With the digital nomad movement and increased globalization, it’s more common than ever to live and work overseas.
But even though more people are packing their bags and starting over in a fresh country, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are several steps that must be taken in order to prepare for life abroad.
If you’re ready to start your journey as an ex-pat, follow this international move checklist to help organize your relocation.
In this article
Gather Official Documents
There are several legal documents you’ll need throughout the moving process.
If you don’t already have a passport, make sure to get one now before it’s too late. It can take weeks or even months to receive your passport, so don’t delay. Other documents to collect include:
- International driver’s license
- birth certificate
- marriage certificates (if applicable)
- university diploma
- citizenship papers
- social security card
- health insurance documents
Receive Your Visa
Most countries will require some type of residence visa before you move abroad. This is a crucial step in preparing for your big move.
Whether you’re applying for an employment visa, working holiday visa, or another type of visa, be sure to have it on hand before your international move.
Secure a Job
For some, this may come before getting your visa, depending on the type of visa you’re applying for.
Either way, be sure to secure some type of work ahead of time when possible. If you’re going the digital nomad route, you may already have a remote job that you’ll continue after relocating.
Prepare Your Pet
If you’re moving overseas with your furry friend, you’ll need to prepare for the animal import process, depending on the country you’re heading to.
Most countries require some immunizations and vaccinations, such as rabies shots, before the animal can enter the country. They may also ask that the animal be quarantined at the airport or another facility to monitor the pet’s condition.
Research your country thoroughly, and prepare any necessary documents and vet visits.
It goes without saying that moving overseas can be expensive. If you plan to continue working after your move, your income will help you stay afloat as you set up your new life.
But even before you hop on your flight, it’s best to start saving money now to help pay for any unexpected costs. Flights, temporary housing, paying for new furniture, and other expenses can quickly add up. Budget how much you think you’ll need before your move, and start saving what you can.
Study the Language
If you’re heading to a country that uses another language than your own, it helps to start studying it now.
In many cases, you won’t need to be fluent, especially if you’re staying in a big city or tourist-friendly area. But learning the basics will help you feel more confident in your first few weeks abroad.
Book Flights and Hotels
Once you have your visa and money saved, book your one-way flight to your new country.
You may also need to stay in a hotel or temporary accommodation after arriving. Be sure to book a room along with your flight so you’re prepared with a cozy place to stay after hours of travel.
If you’re traveling with your pet, be sure that the hotel or accommodation welcomes animals.
Visit the Doctor
It can take some time to get health insurance set up in a new country, so it’s a good idea to visit your doctor and dentist now for one last check-up.
This is also a great time to get any needed vaccinations required by your destination, as well as to refill prescriptions one last time. And make sure to grab medical records from your doctor while there, which will come in handy once you find a new doctor abroad.
Ship Your Belongings
Moving abroad doesn’t have to require leaving behind all your favorite items. There are numerous international moving companies that can ship everything from cars, such as amerifreight.net, to furniture.
Pack the essentials, including clothing and toiletries, in the baggage brought with you on your flight. For larger items or home goods that you won’t need right away, ship them in boxes or shipping containers.
If you don’t want to remain in temporary accommodations for long, try finding housing before your move to save you time and trouble later.
Even though you may not be able to view properties yourself, consider working with an expat-friendly real estate agent who can find a place for you. Some real estate agents can even do live virtual tours, showing you properties you’re interested in via video call.
Find Schools for Children
If you’re moving with children, prepare to enroll them in a new school abroad. Your job or company may have recommendations for private or international schools.
In other cases, enrolling your child in your new city’s public schools may be the best choice.
Before moving, make sure your child’s current school is aware of their move, and make sure to take their school records before you go.
Contact Your Bank
If you’ll be relying on your home country’s bank account or credit card initially, be sure to notify them of your move and that you’ll be using the cards out of the country.
Also, inquire about global banking options. If your bank only offers domestic banking, consider switching banks for seamless international transactions.
Move Out of Your Current Home
The final step to prepare for your move overseas is to move out of your current home.
Set up mail forwarding to your new international address or to a family member’s address. Close all utility accounts, and pay any final bills before leaving.
If you’re planning to rent out your home, be sure that it’s move-in ready for new tenants, including cleaning and making any necessary repairs.
Get Ready With This International Move Checklist
Moving abroad is a major life change. Stay organized with this international move checklist so you can focus on spending precious time with friends and family before you go, not worrying about last-minute problems and surprises.
Learn more about travel and foreign destinations in our other travel articles!