Moving Abroad Checklist

Moving abroad is amazing for so many reasons that you already know because you’re doing it.

But it’s also daunting.

If moving across town requires planning, moving overseas means meticulous planning.

The pressure is on when leaving behind your daughter’s favorite toy means it’s thousands of miles, a couple lines of customs, and even a few cultures away.

That’s why we decided to make a list that includes EVERYTHING you need to remember when preparing to move overseas.

Let’s jump right in.

Set Aside 3 Months for Planning

International moves take careful planning and a moving overseas checklist, so set realistic deadlines and start saving up (if you haven’t already) at least three months in advance.

Other matters to research or consider include:

  • Exchange rates and cost of living
  • Healthcare and health insurance
  • Housing (Airbnb, apartment, or house)
  • Pre-move visit
  • Property insurance
  • School options
  • Tax obligations
  • Travel arrangements
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa and passport applications

Look into international moving companies

Some expats put most of their belongings in storage to avoid high international shipping costs and take a couple of suitcases on the plane. If this isn’t your thing, consider the following in regards to reputable international movers before choosing one:

Gather documents

If you’re moving by yourself or as a family, you’ll need the following important documents:

  • Adoption papers
  • Birth certificates
  • Child custody papers
  • Dental and medical records (insurance cards, prescriptions, medical history, immunization records, and disability records)
  • Divorce papers
  • Driver’s licenses
  • Financial records (bank account, income tax, and other financial statements)
  • Marriage certificate
  • No-Claims Bonus (NCB) record
  • Passport
  • School records (transcripts, grade reports, and/or diplomas)
  • Social security cards
  • Travel documents (work permit, customs forms, etc.)
  • Other legal documents (will, trust, power of attorney, medical consent forms, etc.) To protect your documents from damage, keep them in a safe place or laminate them. Also, apply for your passport and visa if you haven’t already.

Plan for pets

In order to move overseas with pets, make sure you:

  • Comply with the destination country’s requirements
  • Vaccinate your pet(s)
  • Obtain vaccinations records
  • Purchase IATA-approved pet carrier(s)

Determine who to notify

It’s easy to forget who needs to know that you’re moving overseas. Don’t forget these companies and individuals:

  • Employers
  • Friends and family members
  • Insurance providers
  • IRS and foreign tax agencies
  • Landlord/realtor
  • Social Security Administration
  • United States Embassy
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • Utilities
  • Your bank/debit and credit cards
  • Other subscriptions/bills

Tackle the Last Month

With one month left until the big move, check each of these items off of your moving abroad checklist:

  • Cancel inapplicable insurance policies
  • Cancel subscriptions you won’t need
  • Confirm your appointments with your international moving company, and review your contract
  • Decide which belongings are coming with you and which should be sold, donated, or stored
  • Open a bank account in your new country and set up direct deposit for your employer
  • Refill and pick up prescription medications
  • Request an NCB from your car insurance company
  • Start forwarding mail to your new address
  • Visit your medical doctor, dentist, and optometrist for a checkup

Plan the Last Two Weeks

Only two weeks left! Moving day is inching closer, so here are the tasks to accomplish:

  • Give your to address to loved ones and arrange a time to say goodbyes
  • Set up bank account transfers
  • Take your pets to the vet for vaccines and other care

Finalize the Last Week

You’re bound to have last-minute realizations during the last week in your home country, so here’s what we suggest:

  • Double-check your flight itinerary
  • Finish packing your suitcases and storage unit
  • Notify your card companies so your purchases are authorized
  • Research the destinations country’s exchange rates and withdraw cash from an ATM or purchase traveler’s checks
  • Review your moving overseas checklist to ensure you didn’t forget anything
  • Unlock your mobile phone
  • Have fun with your loved ones

Pack for the plane

The packing list for your carry-on bag includes both essential items and ones to keep you cozy during your flight:

  • Blanket
  • Book
  • Earplugs
  • Gum
  • Headphones
  • Medications
  • Pajamas
  • Phone
  • Sleeping mask
  • Socks and underwear
  • Toys for the kids
  • Valuables

Settle into your new home

Once you get to your place in your new country, there are just a few more things to do:

  • Ensure all of your belongings made it
  • Explore your neighborhood and new environment
  • Find other expats and expat groups
  • Locate the nearest hospital and pharmacy
  • Say hello to your neighbors
  • Sign up for language classes
  • Tour your house or apartment
  • Take some downtime (you deserve it!)

Bring Your Moving Overseas Dreams to Life

You did it! You’re now an expat in a different country, and many new adventures await. Remember to take in the culture, make new friends, and have fun with your new life. With a bit of hard work and dedication, you can live out your dreams and create memories you’ll never forget!