Have you been offered a fantastic opportunity to live and work abroad? Congratulations, a thrilling experience is ahead of you, whatever the destination may be! Every move is a chance for a better quality of life and embracing new opportunities, so you have a lot to look forward to. Moving abroad doesn’t have to be a daunting and complicated task if you know the essential things you’ll need to do beforehand and if you start planning on time for this big step in your life. The advice may vary depending on where you are relocating to or from, but in general, the tips we’ll share here apply to a move abroad to most countries.
A brief checklist for moving abroad
We’ve prepared a brief moving abroad checklist. Stick to it for a smooth relocation and to avoid common moving problems. Here are a few key considerations and steps you’ll need to take before you move abroad. We will discuss some of them in more detail later.
- Research visa requirements and gather the documentation needed for international moving
- Decide whether you’ll rent or purchase a property and decide what you’ll do about your existing property
- Find out about tax requirements for your home country while you live abroad and ensure that you meet the tax obligations of the new country
- Research local life, rules, and laws
- Choose a reliable moving company or an international shipping company
- Set a relocation budget and make a financial plan
- Pack your items carefully to avoid problems and damage in transport
- Get rid of stuff you don’t need (declutter).
- Find out about health care, insurance, and driving requirements in a new country.
- Make a list of current paid subscriptions and bills, terminate them on time, and/or change your address.
Visit or research the location prior to the move
The whole moving process will be easier to handle and plan if you’re relatively familiar with the place where you’re going. Getting to know a new city and a new neighborhood can make for a much easier transition. If you lack the time or money, or something prevents you from going to a new place before the move, then do thorough research online. Find out about local life, customs, rules, and laws, locations. Use online guides to get acquainted and inform yourself. Check the surrounding area of your future address and discover where the essential facilities (like hospitals, banks, embassies) are.
Prepare all your documentation and paperwork
Before applying for any visa, be sure to have a valid passport with no close expiration date. Depending on what type of visa you’re applying for, you’ll need to have proper supporting documentation. Consult the immigration officer for your destination country and determine what paperwork to collect and how to proceed. Ensure that you understand the immigration laws, deadlines for submissions, time frames, and the rules which apply to importing your household items into the country. Make sure to back up all your crucial documents digitally, so they will be easily accessible if you need them and don’t have originals with you at the time.
Set a relocation budget
Consider all the costs you’ll have related to your relocation: getting your paperwork ready, plane tickets, international shipments of your belongings, housing, emergencies, etc. There will always be some unanticipated costs. You should at least have a few months’ worth of savings when planning to move abroad. Research about exchange rates and consider the costs of living in your new home. Plan the monthly budget accordingly. Carefully check the tax policies for your destination country.
Make arrangements with an international moving company and/or shipping company
When you’re relocating abroad, the best solution is to take only the essentials with you on the plane and have all other items shipped. Depending on where you’re moving to and from, you may use the services of international moving and/or international shipping companies. Professionals will ensure safe and easy transport for your belongings. International shipping companies handle customs clearance and provide you with insurance.
Be careful when packing to avoid problems
To avoid any possible logistic problems, delays, or damages to your possessions in transport, good preparation is crucial. When packing things for moving abroad, use only quality packing supplies. That includes sturdy and durable cardboard boxes, plastic containers, packing paper, tape, scissors, markers, etc. Pack all your possession methodically and carefully – and don’t forget to label boxes.
Packing a box of essentials for the last day or two in your old home and the first day or two in your new home is crucial. Remember to include your meds, clothes, some snacks, and toiletries.
Declutter as much as you can
The rule is simple: The more you plan to take with you, the more shipping will cost you. Don’t relocate items you don’t need or haven’t used for a long time. Consider selling, giving away, and donating excess stuff. You may rent a storage unit for the items that you need to keep but won’t take with you abroad. Allow yourself to discover all the benefits of a clutter-free home and have a fresh start.
Change your address, and cancel memberships and subscriptions
Cancel all utility services which you’ll no longer be using. It’s advisable to research your options regarding the Internet connection in your new home – the speed, connection quality, and bundle deals of the ISPs in your new town. Familiarize yourself with the costs of all other utilities you’ll need right after you have moved in. Remember to change your address wherever it’s needed. Cancel all memberships you won’t need anymore, like a gym membership, public library subscription, newspaper subscriptions, any monthly fees that you had.
Healthcare and insurance
When you plan on moving abroad, it’s essential to understand how the healthcare system works for foreign citizens. Find out if your current healthcare provider can cover you while you’re abroad. Gather your medical records and, if needed, get necessary vaccine shots. Also, find out if your prescription meds are legal in your new country and if they are easily accessible — plan to bring an extra supply with you, just in case.
Build your cozy nest
After a successful relocation, you should put some time and effort into making your new place feel and look like a home. Firstly, you’ll need to deep clean your new home and decorate it to your taste. After you’ve settled down, embrace your new life, be open-minded, and give yourself time to become a part of a new country truly. Welcome your family and friends into your new place and enjoy their visits as often as you can. Moving abroad certainly has many challenges, but you should focus on staying positive and always look on the bright side.
Lisa Adams has an 11-year-long career as a counseling psychologist. She currently lives and works in LA, USA, but she has had many relocations in her life. In her spare time, Lisa writes blogs and enjoys swimming.