For some, it’s the romance and adventure of the unknown, others move because they find a better job. Whatever the reason for leaving your home country, it’s one of the biggest moves you can make. Success in your new life abroad often depends on how well you plan for it.
Moving in general isn’t all that easy but when moving country it can prove to be a major challenge! Because there are so many things to think about, here are four less obvious but still very important things not to forget when moving abroad.
1. Get your money in order
If you’ve ever made a big move, whether to the next town or to another country, you know it involves money, and often a lot of it.
Consider all the costs that you have when moving abroad (visas, plane tickets, shipping your belongings) but also think further ahead. You also need to save up money to be financially prepared for unexpected expenses or possible emergencies. It is recommended to save up at least seven months of estimated living expenses before you make the big move.
Before moving you should contact your bank and make sure you have access to your savings while you are abroad. When your bank doesn’t provide services in your new country, you should consider opening a new account at a bank that does.
Also check if your credit cards are valid, and find out whether you have any outstanding bills you have to pay before leaving.
2. Do your paperwork (and double, triple check it!)
Moving country generally requires a lot of paperwork and form filling-in. You will be pretty busy filling out official forms and applications for your current home country as well as your prospective one. Having the correct papers is the key for a well arranged relocation.
The general advice is to check and double check all your paperwork to avoid arriving at the destination only to find out you’re missing a document required for you to live there. To make sure you don’t overlook any important papers, here are some tips!
First of all, make sure you and your families’ visa and passport documents are officially approved. And don’t forget about possible non-human family members! Depending on the country, pets might need there own documents and quarantine arrangements.
Make backup copies of every important document you have signed and every policy and legal document (will, power of attorney, etc.) you have in your name.
Submit the new tax information to the authorities.
Obtain documentation of the necessary health clearances
3. Have a health check
Before jumping in your expat adventure abroad, it is important to make sure that both you and your family are healthy. Any time you travel to a different country, you’re faced with a variation of health and medical regulations. Save yourself a lot of trouble and address them before you go.
Depending on where you are going to live you will need certain vaccinations and proof of health. Make appointments for a medical check-up with your doctor and dentist. Your doctor should be able to give you counsel on the necessary vaccinations and travel health.
The next step is to make sure you get the right shots — and document this fact! In some cases you might only need proof of the vaccinations you’ve already had as a child or as an adult.
If you are on prescription drugs for chronic ailments, it is advised to take some with you when you move country. Try to find out if your prescription medicine is hard to come by or particularly expensive in your new country and stock up if necessary. (This also applies for eyeglasses, contact lenses, medical appliances and anything else that might be difficult to replace when are busy relocating)
Finally as an overall health tip: check if your current health insurance policy will cover you as an expatriate and if not research the health care system of your new country or get a international policy.
4. Utilities, phone, and Internet cancellation
A lot of people tend to forget to go over things they need to cancel before moving away. No one likes to pay for services you no longer use so this serves as a reminder.
Before relocating to another country, do not forget to contact your utilities companies and cancel your contracts for electricity, water, gas, phone, internet etc. Make sure you establish contact well in advance of your move since many contracts have a minimum of one month’s notice.
If you have already sold or rented out your house or apartment, it might be enough to inform the companies of the new tenant in order to put the contracts in their name.
Terminating your contract can sometimes be tricky, especially when it hasn’t ended yet. To avoid any unexpected costs you should get yourself informed about the terms of ending contracts. For example you might sometimes be able to terminate it on the grounds you’re leaving the country!