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Moving Abroad Checklist You Need For Your International Move

Posted Moving Fundamentals / December 20, 2017

Relocating to another country can be considered a courageous act. But once you decide to embark on this life-changing journey, don’t waste any more days and start creating your moving abroad checklist.

Planning an overseas relocation is an overwhelming process, and you’re in for a rollercoaster of different emotions. You’ll feel happiness, but also concern or sadness combined with enthusiasm, and that’s nothing to be scared of. You have decided where you want to live, and you should be proud of yourself. So, without further ado, here are the things you should think about when relocating overseas.

First Write Down the Necessary Paperwork in Your International Moving Checklist

There’s no such thing as traveling without at least one document, especially if it entails crossing international borders. If you want to avoid relocation stress, start collecting all the documents needed to travel abroad as soon as possible. Start by making a list of documents and sort them by priority. In this way, you will avoid terrible relocation mistakes. Get familiar with the procedures and the time it takes to obtain a particular document. Don’t forget to put all the paperwork in one place, say a binder, so that you don’t get anxious when the relocation day comes.

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The Expiration Date of Your Passport and the Appropriate Visa

First of all, we have to emphasize that the visa application process can last from 6 to 9 months, depending on the country you will move to, so obtaining a suitable visa should be your number one priority. Find out what the country-specific requirements for visa applications are, prepare all that is necessary, and apply for the visa as soon as possible.

Don’t forget – to apply for the visa, you will need a valid passport, so check the expiration date on it. Everyone who wants to travel should renew their passports at least six months before their expiration date.

You Will Need the Following Documents for Moving Abroad

For relocating abroad, you may have to prepare other documents such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate/divorce papers, child custody papers, social security cards, and driver’s license.

Other than that, you will also need the following:

Medical records

You should collect all copies of your medical records, including immunization records and medical history. It is also necessary that you have copies of your prescription records as well as proof of dental and/or disability insurance.

School records/university papers

Such documents are needed if you, or some of your family members, want to go to school when you move. In that case, you should provide copies of school transcripts and grade reports.

Insurance policies and other legal documents

These include any notarized document such as a power of attorney, health power of attorney, trust, will, and medical consent form.

NCB record

“No-Claims Bonus” is a document that will be helpful if you plan to drive in your future city. Your overseas car insurance company will give you a discount if you have a claims-free record.

Financial records

They are important when moving internationally because some countries will ask for copies of your bank statements as proof that you had saved a certain amount of money before you moved to their territory. You should also have copies of the financial statements of any business you own, as well as tax statements.

Give Yourself a 3-Month Head Start to Complete Everything for the International Move

When moving across the world, you should think about how to finish all the tasks regarding your “old” and your “new” life. It could be helpful if you divide these tasks into, say, two groups – one for money-related matters, and another for everything else.

Tax Obligations, Insurance Options, and Money-Saving Matters

  • Check your savings or, if you don’t have any, now is the right moment to start saving some money so you will be able to better balance finances abroad. It might seem like three months is too short of a time to save a significant amount, but that’s not entirely true. Savings, no matter how big, can help you if, during the move, some unexpected costs occur.
  • Get information about your tax obligations – As a US citizen, you will still have a responsibility to pay taxes to your native country, even though you have moved across the world. That’s why you should set an appointment with a tax professional because there might be a chance for some provisions that can lower your tax liability.
  • See what your options regarding insurance are – Take into consideration two insurances – property and rental. If you plan to buy property in another part of the world, you should get property insurance. Also, if you plan to rent your current home, you can consider buying a rental one, so that your belongings are insured in case of damage.
  • Additional insurance options to think about – Now, when you are relocating across the ocean, travel and/or life are two types of insurances you should think about. See what your options are and, if you are interested, use this preparation period to arrange this matter, too.

