Each country throughout the world enacts and enforces its own immigration requirements and procedures. Immigration refers to a situation when a person wishes to move, on a permanent basis, to another country as opposed to someone who is simply entering another country for vacation, business, or school. Although the immigration documents required may vary by country, there are a number of documents that are commonly needed to immigrate. Common immigration documents used throughout the application and acceptance process include an application form and supporting documents, letter of acceptance and visa, and eventually a permanent resident card and work permit.
Regardless of the country, the immigration process always starts with an application. An application usually asks for personal information regarding the applicant and the basis under which he or she is applying to immigrate. Many countries have strict rules regarding who may apply to immigrate and limit immigrants to classes of applicants such as family, investors, retirees, or independently wealthy individuals.
Along with the basic application form, initial immigration documents often include a medical examination form, certified birth certificate, police report from the current jurisdiction, and proof of financial support. A medical examination is frequently required to ensure that an immigrant is not bringing contagious diseases into the country. A birth certificate and police report are almost always necessary to prove who the applicant is, as well as to prevent applicants with a violent or dangerous criminal history from setting up residency in the country. Documents proving that the applicant will not be a burden to the new country are commonly required as well. If the applicant plans to depend on a family member, then he or she must complete the appropriate form and provide proof of his or her income; however, if the applicant is self-sufficient, then proof of his or her means of support is needed.
Once an application has been approved, the applicant will typically receive a letter of approval. Along with the letter of approval, the applicant will generally need a visa to enter the country. Visas will vary by country; however, the initial visa after acceptance will usually allow the applicant to enter the country and legally remain in the country for a specific period of time.
In most cases, immigration documents will also include additional documents after the initial approval of the application. Although a person may be approved to enter a country and remain for an extended period of time, he or she may also wish to gain permission to work or gain permanent residence or citizenship status down the road. Each country will issue a work permit to applicants that have met the requirements to work in the country upon approval. In addition, an immigrant will eventually be granted permanent resident status, or the equivalent, and eventually citizenship if he or she applies and is approved.