Managing your move abroad
Are you prepared for relocating abroad? Kathy Dorf offers international movers this practical checklist of what needs to be done before you move abroad.
Investigate your new country’s rules
Regulations and laws vary widely between countries so it is important to do your research before moving abroad. Contact the appropriate embassy or consulate for information relevant to expats relocating to the country, including:
- Visas and permits
- Vaccines for family members
- Restrictions or taxes on shipped household items
- Taxes involved in shipping your car
- Vaccines and quarantines for pets
File applications for passports, visas and permits
Do this early, as the process takes time. It is also wise to renew documents early, in the case that they are due to expire in the near future.
Gather important documents
Be sure to request official copies of important personal documents and allow at least several weeks to receive them. For instance:
- Birth and marriage certificate
- Naturalisation, green card, proof of citizenship etc.
- Social security cards
- Vaccination, medical and dental records
- Insurance policies
- Academic records and diplomas
- Employment records
- Proof of residency (utility bill, bank statement etc.)
- Living will and testament
International moving and shipping companies
Request quotes from international moving and shipping companies for transporting your belongings overseas. Since it could take over a month for your items to arrive, plan ahead when scheduling your shipment.
It is critical to determine the exact insurance requirements and availability at your new destination, as limits vary widely throughout the world.
Anyone planning to drive a car internationally will need to purchase an international car insurance policy. Requirements vary among countries so select an insurance provider with the expertise and resources to ensure the policy meets your needs.
International personal property insurance, which can include transit and destination coverage, protects items damaged during the relocation process, while in your foreign residence or during shipping and transit. Contact an insurance provider specialising in expats for more information.
Even if your destination country has a social healthcare system, you may not be eligible for coverage. If you are not covered under a group medical insurance program, individual policies can be purchased to protect you in a foreign country. These policies include worldwide medical protection and also can include evacuation services.
Bank and credit card accounts
Review your accounts and notify your banks that you will be overseas. Also consider online international banking, which makes it easier to transfer and manage funds between countries.
If you or a family member takes prescription drugs, purchase additional quantities and obtain a copy of the medical file related to the condition. Keep them in your hand luggage, in case bags are lost in transit.
International driving permit
Renew your driver’s license if it is set to expire soon. Acquire an international driving permit (IDP) and take extra forms to renew it annually by mail. Remember to carry both your IDP and your national driver's license with you at all times.
Each country has distinct tax rules for foreign earned income. Determine your obligations and gather the necessary paperwork.
If your pet is moving with you, ensure it receives proper vaccinations and identify a pet carrier. If you have decided not to bring a pet, allow enough time to find it a new home.
Flight and hotel reservations
Make all necessary travel arrangements as soon as your travel dates are set.
VOIP phone service
Consider using VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone service, otherwise known as broadband phone service. This is an affordable way for expats to make local, long distance and international calls, all for a monthly fee.
Cancel subscriptions and forward mail
Cancel all publication subscriptions and complete the appropriate forms at the post office to ensure your mail is forwarded to your new address.
Do your research
Take some time to learn about the country’s history and culture before you move so you arrive prepared to adapt quickly to your new home.
Kathy Dorf / Expatica
Kathy Dorf is the Marketing Communications Specialist at Clements International. Founded in 1947, Clements International provides insurance for expats, international schools, multinational businesses and relief organisations in more than 170 countries.
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