American Moving Abroad Checklist Should Also Contain Researching Housing, Health, and Education Options in Your New City

  • Proper time management is a crucial aspect of every traveling process. It all depends on whether you are moving abroad alone or with family. If you have kids, you should see if the whole family can relocate at once, or you should go first, get to know the environment, and prepare everything for when other members arrive. Your time management should also include a period to get all the necessary documents and permits for relocating across the ocean.
  • Healthcare – If you’re not getting healthcare benefits at your new work, try to find information about your options regarding this matter. You can ask your current provider for advice regarding your health needs. Besides, you can consider getting international private healthcare insurance so that you don’t get caught in some undesired expenses once you move.
  • Decide what you will do with your current housing – If you are currently renting a home, decide if you are going to cancel your lease or not. On the other hand, if you own a home, calculate what your best option is – to rent it out or to sell it depending on how long you are going to live abroad with your family.
  • Arrange appointments with the movers – Once you have chosen the right company, you can schedule a free survey. It is quite helpful to get expert advice regarding your international move. Professional movers will tell you which items are suitable for packing or what would be a problem to pack and ship. They can also advise you on how and what to pack when moving abroad.
  • Storage costs – If you are thinking about putting some of your belongings in a storage unit, see what the conditions are, and how much it will cost.
  • If you have to find temporary housing – Try to plan an hourly rate and a budget to visit and book an apartment or house in which you are going to live temporarily.
  • Finding schools for yourself or your children – If you are relocating with kids, one of the things you should think about is their education. Research schools and see what the options are if you are interested in online learning.

Find Reliable Movers

While planning to start your move, one of the things you should think about is how to find the best international moving services. During the search, you should try to collect all the information about the international moving companies you are considering, and then choose the one that suits your needs and offers the best deal.

Besides prices and services, the company you hire has to provide you with all the necessary permits for relocating across the world, specifically for your destination country.

First Compare, Then Choose

Relocation is one serious process, and you should go about it with the help from someone you fully trust. That’s why you shouldn’t pick the first international moving company that you stumble upon – try to do more in-depth research in order to find the best one.

There should be at least three or four companies on your list. The chosen company has to be fully licensed and reliable. In other words, it has to have all the necessary permits and offer services that will assure you of a safe relocation.

Find out if the overseas moving company you hire can provide you with the proper services. Also, if you would like an extra hand with packing obligations, check if the company provides those services, too.

If you own a car, and you would also like to ship it, see what the conditions are for overseas vehicle shipping. On the other hand, if you have no option then to leave some items behind, ask the company’s representatives about the conditions and prices for storage services.

Make a Final Decision and Contact the Selected Movers

Keep in mind that hiring an overseas shipping company should happen at least three months before your move. That’s why the task of finding and booking the company should be one of the first things to put on your checklist.

When you contact the chosen company, give them all the information regarding your move and find out everything about their services. After that, schedule the date of relocation.

Even after you book international movers, you should contact them three weeks before your relocation. Check if they have received all your documents, and, just to be sure, once again go through the contract.

Think About Your Pets When Relocating Abroad and Writing Down the Moving Abroad Packing Checklist

Moving abroad with pets can be a tricky matter. There are a lot of things to think about so that your beloved animal companions can relocate with you to a new home.

Check If Your Pets Can Move With You and Get the Right Transport Equipment

Before you make the final arrangement for your move, get familiar with the requirements for relocating with pets of the country you are settling down in. Some of them may have restrictions when it comes to certain animal species or breeds, such as pit bull terriers or exotic birds.

The destination country might require that the clearance and immunization are done in some specific period before the move. And don’t be surprised if they demand a period of quarantine for pets.

Other than the country’s requirements, you should think about how to transport your pets. You will need to have the proper pet carriers. Contact your airline to find out about their rules for relocating pets and make sure that the pet carrier you chose is IATA approved.

Health Certificates and Immunization Records

Before moving overseas, you will have to collect all shot records of your pets. Set an appointment with the veterinarian who will provide you with an international health certificate for your pets.

Follow Your Moving Abroad Checklist and See What You Should Do One Month Before the Relocation

The relocation day is slowly approaching, and you still have to take care of a lot of things. Don’t panic; you still have enough time to arrange everything. Just follow your checklist, and there won’t be any problems.

Make an Appointment With a Doctor

You should arrange all medical appointments and finish all the exams before the relocation, including the dentist, eye doctor, and therapist. Also, get prescriptions for any medications you’re taking, as well as all your medical records, original or copies.

Cancel All Subscriptions, Take Care of Financial Matters and Decide What to Do With Things You Are Not Planning to Move

It sure seems like relocation is a never-ending game. Don’t lose your spirit, just a few more tasks, and you are done:

  • Get information about your bank account options – Check if your bank has a branch in the country you are settling in. If it doesn’t, you should find the best solution and sign up for a bank account at a local bank.
  • Don’t forget to cancel all subscriptions – You should cancel any service you are not planning or not going to be able to use across the sea, including all streaming services and magazine subscriptions. Also, to avoid being charged in advance for the upcoming month, don’t forget to cancel cable as well.
  • Don’t throw away stuff – donate – If there are some things you are not planning to move, don’t just throw them away. Instead, consider donating. You can contact Goodwill or some other charity organization and see how the donation process goes. Also, you can ask some of your neighbors or relatives if they need something, and you will probably make someone happy.

