Moving Overseas Checklist
By Joshua Wood, LPC
A moving overseas checklist is often considered critical by expats and the international relocation professionals who help guide them before, during and after a move abroad. Read our list and help expand it by posting your suggestions!
A moving overseas checklist is often talked about among expats and international relocation professionals alike.
There are some relocation tasks that will apply to expats all over the world, and then there are others that are specific to a particular region, country or city.
We thought it would be fun and useful to enlist your help in creating an updated list for Expat Exchange.
We'll get the list started with the first five tasks then wait for your input as we continually expand and update the list. Feel free also to suggest changes to the list items we've created.
So please let us know what else should be on the list, or what you feel should be changed, by posting into the comments below.
1.) Consider Global Medical Insurance Options
If you are moving abroad, you will have to have some kind of international health insurance that you will be comfortable with while living abroad. If you have any kind of health condition it's important to understand how it can be managed in your destination country.
2.) Begin Process of Researching and Applying for Visas and Work Permits
Remember that visas and work permits are country specific. If you are being sent abroad for an employer, you hopefully will receive a lot of guidance on how to manage this critical process. If not, it is important to be exhaustive in your research to avoid lengthy delays or running afoul with the laws and regulations of your destination country.
3.) Find an International Shipping Company
If you are going to move overseas, you'll likely need to have at least some of your belongings shipped abroad by an international mover. Expats have a lot to consider in terms of moving their belongings overseas. Are there items that will help you settle into the new culture, but are hard to easily or safely ship abroad?
4.) Expat Mail
What will you do with your mail? Have it forwarded abroad and/or digitized by an international mail forwarding service? Have it sent to a relative's house?
5.) Plan a "look-see" or scouting trip to the Destination Country to which you are considering relocating.
These kinds of trips can have multiple purposes. It enables an expat to evaluate a country and city, explore international real estate options, and research international schools, among others.
Okay, expats! That's just a start... what else should a soon-to-be expat have on his or her list? Post suggestions into the comments section below.
About the Author
Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.
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Comments about this Article
Some of my tips can be done well in advance and others will need to be done when you have made the decision to move OS or been offered a role:
1. Medical conditions/medications – learn the correct terms for any medical conditions and medication and also in your destination country language
2. Learn the destination country language – before you go and after you land
3. Insurance – If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Most people are under insured, so this is a great opportunity to review your insurance requirements.
4. Packing – carry on, checked, air freight (1-2 weeks), sea freight (2-3 months), storage, offer to family/friends, sell, donate, rubbish
5. Digitise your life – to the cloud &/or external drives - photos (this would also make a great farewell gift), music, DVDs, filing cabinet/paper, books to ereader
6. Pets – pets are for life, make sure their transport is comfortable and they settle in easier.
7. Engage with family & friends – An open house farewell one weekend would work well, so people could drop by when they wanted and stay for as long as they chose, you can get rid of any food and drinks that you can’t take with you. It will also help you get rid of things by asking people to put post its on items that they would like.
8. Get written confirmation - your driving record/licence, any insurance no claim bonus, police record, credit history, medical records, pet records, hair colour formula
9. Update your will, (enduring/medical) power of attorney – when you land get the same documentation drawn up as some countries will have different requirements/legal rules
10. Get your finances in order – Will you be able to access your accounts from OS? What about your retirement accounts? Can you set up an OS account before you leave? Money transfers
11. Research your destination city/country – cost of living, accommodation, utilities, phone, internet, transport, insurance, banking, registration with local authorities when you arrive, simple activities to do whilst you are getting settled (sightseeing, hiking, swimming, running, gym, movies), groceries, expat groups, language courses, cultural training
12. Destination country accommodation – arrange some before you go, even if it is temporary whilst you look for a longer term solution. Consider a relocation agent to assist you with your long term solution.
13. Register your travel - with your relevant government agency, electoral office, banks
14. Wrap up your current accommodation – It’s almost the same process as moving, however your utility and service providers will need future contact details for any queries or outstanding monies owed/payable. If you own your property get professional photos before you pack up, so that you will have furnished photos.
I’m sure there are plenty more tips and especially for those with spouses and children.
First Published: Oct 01, 2015