your visa must have been granted within the previous two years. If your eligible visa was granted more than two years ago, you are no longer eligible to access the Free Translating Service.
  • Your visa must be valid. If your visa has expired or has been cancelled, you are no longer eligible to access the Free Translating Service, even if the visa was granted within the previous two years. Document translations required for visa renewals or visa applications are not eligible. 
  • You must not have previously exhausted the allowable limit of 10 translated documents.
  • You must not have successfully accessed the service while on a previously eligible visa which was granted more than two years ago. The eligibility period is not re-set each time you have been granted a new eligible visa.
  • You must be onshore (in Australia) to access the Free Translating Service. 

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.

Some visa subclasses may have additional eligibility requirements, details of which will be verified during the application process.

How long can I access the Free Translating Service?

You have two years from the date your visa was granted to access the Free Translating Service, as long as the visa subclass remains eligible, and your visa is still valid.

If you had documents translated under this service previously, your eligibility period is not re-set each time you have been granted a new eligible visa. If you submit further applications, your eligibility will still be based on the visa used to first successfully access the Free Translating Service.

If you had documents translated under this service previously but you currently hold an ineligible visa (including bridging visas), you cannot access this service until you have been granted a new eligible visa. 

What types of documents can I get translated?

You can have up to 10 personal documents translated to support your participation in employment, education, and community engagement in Australia. ‘Personal documents’ are documents issued by an official authority that name you, belong to you, and are primarily about you. Remember that each family member needs to lodge a separate application to get their documents translated. Document translations required for visa applications or documents issued by private citizens are not eligible.

Example 1: If you want to get documents translated that are in the name of a family member, for example, your children’s vaccination records, you need to create a separate application for each of your children. The maximum number of documents is 10 per applicant.

Example 2: If you want to get your and your spouse’s driver licences translated, then you need to lodge two applications: one for yourself and one for your spouse. The maximum number of documents is 10 per applicant.

The following personal documents are eligible:

  • Academic transcripts. An academic transcript is a document that records the subject name and the mark awarded. Documents that include lengthy course descriptions or comments on student performance are not accepted as academic transcripts. If an academic transcript includes general information about the course or comments on student performance, this information will be omitted during the translation process. University syllabi or similar documents are also not accepted.
  • Birth certificates
  • Business documents
  • Change of name certificates
  • Civil partnership certificates
  • Custody documents
  • Death certificates. You can submit the death certificate of an immediate family member (i.e. parent, spouse, child) for translation, even if your name is not mentioned on the document. This applies to their death certificate only. Any other documents of the deceased will not be eligible.
  • Divorce documents and dissolution of civil partnership documents
  • Driver licences. International driving permits are not accepted for free translation. Documents such as “driver certificates” are not accepted for free translation unless they are submitted in addition to the actual licence. Driver certificates/confirmations are considered as supporting documents, information will be included in the translation of the actual licence.
  • Education documents
  • Employment documents
  • Family registers
  • Household registration documents
  • Identity documents
  • Marriage certificates
  • Medical documents if ongoing treatment is required in Australia
  • Occupational licences
  • Penal certificates and Good Conduct certificates
  • Police clearance certificates
  • Religious documents
  • Vaccination documents

You cannot get the same document translated twice.

Document translations required for visa applications are not eligible.  

Translator affidavits for family court or other legal purposes are not available within the Free Translating Service.

Can I apply for someone else?

You can help someone else to 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 of each person who needs documents translated.

Document allowances cannot be shared with others. Each eligible individual is entitled to 10 free translations of their own personal key documents.

What do I need to submit an application?

To complete the application form, you need to upload original electronic files OR good quality colour photographs or scanned images of the original for the following: 

  • Your passport (photo page only) or ImmiCard
  • Your visa grant notice AND your VEVO Visa Details Check (which must have been issued within the past 48 hours)
  • The documents you need translated

Please ensure to upload colour files. We do not accept black and white copies or certified copies.

Please ensure that your document copies were created from the originals. If any documents were issued to you digitally, ensure that you provide us with the original files.

If your name has changed between the issue of your passport/ImmiCard and the issue of the documents you need translated, please include evidence (in English) of your change of name. If the document is in a language other than English, you may include it in the list of documents you need translated.

