Preparing for an International Move (Part 2)
Everything you Need to Know
You may organize your relocation plan using our worry-free guide. Begin by creating a file listing all the items and tasks you need to do before you move, and do your best to highlight the ones you have fulfilled. Below are the recommended tasks when planning to move:
- Secure your plane ticket and hotel reservation if necessary.
- If you are moving with your children, inform the school of your plans and get all the school documents required when transferring.
- When moving with pets, verify the checklist for quarantine with the country you intend to move in.
- Find time to identify reputable freight movers. Compare prices and check if there is any feedback from your friends and family about the movers.
- Make a backup copy of all the confidential papers you have. If possible, make photocopies of them, save the copies on your laptop, and assign a file folder for these items. Read the specific requirements of your destination since most countries ask for the certification of documents. For more details, you may find these on their government agencies’ websites.
- Carefully organize the boxes by indicating the category of each storage.
- Save a file for any tax-related details if there is a need for reimbursement. Keep all the receipts. That way, you get to track the amounts you can be reimbursed for.
- Always check the validity of your passport. You cannot travel abroad if it’s near the expiration date.
- If you have a driving license, check if the new country honors your license. Since most states do not consider the validity of foreign licenses, gather information on how you can secure an international driving license before you move.
- After you’ve decided which mover to use, set the date and time. There are items banned from importation in your country of destination of which you must be aware. Let the moving company provide you with the details.
- Some countries require your and your pet’s vaccination before entering their territory. See if you must get vaccinated and have this procedure cleared by an accredited international physician along with supporting papers.
- Inform your loved ones, colleagues, and any other relevant institution (like banks, subscriptions, etc.) who is sending correspondences via mail of you changing your address. By doing this, you are preventing any possible fraud or returned mails.
- Ask for assistance from home rent agencies before you leave if you would like to have your property rented.
- Categorize your belongings. Separate those you no longer use, then dispose or leave them before packing the others.
- Make use of the internet by posting your property if you intend to sell it.
- Check the validity of your driving license. If it is about to expire, renew it to avoid penalties.
- Complete and keep all the medical records of your family, yourself, and your pets. Find time to see a doctor and have yourselves checked before leaving.
- Post the items you want to sell on the internet while you have the time.
- Read everything regarding your insurance and visa requirements (if necessary).
- Have a farewell party with your friends and colleagues.
- Inform the postal service to forward any mails to your new address.
- When leaving confidential papers to an authorized person, do not forget to secure a Power of Attorney. This will lessen your worries of completing tasks when you’re not around.
- Inform your financial institution of your plans of relocating. Provide them with your new contact details and telling them of the length of your stay. You can also opt to change your details to your family or friend’s address (if you’re moving short-term). Look for a bank that has worldwide acceptance or services.
- Schedule future dated or automatic payments through banks for any payment-related concerns to prevent fees when you’re not around. Most banks offer the auto-pay feature, so do not forget to enroll for this service before you move.
- Check the generic names of the medicines you are taking. Find out if similar medication is also in the pharmacies of the country you plan to live in. You can bring an ample supply, but coordinate with Customs first for clearance purposes.
- Create an online account. Most financial institutions offer online banking services for convenience. Your bank is outdated if it does not have this value adding service. Consider moving to a different bank that offers it.
- Check your property for any damages and have them repaired, for rental purposes.
- Set a date to cancel any subscription-related items that are delivered to your property regularly.
30 Days to the Moving Date
- Do not forget to update your new contact information as part of your personal data.
- Make payments for your billing statements before you move out of the country. You may ask a favor from a family member to check and pay any unpaid bills. Do not forget to leave them money.
- Notify utility companies about your plans to move. Request to have your services cancelled. If a tenant is moving into your property, update the statement details.
- Complete all the required forms and documents requested by the movers.
- When requesting to cancel your home insurance, provide the exact date of your departure.
- Before you leave your property to a tenant (if you give the house for rent), it must be clean, organized, and the items left behind should be listed.
- Prepare for packing your belongings. Make sure you have a list of items according to priority.
- Review and confirm the new address is updated for whoever needs the details.
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- Set an approximate date when you plan to move your belongings.
- Inspect the entire house first before you leave.
- Relax and leave all your worries behind.
- Find time to say “Thank You” and “Farewell” to your friends, family, and colleagues.
- Do not forget to carry with you the most important items you’ll need immediately when arriving.
- Get in touch with the movers and review the items to be delivered.
Preparing for the Culture Change
Residing in a country that has a different culture from what you’re used to can take some serious adjustments. We have noted down some tips to help ease your situation abroad.
