What Documents Do I Need for Immigration?

When applying for permanent residency in the United States or Canada, you will need to provide appropriate documentation to support the information on your application. What information you need depends on the type of application you are completing. We will cover the differences below. 

United States Immigration 

There are two types of permanent resident applications: family-based applications and employment-based applications. Both types of applications require supporting documentation. We will discuss the purpose of the most common pieces of required documentation below. 

  1. Passport and Travel Documents- You will need this to prove your current citizenship. 
  2. Birth Certificate- When applying for a family-based visa, your birth certificate will help prove that you are related to the person that is sponsoring your application. 
  3. Marriage Certificate- If you are married, or have ever been married, you need to provide documentation. In a family-based petition this will be used to prove that you are married to a spouse you are trying to sponsor. 
    1. You may also be asked to show additional documentation to prove you are really married. This might include showing that you own property together or have a joint lease. 
  4. Labour Certificate – If you are applying for an employment-based visa, this certificate is used to show that the position you are filling cannot be filled by a US worker.
  5. Copies of Qualifications- If you are applying for an employment-based visa, you might need to attach copies of advanced degrees earned or special qualifications earned. 

Canada Immigration 

There are five different ways to apply for permanent residency in Canada: Express Entry, Business immigration, family class immigration, Canadian experience class, and provincial nominee programs. Although each program has specific documentation, there are several items you will need regardless of which application you file. 

  1.  Biometrics – These include your fingerprints and a photo taken of you. These will likely be collected at a consulate. 
  2. Passport and travel documents – This documentation demonstrates your current nationality. 
  3. Police Certificate – This certificate is completed in order to determine if you have a criminal record and to ensure that you are not a security risk to Canada. 
  4. Medical Exam- This is done to protect the health of Canadians and to ensure that you will not place an undue burden on Canada’s health and social service systems. 
  5. Proof of Language Skills- You will need to provide the language test results from one of three tests: IELTS, CELPIP or TEF.