Making a visa application is the first step in visiting a foreign country after obtaining your passport. Once you have a passport the easy part is over. Every document needed to support a visa application is intended to establish your identity as a person worthy of being allowed to visit the new place. A simple tourist visa is usually obtained without problems. Indeed tourists sometimes are not even aware that they have a visa. This is because of the "visa waiver" programs put in place by some governments for citizens of approved countries. The visa comes with the transport ticket purchased. Some countries will issue tourist or short term visas to travelers on arrival at the point of entry. For any kind of visa which will permit a visit for purposes other than a short tourist trip the job of collecting documents must now begin.
Most countries have stringent regulations about allowing foreigners in to work, conduct research, perform at public events, enjoy political asylum or to become permanent residents. As a retiree with the latter purpose in mind completing an application is not an irrevocable act. Even if your visa is granted you are not obliged to take advantage of it. You may have had to pay a non-refundable fee to be entitled to submit the application. In considering retirement abroad the "GOLDEN RULE" of any retirement plan must be that nothing irrevocable should be done without having first visited the new country at least once and preferably more often. There will undoubtably be an application form to complete. This form will specify what documents need to be supplied to support it, from where these documents must originate, in which language they must be and how they must be officially and legally notarized. Remember that you are attempting to prove your identity and worth as a potential new resident to a government that does not know you and does not need to know you. It is you who needs the approval. The new country may have regulations and laws for the benefit and comfort of retirees but it does not need you, specifically, as a new resident.
This is a list of documents that may be required to support an application for permanent residence.
This list may not be exhaustive. Also the above documents will have to be produced for all intending dependent residents, such as children or parents, including, of course, your spouse, if applicable, who are to move to the new country with you. Not all countries require all of these documents and none to the same degree of detail or depth.
The source of other documents is clear from their descriptions. It is likely that all documents will have to be translated into the national language of the new country and they may require apostillization where this is possible. The Apostille Treaty specifies how documents issued in one country can be certified for legal purposes in other countries which are signatories to the convention. There will be fees to obtain most documents and all translations, notarizations and apostillizations will probably also attract charges.
Of course the probably non-refundable application fee must be included with the application
But it could take years!
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