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Submission of Translated Official Documents to Government Agencies in Singapore

Updated: Nov 9, 2023


EU passport and World Health Organisation vaccination booklet

Have you had to submit official documents in a foreign language to one of the government agencies in Singapore and was asked to provide a certified translation of them?


The language of communication and business in Singapore is English, and any documents that you have in other languages will need to be translated into English first before they are accepted by authorities and institutions.


One of the common complaints that people have is that there are so many documents and steps to follow for administrative matters, and that it can be quite confusing and time-consuming for those of us who are not detail-oriented.



Things to note when submitting your translated document


So here are some things you can look out for when preparing your files for submission so that it will not be rejected.


  • Clear and Legible Scan of Document: First of all, make sure that the scanned copy of your original document is clear and legible. If the source document is fuzzy and some of the text can’t be seen, the document may be rejected. In any case, the translator won’t be able to decipher the text well enough to translate it.


  • Submission Requirements: Obtain the latest requirements of the government agency you are submitting the translated document to as this may change from time to time. You can refer to the requirements in the websites of the respective agencies.


  • Certified Translation: Look for a translation agency in Singapore that can provide a certified translation for you. A certified translation is one that comes together with a stamp and signature. Sometimes, a certified translation is all the agency needs to be submitted.


  • Notarisation: If the translated needs to be notarised, based to the requirements of the government agency you’re submitting the document to, you’ll need to engage the services of a lawyer who is a notary public. A notary public is a lawyer who meets certain criteria (i.e. in practice for a certain number of years etc.) and is subject to the Notaries Public Rules. The notarisation procedure is complete only after the notarised document has been authenticated and legalised by the Singapore Academy of Law.


At Wei.Trans.Create, we work with a notary public to provide a one-stop service to our clients and customers so that you don’t have to run around to different locations to sort them out.



Circular concrete buildings in Singapore

Different guidelines for different government agencies


Not all agencies have the same requirements for translation, so even if you had experience submitting documents to one of them previously, it doesn’t mean that the requirements for submission to another Singapore government agency will be the same. Also, there may be changes to the procedures and policies since the last time you made a submission. You will need to check the updated website for the latest requirements.


Here are a few of the government agencies that you might need to submit a translated document to:


Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)


Documents commonly requiring translation: Accounting policies


ACRA is the regulatory body for business entities in Singapore. All foreign companies in Singapore are required to lodge their financial statements when filing their tax returns.


(Taken from the ACRA website)


Where the financial statements are not presented in English, they must be translated to English in its entirety. Both the financial statements in the original language and in English language are to be filed as part of the annual filing.


Ministry of Manpower (MOM)


MOM handles the application of employment passes and dependent passes for the families of foreigners working in Singapore.


Documents commonly requiring translation: Personal particulars page of foreign passports, deed polls, salary pay slips, marriage certificates, birth certificates, vaccination records, adoption papers etc.


(Taken from the MOM website)


For non-English documents, you must upload the original document together with an English translation as 1 file. The translation can be done by a translation service provider.


Immigration Checkpoints Authority (ICA)


Documents commonly requiring translation: Birth certificates, death certificates, foreign identity cards, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, custody papers, education certificates, professional licenses, medical reports etc.


(Taken from the ICA website)


When uploading documents, you will need to provide certified true copies of the original documents and official translations (for documents in languages other than English).


ICA accepts:

  • Translations provided by the embassy of the country that issued the document;

  • Translations provided by a notary public in Singapore or the country that issued the document;

  • Privately translated documents attested by the embassy of the country that issued the document, or notarised by a notary public in Singapore or the country that issued the document.


ICA does not endorse any private translation companies or entities. Insufficient documentation may result in non-acceptance of your application. You may be required to provide additional documents to support your application.


Singapore Police Force


Documents commonly requiring translation: Driving licenses


In Singapore, a valid Singapore Driving Licence is required for one to drive or ride a motor vehicle on the road.


Foreigners with a driver’s licence from their own country residing in Singapore for more than 12 months or foreigners residing in Singapore for less than 12 months and are employed as drivers holding Work Permits or S-Pass will have to convert their foreign driving licence to the Singapore Driving Licence.


(Taken from the SPF website)


Official translation of foreign driving licence by a Singapore registered translation company is required if it is not in English


Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum in Singapore in the foreground, with tall office buildings of the Singapore business district in the background

 

Things like document submission can be a lengthy and tedious process for the uninitiated, and if you’re not careful with any of the steps, it may result in your application being rejected, and that means wasted time and energy for you.


If you have any documents that require certified translation and notarisation for submission to government agencies in Singapore, we can help you with them! Drop us a message here!

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