Understand their dialect and language. While you may encounter awkward moments in a foreign country, learning and understanding their dialect or language will surely help. It may be difficult at first, but taking time to study the basic words or phrases will help make things a little easier.
Understand and learn about the place you’re relocating to. Start researching and learn the basic details of the city you’re transferring to. Use travel guides, map books, or even an encyclopedia to help you learn about the place. Cultural beliefs may vary in each region, so it’s better to learn as much information specifically about the place you’re moving to.
Research online. Nowadays, almost every country has its own websites. Visiting these sites daily can help you learn more about your destination abroad. Search for social media and networking sites about the city you’re moving to. You can also join chat groups or message boards in the area. Ask the locals about the community and the people. You might be able to gain some friends, even if you haven’t moved in yet.
Find Local Groups. Search for local groups, communities, or festivals in the area that you can explore before your relocation. It could be a great source of information while having fun. You can also join international clubs where you can discover more about the local customs, ceremonies, and food related to your destination country. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and to get recommendations on things such as restaurants, hotels, and local tourist destinations you can go to once you’re moved in.
Bring souvenirs and remembrances from home. While packing for your international move, do not forget to include some keepsakes. Items like your photo albums, scrapbooks, and other small knickknacks from home can help you stay connected with your family and loved ones. You can also stay in contact by using email, phone calls, postcards, or social media messaging applications.
Most banks have international branches. Others partner with a local bank, so moving current accounts to a new international one may no longer be necessary. If your bank does not have a local branch in your destination country, you can ask for their recommendation of a local financial institution or bank. If your firm is sending you abroad, they should be capable of providing you with the name and information of their trusted bank.
Credit cards can now be used globally, although it is recommended to cut the current one and get a new account instead. This way, you can avoid paying for the currency difference (if there is any) in your new location.
As much as possible, it’s highly recommended to let your kids finish the current school season before relocating abroad. Most countries have a different education system and terms. For instance, some countries call their high school a secondary school while middle school takes the place of elementary school.
Afterwards, you’ll need to identify what grade level your child has to be enrolled in. This may seem simple enough, but countries have various ability requirements and education standards to be in a particular grade. Seek your local school’s recommendation or take the advice of your new school director / principal to better understand your child’s academic needs.
Some children may find transferring schools a frightening event, so talking to them regarding the move and ensuring them of your support will help. Try to make sure the activities and hobbies they enjoy are easily accessible at the new location. Most towns and cities now have a website where you can do your research.
Evaluate potential schools prior to your move. The questions below will help you choose a suitable school that meets your needs. Ask yourself:
- Does the school have an excellent accreditation rate?
- Does the institution encourage new technology?
- Does the institution have an excellent student university placement?
- How many pupils does each class have?
- Does the school offer a wide selection of courses?
- Does the school offer a variety of sports and other recreational activities?
Documents and Visa Requirements
It may be necessary for you to research what travel documentation or work visas will be required to work and live in your destination country.
- As soon as you know you are moving abroad, the local embassy of that country becomes your primary contact point to look for.
- Schedule a trip or call the country’s consulate to determine what kind of documents you will need.
- To get a visa, it may be necessary to submit a recommendation letter. This is mostly requested by the consulate from either your bank manager or from your employer.
- Most countries have different required documentation depending on your purpose, be it for vacation travel or if you’ll be residing and working there. In the US, it’s a prerequisite for each immigrant to have a proper visa or what’s commonly known as a Green Card. J1’s or a Student Visa are required for foreign college students that are visiting or working for a short time. B1’s or a Business Visa are necessary for those who would like to travel to the U.S. for a short duration for business-related purposes or for those specialized in a certain field. Other countries will have their own rules. Study them before you move.
Other papers you may need are:
- Marriage contracts or certificates,
- Divorce papers,
- Medical records,
- Birth certificates.
Make sure you have an updated passport. You wouldn’t want to encounter the hassle of finding an expired passport on the day of your flight. The Department of State is in charge of issuing passports, but these can also get one from the County Council or at the Post Office. You can also pick up an application form through the American Automobile Association.
These are the requirements needed for a passport application:
- 2 identical photos;
- A picture ID (i.e. Valid Driver’s license or State ID cards);
- A Certificate of Naturalization or passport;
- The processing fee;
- A written application.
You may also send your passport application by post office. It normally takes at least 3 weeks for the new passport to arrive. A personal Appearance or application is necessary if:
- It is your first time getting a passport;
- It has been 12 years since your last passport was released;
- If the passport was stolen or lost;
- You wish to get a passport when you are under 18 years old.
If your passport was either stolen or lost while abroad, you need to communicate with the local US embassy within the country you’re in.