Dedicate Enough Time to See Your Loved Ones and Take Care of Your Pets

You are just a couple of weeks from leaving for another part of the world. You are overwhelmed by thinking about how to live in another county, but don’t forget to spend some quality hours with your friends and close relatives.

Use the 10 Days Leading up to Your Move to Visit Your Loved Ones and Tell Them About Your New Home

Friends are a crucial part of our lives. We must try to keep in touch with those we love and to cherish our relationships, despite being physically distant from each other.

When someone moves across the world, there is always the danger of losing connection with those they care about. That’s why people who plan relocation should think about how to keep in touch with friends after moving abroad.

One of the tasks you should finish before you leave is to spend some period with your loved ones. Inform them about your new location, work, and your new housing. Give them the new address and invite them to visit you.

Today, more than ever, staying in touch with someone is the most natural thing. Social networks keep us close, so even if you move somewhere far away, you can call, talk, and see your loved ones daily.

Take Your Pet(s) to the Vet

Arrange an appointment before you move and take your pet(s) to the veterinarian. Also, it’s crucial that your pets receive the necessary immunization shots, and ask the vet to do one more exam, just to be sure that your pets are ready to move across the sea.

It’s the Final Countdown – a Helpful Checklist For Moving Abroad of the Things You Should Do One Week Before the Move

This time next week, you’ll be at your new location. How exciting is that? Use these last seven days to finish all your tasks and do all the things you have left for the last minute.

Contact Your Movers for the Final Confirmation and Check Your Flight Details

Contact your relocation company once again before the move and confirm the date and hour of the move. Also, check the flight details, including luggage restrictions and departure time.

Withdraw Cash and See If You Can Use Your Credit Card Overseas

You should have enough money on the day of the move. Also, contact your card company and let them know that you are planning to use your credit or debit card in the country you are settling in. That way, you will not have to worry about the authorization of your purchases.

Follow Your Moving Abroad Packing List and Complete the Packing Process

We assume that most of your belongings are already packed, but it would be nice to go through your inventory list and see if everything is ready for the long journey ahead. Things you could wrap the last are items that “belong” to your pets and all the things you’ll need during the move.

Throw a Farewell Party

Yes, this is a task too. It would be lovely if you threw a party for your loved ones. A party is the best way to celebrate your move and to say goodbye (until the next encounter) to those you care about the most. You can host a packing party as well and invite loved ones to help you pack furniture, electronics, dishes, and valuable items.

Flight Essentials – Things You Should Carry With You on The Relocation Day

When the relocation day comes, you should have prepared a bag or two with the things that will ensure a comfortable flight. Besides your documents, wallet, daily medications, and phone, your bag should also contain extra moving essentials such as underwear and socks, headphones, something to read, maybe a blanket, a sleeping mask, and earplugs. If you have kids, don’t forget to pack some toys, too.

On The Relocation Day

Well, it’s time. The relocation day has come. Everything is packed and ready for relocating overseas. It might be scary, but just remember, this is a new chapter in your life, and you should enjoy it.


What are the most important documents I need to prepare before moving abroad?

You should prepare documents such as a passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended stay), a visa (if required), a work permit (if required), a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, a driver’s license (if you plan to drive), health records and immunization records, educational records (if you plan to study).

How do I choose a reputable international moving company?

Look for international moving companies that have been in business for a long time and have experience with international moves. Check their online reviews and ratings. Verify their credentials, such as their license and insurance. Get multiple quotes and compare them. Ask for references from past clients.

What are the visa requirements for moving to a foreign country?

Visa requirements vary depending on the country you plan to move to and your reasons for moving (e.g., work, study, family, etc.). You can find information about visa requirements on the website of the country’s embassy or consulate in your home country.

What should be on my to-do list before moving abroad?

Research the cost of living in your new country. Make a budget for your move and plan for any expenses. Sell or donate any items you don’t need or can’t take with you. Cancel any subscriptions or memberships that won’t be relevant in your new country. Notify your bank and credit card companies of your move. Obtain any necessary visas or work permits. Arrange for health insurance in your new country. Set up mail forwarding or a new mailing address.