All applicants must provide genuine documents for identification and translation. Any fraudulent, forged or edited documents received will be reported to the appropriate authorities without further warning. We strongly discourage you from editing a document for it to meet the eligibility criteria or to align with standards of an equivalent Australian document. 

All information provided must be true and correct. Any misinformation may result in the refusal of the application.

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 of 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. However, we recommend you fill out the contact form on our website first so we can organise to call you at a suitable time if required.

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

Please send us an email or contact our helpdesk by submitting a contact form

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, you will not have to wait – an operator will take your details, and we will contact you either by phone, email or text message.

Where can I get my visa information?

Your visa grant notice was issued to you, or to someone acting on your behalf by the Department of Home Affairs. The visa grant notice includes your visa subclass number, your visa grant number, the date when your visa was granted and other information about your visa, including visa conditions and entitlements such as work and/or study rights.

You can check your visa status and your entitlements by using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system.

You must have your visa grant notice and your VEVO Visa Details Check available to complete the Free Translating Service application form.

Can I just take photos of my documents?

Yes, good-quality colour photos or scans of the original documents are all we need. We do not accept black and white copies. Make sure that:

  • The photos or scans are taken from straight above looking directly down onto the document
  • All information is clear and easy to read
  • Nothing is cut off around the edges
  • Sufficient lighting is used, do not use photo flash
  • The document is flattened out without any information covered

We do not require the copies, photos, or scans to be certified.

Who translates my documents? What will the translations look like?

The Free Translating Service is funded by the Department of Home Affairs and delivered by The Migration Translators, an Australian translation agency specialising in NAATI translations.

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 suitable for many official purposes in Australia.

The translations will be provided on a template and will be in extract summary format (up to 100 words), except in the following circumstances:

  • Custody documents and medical documents will be translated in word-for-word format, up to five pages per document.
  • Vaccination documents will be translated in extract summary format, up to five pages per document.
  • Academic transcripts will be translated in extract summary format, up to five pages per document.
  • Employment-related documents will be translated in extract summary format, up to 600 words per document.

If you can supply reasonable evidence that you need a complete word-for-word translation of a certain document, then we will translate the entire document. Reasonable evidence could include an email, a letter, or a link to the official website of an authority/institution (e.g. an education provider or a 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 10 documents translated under the Free Translating Service.

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

Once you have lodged your application, you will receive an instant acknowledgment email with your application number. Your application will then be assessed against the eligibility criteria within seven business days, and you will be notified by email of the outcome. Please check your spam/junk folder as well.

Once the application is approved, we will email you the completed translation(s) within 30 calendar days of its approval. If required, we may contact you for further input in which case the delivery may be delayed depending on the individual situation.

There is no priority or rush option available; however, the actual processing time might be less than 30 calendar days. Please factor this timeline in when submitting your application.

You will be provided with the translations by email. You may request to receive them by post too (via normal, untracked mail free of charge, delivery may take up to 14 days) if you require paper originals. Please reply to the delivery email with your posting request. Posting requests cannot be processed over the phone.

What if something is wrong in the translation?

You can request a correction within a period of six months from the original application submission date. Please reply to the delivery email we would have sent you. We will then investigate your request and, where necessary, provide an updated translation at no cost. Amendment requests cannot be processed over the phone.  

You can also fill out the contact form on the website if you want to request a paper correction request form.

What if I lose or damage my translated document?

If your translated document has become lost or damaged, you can request a replacement within a period of twelve months from the original application submission date at no cost.

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

There are a number of commercial translating providers 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.

We recommend that you confirm the specific translation requirements with the institution that needs your translation before 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 visit a NSW Service Centre or obtain more information from their website Contact Us - Multicultural NSW. If you are eligible to get your driver licence translated through the Free Translating Service, then you can use it to apply for a driver licence 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.

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

Please reply to the delivery email we would have sent you or contact us through the contact form

For any feedback or suggestions regarding the Free Translating Service Policy (e.g. eligibility criteria or approved documents), contact the Global Feedback Unit of the Department of Home Affairs:

Online:
Click here

By phone:
13 31 77 between 9 am and 5 pm AEST (except Victorian public holidays)

By post:
Department of Home Affairs
GPO Box 241
Melbourne VIC 3001
Australia

More information about providing feedback to the Department of Home Affairs can be found here.

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