Free Translating Service

The Department of Social Services provides a free translating service for people settling permanently in Australia. Applications for the Free Translating Service are made at Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) learning centres around Australia. To find your nearest AMEP service provider, visit the Department of Education and Training's website.
See: Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)

Permanent residents, eligible temporary/provisional visa holders and returning Australian citizens are able to have personal documents translated into English within the first two years of their eligible visa grant date or arrival in Australia (whichever is later). Documents required for visa applications are not eligible to be translated through the service.

The service is designed to assist eligible permanent residents and Australian citizens to participate in the community. Some temporary/provisional visa holders may also be eligible for the service. Temporary/provisional visa holders that are eligible for the service can access it from the date of their eligible temporary visa grant, and not the date of their permanent residency visa grant. The intention of the Free Translating Service Policy is to support positive settlement outcomes for newly arrived migrants especially in the areas of education, employment and community participation.

Frequently asked questions for clients

Eligible persons

People who are eligible for the free translating service are:

Eligible provisional and temporary visa holders

  • 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); and
  • Safe Haven Enterprise visa (subclass 790).

Returning Australian citizens

Australian citizens may be eligible for the free translating service within two years of returning to Australia to settle permanently. Australian citizens must have spent a substantial time overseas prior to returning, and have been issued the document requiring translation during that time overseas. Evidence of the date of return to Australia is required.

Example: Certified copy of a passport showing the entry or exit stamp or an airline ticket.

Permanent Visa Holders

Migrants who hold a permanent* visa for settlement in Australia.

*Generally, permanent partner visas (subclasses 100 and 801) are ineligible to access the Free Translating Service as they have been eligible while holding a temporary visa.

Note: New Zealand Citizens:

The Special Category visa (subclass 444) for New Zealand citizens, granted in the onshore immigration clearance process, is a temporary visa. Holders of this subclass are not eligible to access the free translating service.

Like all other applicants, New Zealand citizens must hold a permanent visa or an eligible temporary/provisional visa to access the free translating service.

Note: Resident Return visa holders:

Permanent residents holding Resident Return visas (subclass 155 and 157) are not automatically eligible for the free translating service. Eligibility for Resident Return visa holders is determined by assessing what the substantive permanent visa is, and whether the visa grant falls within the two year eligibility period for the free translation service. The aim is to ensure that Resident Return visa holders cannot access the free translating service repeatedly, each time they return to Australia, as a result of multiple Resident Return visa grant dates.

Eligibility period

Documents can only be accepted for the free translating service within a period of two years after the date of either the

  • client's initial arrival in Australia with a permanent visa or grant of an eligible temporary/provisional visa
  • grant of an onshore ┬ápermanent visa.

Note: For holders of the eligible temporary/provisional visa subclasses, the eligibility period is from the date of grant of their temporary/provisional visa or their arrival in Australia, whichever is later.

Personal documents eligible for translation

The Free Translating Service is available for translating documents into English.
Personal documents intended for settlement purposes are accepted for free translation. Personal documents required for a visa application are not accepted.

Unless otherwise stated, all personal documents will be extract summary translations up to 100 words. The only exceptions to this include: Custody Documents and Medical Certificates/reports (both word-for-word format up to five pages), Vaccination Records and Academic Transcripts (both in extract summary format up to five pages), and Employment References (in extract summary format up to 300 words).

There are four broad groups of eligible documents. Eligible individuals can select a maximum of 10 documents for the free translating service from any of these groups.

Note: The same document cannot be translated more than once under the Free Translating Service Policy (except when corrections are required).

  • Identity and relationship
    • Birth certificate, baptism certificate, identity certificate, family registers/books
    • Certificate of change of name (issued before migration)
    • Marriage certificate or other acceptable alternative such as household registration documents
    • Divorce certificate or affidavit
    • Death certificate
    • Custody documents (only if essential for settlement purposes)
  • Facilitation
    • Drivers' licence or motor cycle licence (an international drivers licence is not acceptable)
    • Police/penal certificate
    • Medical certificate/report (issued before immigration and needed for medical treatment in Australia)
    • Vaccination certificate
  • Education
    • Primary school certificates (only when required for entry to primary or secondary school)
    • Secondary/vocational secondary certificate
    • Tertiary certificate
    • Transcript of academic record (university syllabus or similar documents will not be translated)
  • Employment
    • Professional and trade certificates (must contain an assessment of performance or result in a qualification)
    • Employment certificates
    • References
    • Letters of appointment/employment contracts.

Requests for free translation of personal documents from eligible persons may be lodged at select Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) Service Providers which will then despatch them to the translations service provider. Please provide evidence of your eligibility for this service when lodging documents for translation.

Example: Certified copies of your visa grant notice, your airline boarding pass (Australian Citizens only) and your passport.

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