Are you traveling to Spain (or another Spanish-speaking country) and need a background check, criminal history or identity summary (IdHS) from the FBI or your local or state government? If that is the case, you will probably need to translate it, along with the federal apostille or authentication, from English to Spanish before your appointment at one of the Spanish Consulates or the Spanish Embassy. We get a lot of calls regarding background check translations, and the following are the answers to the most frequently asked questions.
How to I get an FBI Identity Summary?
In the past few years, the FBI has streamlined the process for ordering a history report. There is now an option to electronically request your Identity History Summary Checks and, if you find an issue, you can electronically request an Identity History Summary Challenge. This is called eDO, which is an electronic departmental order. According to order 556-73, individuals are allowed to obtain a copy of an FBI Identity History Summary in order to see what records, if any, are on file or in order to provide evidence that no files or criminal records exist.
How long does it take to get an FBI Background Check?
According to FBI’s website, listed above, it takes about four or five days after submitting the Applicant Fingerprint Form (FD-258). Additional instructions on how to take fingerprints are available on the site as well.
I don’t have an apostille. Can I submit my documents to the consulate without an apostille?
Yes and no. We get calls every few weeks from customers who have already had an interview at the consulate and did not have the accompanying apostille. In most cases, the consulate will conditionally approve the application and ask for the apostille to be returned within ten days. In this case, you should contact a third-party agency to get an apostille in a rush. From that point, we can translate and scan it back to you in a few hours.
Can a translator or another agency order an apostille for me?
As translators we typically do not request apostilles for original documents. We can order an apostille for the translation, but an apostille for the translation is only required in Ecuador and Colombia.
Do I need to translate the apostille? Should my authentication need to be translated?
Most of the time, yes. We have had customers get an apostille at the last minute and receive their Spanish visa without any issues; however, others call in a panic after the consulate requested a translation of the apostille. There are not fixed rules for the translation of apostilles. When in doubt, translate it. We do not charge extra to translate the apostille, unless it is submitted separately, apart from another translation project.
Are scanned versions acceptable or will I need the original copies?
Again, yes and no. All consulates are different; Chicago and Miami (Coral Gables) always seem to want originals; however, Boston, New York and the embassy in Washington DC have been known to accepted printed versions. We never suggest using printed versions; we always recommend hard-copies.
Can I expedite translation process?
Yes, we can complete the certified translation in a few hours, if needed, always less than twenty-four hours. Additionally, we can FedEx the hard-copies, original documents, to your home, office, hotel, or local FedEx Office branch with overnight delivery, even on Saturday.
What is a sworn translator?
We provide a certified translation, which is an official translation completed by a professional translator. The completed, stamped, signed translation also includes a translator’s affidavit, which qualifies the translation as a sworn translation.
Does the American Translators Association approve or endorse your translations?
The ATA does not endorse or approve translations, but we are long-time members and have been in good standing with the ATA since we opened in 2007. Our ATA member number and expiration date both appear on our translator’s stamp on each page.
Can you ship the translation directly to the consulate?
Yes, but the consulates will not accept FedEx, so we have send it via USPS Express or Priority Mail. This is only possible after the interview has already taken place, and in the case that the consulate requests additional documents or a translation of additional files for an application.
Is the translation guaranteed to be accepted?
Yes, we guarantee the translation of your FBI Background Check, 100%. If there is an issue, we will fix it. If the translation is not accepted, we will provide a refund. Our translations are always accepted, so it is very unlikely that it will not be accepted.
Do US Citizens need a visa in order to travel to Spain for a vacation or short trip?
If the trip is less than 90 days, a visa is not required; just a valid passport. If you are planning to visit, study or work more than 90 days, a visa is required.
Does the Consulate of Spain in Los Angeles have different rules for translation?
Yes, the consulate of Spain in LA only allows Spanish Citizens registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to translate for visa applications submitted to this particular consulate. They have a list of translators on their site. In rare cases, they will allow US-Based Translators to translate; however, please make sure to get it in writing before submitting documents.
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