Transferring is a process in which Pokémon are sent from a game in one generation to a game in another, usually later, generation. The exact process usually differs for different generations. Transfers differ from trading in that they are usually only one-way.
Generation III is the only generation where there is no method by which receive Pokémon from games from a past generation. All other games have a method for receiving Pokémon from the past generation (and therefore, by a chain of transfers, from generations before that as well). With the Virtual Console releases of Generation I and II games and an update to Poké Transporter in Generation VII, it became possible for the first time since Generation II to have Pokémon from all generations in a single game.
Generations I and II
The Time Capsule allows Pokémon to be traded between Generation I and Generation II games, conceptually acting as a time machine bridging the three years between events in each generation. It requires two systems connected by a Game Link Cable. It does not allow trading of any Generation II Pokémon or any Pokémon that know moves introduced in Generation II.
To Generation IV
The Nintendo DS's dual-slot mode allows Pokémon to be transferred from Generation III games to Generation IV games. When a Generation IV game is started with a Generation III game in the console's Game Pak Slot, if Pal Park has been visited in the game, the option to "Migrate from [game]" will be available on the main menu. (Due to the removal of the Game Pak Slot for the Nintendo DSi, Pokémon cannot be transferred to Generation IV on DSi consoles.)
Six Pokémon can be migrated at a time and, in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, Pokémon can only be migrated once every 24 hours. In the destination game, the migrated Pokémon will be available at Pal Park for the player to catch in a Catching Show. The Park Balls used in Catching Shows always capture a Pokémon when thrown.
To Generation V
In Generation V, there are two methods of transferring Pokémon from Generation IV: Poké Transfer and the Relocator. Poké Transfer is the general transfer method, while the Relocator is a special method of transferring a few specific event Pokémon. Either method requires two systems and uses the system's built-in wireless communication.
Poké Transfer is used by visiting the Poké Transfer Lab on Route 15 in a Generation V game. A Scientist at the back of the lab will allow the player to start Poké Transfer on their game, at which point a system with a Generation IV game must be started and the Poké Transfer application must be selected from the system's DS Download Play option. Six Pokémon can be sent to the Generation V game from the Generation IV game via the downloaded application. These Pokémon must then be captured in a time-limited slingshot minigame; any Pokémon that are not caught will remain in the Generation IV game.
The Relocator is only available in Pokémon Black and White. Only the Celebi, Raikou, Entei, and Suicune distributed to commemorate the thirteenth movie can be transferred with the Relocator. The Relocator can be found in Castelia City and must be unlocked with the correct keywords.
To Generation VI and beyond
Pokémon Bank can facilitate transfer from multiple generations and to multiple generations. Pokémon from Generation VI can be sent directly to Pokémon Bank, while Pokémon from Generation V and from the Virtual Console releases of Generations I and II can be sent to Pokémon Bank by way of Poké Transporter. Pokémon in Pokémon Bank can be moved directly to Generation VI and VII games, with the restriction that any Pokémon that has been in a Generation VII game or that came from a Virtual Console game cannot be moved to a Generation VI game.
| VC Gen I
VC Gen II
|→||Poké Transporter → Pokémon Bank||→||Gen VII|
|Gen V||→||Poké Transporter → Pokémon Bank||→|| Gen VI|
|Gen VI||→||Pokémon Bank||→||Gen VII|
|Catching • Nicknaming • Battling • Evolving • Trading • Breeding • Releasing|