Moving is one of the more stressful events of life, with countless considerations and concerns before, during and after the process. However, moving abroad is a completely different monster, unto itself, and this takes special preparation and careful planning before the process can even begin. If moving from one house to another is stressful, moving from one country to another is one of the most nerve-racking processes one can go through.
But if you properly plan, pack and prepare, it can also be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your life. If moving on your own, you will find a whole new world of experiences and cultures that may help you find more about yourself. If you are moving with your family, living abroad can be the most enriching experience for your children.
Whether you are heading out on your own or moving your family to a new locale, you will need to begin preparing well before the actual move date. There is much more to do with a relocation abroad than with any domestic move, and it involves several new and complex tasks. To help you prepare properly, this guide is designed to give you the ultimate checklist for moving abroad, broken into three key timeframes before you leave.
Six Months Prior
- Ensure that you and your family’s passports are current. If they will expire before you plan to return home, you should go ahead and renew them before leaving to save yourself the trouble of coming back just for that.
- Apply for long-term visas for everyone that is going. This process can take a while, and it is never too early to get the wheels in motion.
- Buy a durable document case and begin a folder with all of the relevant paperwork that you may need, not only for the move, but also the important papers for life in the new country. This could include birth certificate, diploma, medical records and other relevant paperwork or copies thereof.
- You should also create a folder on your computer with digital scans of all important papers.
- If selling your house, put it on the market. If renting it out, post it on rental sites.
- Take yourself and your family for medical visits that should include:
- A physical and any preventative care
- If moving to a non-English speaking country, begin to learn the language.
- Begin tentative packing plans. If going with your family, begin prepping and labelling boxes and putting unnecessary items in storage. You can find helpful information about shipping your luggage abroad at: http://www.unibaggage.com
Three Months Prior
- Ensure that your visa application process is complete or moving along smoothly.
- If selling your car, list it for sale.
- Request transfer certificates and any other necessary information from your children’s school.
- Look into getting a driver’s license in your new country. Some countries allow you to take the test online and get your license before you move.
- Begin your travel plans in earnest, including the purchase of airline tickets and contact an international moving company. If you choose private transportation, this page has helpful information about air charter safety.
- Begin packing items that you will not need for the next three months.
- Secure a storage unit for furniture and items you do not plan to bring.
- Contact your bank and let them know you are moving abroad. If they do not offer international accounts, research and contact the best banks in your soon-to-be home.
- Make sure all taxes have been filed and paid.
- Post-date the cancellation of any magazines or other subscriptions.
One Month Prior
- Change your address where it is required and ensure that everyone who needs it has your forwarding address.
- Take care of any outstanding bills and arrange for recurring payments with your bank for anything that will require it. You may also need to set a power of attorney in some cases.
- Post-date the cancellation of your phone plan, TV subscriptions, internet, utilities, etc.
- Pack everything except what you will need over the next month.
The Big Day
If you have prepared properly, you should be able to head out without any unnecessary worries. Have the moving company give you a scheduled arrival date and take anything that you will need before then. Say your final goodbyes and get ready for a new chapter in your life!