Moving Abroad Checklist
Here is a checklist of what you need to prepare for moving abroad:
- Find out the visa requirements.
- Get your documents ready.
- Make a timeline of your move.
- Prepare your pets.
- Check tax obligations.
- Prepare insurance & check the healthcare system.
- Find housing.
- Sort your previous living situation.
- Prepare flight arrangements.
- Prepare your things to be shipped.
- Prepare your finances.
- Settle your home affairs.
Find Out The Visa Requirements
The first thing you need to do when you plan your move abroad is to check your destination’s visa requirements and immigration options. You usually need a long-stay visa to move unless you are an EEA/EU country national and you’re moving within the EEA/EU.
Some countries offer several immigration programs that usually target highly skilled workers and are work-based, points-based or require a sponsor. So, you have to do some research and see which program suits you best.
Get Your Documents Ready
Any important papers such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, adoption papers, medical records, and child custody should be prepped and ready to go with you. Plus, you can’t forget about your passport. You have to make sure it’s valid and up to date.
If you don’t have a passport, you have to apply for one at the relevant authority in your country. Complete this step first because you cannot apply for a visa without a valid passport.
Make a Timeline of Your Move
The whole visa process, from preparing your documents to applying for the visa and getting the visa, may take several months. However, after your visa is granted, most countries allow you 30 days until you enter the country. So, make sure that you finish planning everything when you think the visa will be granted.
In addition to this, you should consider the idea that it might be easier for you to move first and then bring your family members. You should settle on a schedule that works for everyone and gives you plenty of time to sort everything.
Prepare Your Pets
If you are moving with pets, you have to check the pet entry requirements of your destination country. The regulations change from country to country, but generally, you have to follow these rules:
- Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies.
- Your pet must have a travel passport.
- Your pet must possess a health certificate.
- Your pet should be prepared for travel (carrier crate, transportation, paid airline fees).
Exotic pets require different regulations than common household pets (cats, dogs, birds).
Check Tax Obligations
When you move to a new state, you may still be required to pay taxes in your home country. That is why before you leave, check with the tax authorities, and see the tax agreements between your state and destination country.
Prepare Insurance & Check the Health Care System
Some countries offer free public health care to all their citizens and residents, so you might not need health insurance when you move to your new country. Still, expats prefer to have private health insurance just to have everything covered. Plus, you should get travel insurance to cover the trip until you settle.
Most expats recommend that you travel for a short time to find housing in person instead of doing everything online. To make it easier for you, you can find a real estate agent and have them find options and let you in on the necessary steps you have to take to secure a deposit. Moreover, you should keep in mind that renting or buying costs will probably be much different than what you’re used to.
Sort Your Previous Living Situation
If you own your house/apartment in your home country, you should consider selling the property and use the money for your trip abroad. But, just in case your new country doesn’t work out, you have the option to rent your property and keep it in your ownership. First, however, you should be prepared with the many responsibilities of becoming an expat landlord.
This decision will mostly depend on your situation in your country when it comes to housing, but also keep in mind that mortgage terms won’t always allow you to rent.
Prepare Flight Arrangments
Depending on the distance between your home country and destination, flight tickets can be pricey, especially if you have to pay fees for your pet. The price can go up to $2,000.
So, do some research and find one of the cheapest airlines you can find- and if you have this option, use your traveller’s miles to get a discount. Also, call the airline a few days before your flight to confirm the date and time.
Prepare Your Things to Be Shipped
If you want to bring your belongings with you, you have to get them ready to be shipped. First of all, check the customs regulations and if you are required to pay taxes on your items. Then, find the cheapest option to ship your items. Depending on where you are moving to, you can ship them by air, ship, moving truck, or train.
Prepare your Finances
You need to ensure that you have enough savings to make this move in terms of your finances. Then, you have to find banking options that work for you. First, check with your local bank whether they can help you open an account in your new country. If not, check whether international transactions are available and whether your cards will work (this option may come with high transaction costs).
When moving, the biggest hardship you may encounter is that you need a bank account to rent, but you can’t rent without a bank account. However, you can use banks that offer international accounts to non-residents and mobile banks. Generally, most expats prefer to use international money transfer providers that provide cheaper options than traditional banks.
Settle Your Home Affairs
Before you leave, there are a few important things you need to arrange in your home country:
- Let friends and family know where you are moving to.
- Cancel any subscriptions.
- Prepare to change your mobile provider.
- Settle any unpaid bills and debts you may have.
- Arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address.
Who Needs to Know You Are Moving?
Besides, friends and family, you have to let the following institutions know you are moving:
- Your local authority (council, municipality, etc.)
- Your post-office.
- Your bank.
- Your landlord (if you are renting).
- Utility companies.
- Pension administration.
- Tax administration.
Don’t forget that you can still register to vote even if you leave the country.
How to Move Abroad?
You can move abroad if you qualify for one of the following:
- You can apply for a work visa.
- You can apply for an exchange program.
- You can move for your studies (short-term).
- You can apply for family reunification (if you have family members in another country).
- You can apply for an investor visa (if this is offered from your destination country)
- You can get citizenship by descent (if applicable).
Is Moving Abroad Difficult?
Overall, it’s difficult to move abroad if you don’t have a job or money. However, this depends on where you are from and where you are going. Each country regulates their immigration programs carefully to make sure that overpopulation won’t happen, and they allow entry to people who can benefit that country’s economy and development.
How Much Does it Cost to Move Abroad?
To move abroad, you need to have at least $20,000. But, the cost depends on which area you are moving to, whether you are renting or buying, whether you ship your entire belongings or not, and whether you are moving on your own or with family/pets.