How can I prepare my finances for an international move?

Create a budget for your move and plan your expenses. Open a bank account in your new country. Notify your bank and credit card companies that you are planning to relocate. Research on the web more about the cost of living in your new country and adjust your budget accordingly. Convert some of your money into the local currency before the overseas relocation.

What are the best ways to learn the language of my new country before moving abroad?

Take a language class or course. Use language learning apps or websites. Watch TV shows or movies in the language you want to learn. Listen to music or podcasts in the language you want to learn. Find language exchange partners online or in person. Buy a dictionary and find some tips for learning a new language.

What are the best ways to find housing in a foreign country?

Research online listings on websites like Airbnb, Craigslist, or local real estate agencies. Use social media to connect with locals and ask for recommendations. Join expat groups and forums and ask for advice from other expats. Hire a local real estate agent to help you find suitable housing.

What should be on my packing checklist for an international move?

Don’t forget to write a checklist that will contain clothing appropriate for the climate in the new country, adapters for electrical outlets, important contact information, passport, medications, toiletries, and other financial documentation.

How can I make sure my belongings are protected during an international move?

Use sturdy packing materials, such as bubble wrap or packing peanuts. Label boxes clearly with the contents and destination. Take inventory of all your belongings and their condition before packing. Use a reputable overseas moving company that provides insurance coverage. Consider packing and transporting valuable or fragile items yourself.

What are the best ways to say goodbye to friends and family before moving abroad?

Plan a farewell party or dinner. Write personal letters or cards to close friends and family. Use video chat or social media to keep in touch after you move. Make a scrapbook or photo album of memories with loved ones.

What are some common challenges I should be prepared for when moving abroad?

The most common challenges people face when they move internationally are language barriers, cultural homesickness, finding appropriate housing, navigating the new healthcare system, and adapting to different work culture and the job market.

How can I prepare my pets for an international move?

Make sure they have all necessary vaccinations and paperwork. Research the requirements for bringing pets into your new country. Arrange for a pet-friendly airline and crate for transportation. Introduce your pet to the crate before the move. Consider hiring a professional pet transporter or pet sitter during the move.

What are the cultural differences to be aware of when moving abroad?

You will face different social etiquette and different social customs. There are almost always different attitudes toward time management and punctuality, expectations for personal privacy and space, and beliefs and values around politics, religion, and family.

How can I get involved in the local community in my new country?

Join local clubs or organizations related to your interests. You can attend community events and various festivals.
If you want to volunteer for local charities or non-profit organizations you will meet interesting people along the way. Take language classes or attend cultural events to learn more about the local culture. Use social media or expat groups to connect with other expats or locals.

How can I stay in touch with friends and family after moving abroad?

Use video chat or messaging apps to communicate regularly. Schedule regular calls or video chats with loved ones. Share photos and updates on social media. Plan visits or vacations to see friends and family in person.

What should be on my checklist for settling into a new country?

Register with the local authorities and obtain necessary documents and permits. Open a local bank account and set up utilities and internet services. Find a doctor and dentist and obtain necessary health insurance. Register your children for school or childcare. Learn basic phrases in the local language and familiarize yourself with local customs.

What are the best ways to cope with culture shock when moving abroad?

Keep an open mind and be willing to learn about the local culture. Find a support system, such as other expats or a counselor. Take time to explore and appreciate the local culture. Stay connected with loved ones back home for emotional support. Focus on similarities rather than differences between your home culture and the new culture.

How can I prepare for potential emergencies or unexpected events while living abroad?

Research the emergency services and procedures in your new country. Keep important documents and contact information always easily accessible. Register with your embassy or consulate. Learn some words in the local language for emergency situations. Have a plan in place for communication and meeting up with loved ones in case of an emergency.

What are the best ways to maintain my mental and emotional health while living abroad?

Stay connected with loved ones back home and build new relationships in your new country. Take care of your physical health through exercise and healthy eating. Find hobbies or activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Take time for self-care, such as meditation or journaling. Seek professional help if needed, such as counseling or therapy.

What should I keep in mind when planning for my return trip or next move after living abroad?

Take time to reflect on your experiences and what you’ve learned from living abroad. Plan for any necessary adjustments to your lifestyle and career. Consider the financial implications of moving back home or to a new country. Don’t forget to keep in touch with friends and don’t neglect the relationships you’ve built in your current location. Be prepared for potential reverse culture shock upon returning home.

Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

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