Never pack your passport, driver’s license, airline tickets, or checkbooks. Keep these possessions accessible, so you may easily grab them when necessary.
You may need to get an international certification, or the country you’ll be moving to may want you to get a driver’s license. You can get your international driving permit from your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) who issues license certifications and is presently available in 9 languages.
Your US Driver’s license can be used in some countries that honor it, while other countries will require you to get a locally issued license. You are likely to undergo several tests, like a driving test, an eye examination, and a written examination.
Conduct some research as soon as you arrive at your destination. You’ll need to know whether they will allow you to use your international driving permit or your current driver’s license. Most countries will honor your current country’s driving license for a specific period of time, but each country has a different grace period for this process.
Most of us want to take our vehicles with us even when we relocate abroad. You have to cautiously think about this decision. Some of the things you may want to consider are:
- There are countries where vehicles drive on the road’s left side. The car’s steering wheel is placed on it’s left side too. Will your current vehicle be comfortable and allowed in your destination area?
- Who will shoulder the shipping cost? Are you willing to spend your own money or will your company pay the cost?
- Will it be cheaper to buy a new car rather than importing your current vehicle?
- What will be the taxes and fees associated with importing your car in your destination country?
Mobile Phones, Electronic Devices, and Internet Service
Here are some things you may want to consider before you begin packing for your move:
- Do you know the standard Plug configurations and electrical voltage in your new country?
- Are voltage adaptors an option, and do you have to install one on your PC?
- Will your phone plug fit into the jack of your new house?
- Can you use your phone abroad?
- Is your mobile phone properly configured for international use?
- Will your modem work in your destination country?
- Who will be your local Internet service provider?
Things You Should Take on an International Move
What to Wear: When moving to a different country, clothes are one of the factors you must consider. Find time to check the type of clothes you should bring before you leave. See the weather forecast on the country’s website to check which ones you should wear.
If you chose a tropical country like Thailand, you may want to bring shirts, short pants, and sandals. However, if you are moving to New Zealand, you must bring lots of clothes for the cold season.
Personal Care: Deodorants, bath items and other personal care items are less expensive if you are coming from the United States of America. It is practical to bring these items with you when moving to a different country. In addition, if you are under medication or taking supplements, it is recommended to bring a few bottles to save money.
Valuable Items: Photographs, movies, and mp3 players are very important items which you need to bring with you when travelling. These items will come in handy and remove stress as well.
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You may save some of your files separately if you would like to save space when bringing a laptop. Connecting with friends and family members on a regular basis through social media can cure boredom. Fortunately, communicating with your loved ones is now easy and accessible as long as you have an internet connection and a device (whether a laptop or a cellphone).
Certificates, Passports, and other Important IDs: These are the most important documents you need to hand carry. Inspect your carry-on bag before you leave. All other things, like credit cards, the identification card, cash, and contact numbers should be stored in a bag for safekeeping. Items like these should be easily located when inside the airport to prevent any hassles when you need to present them.
Unnecessary Chargers and Other Devices: The compatibility of a charger to an electric outlet should be researched first before you move. Some countries do not have the same outlet. Therefore you must check, so your items don’t go to waste. In addition, some cellular phones also have compatibility issues in certain countries. You may want to leave it to a loved one and simply get a new device as soon as you get there.
Consider bringing fewer items when relocating because it will cost more. Ask for a favor from your loved ones to take care of the belongings you are leaving behind.
Adjusting to a new Lifestyle When Moving Abroad
Relocating within your country is not easy, but it takes a lot more effort when moving to a different country. For example, language may come as a primary concern. The following information will help you get through any barriers you may face and become more flexible when starting to live in a new location:
Communication is the Key: Understanding the way your destination country communicates will provide you with a huge advantage when moving abroad. Before leaving your home country, you can access the internet to learn a few simple words. Speaking their language will make the locals feel as if you are becoming one of their own and embracing their culture. Being able to connect with your new community will open a lot of opportunities. It will help you establish strong relationships and become a part of the group.
Visit the Embassy: Whenever you have some spare time, you may talk with your countrymen from the embassy. There is warmth and the feeling you are at home when you get to speak the same language, share jokes and the same culture.
Pay them a visit whenever you have time. They will appreciate this simple effort. Living outside your country is still possible by creating a small world in your new location.
Be Flexible: Gathering information on the area’s culture has a huge impact. This is going to help you understand why they have certain practices you do not observe in your home country. In France for example, people love to savor their food, their drinks, and their time with friends, so do not expect fast service when in restaurants or cafes.
You may be used to the American way of grabbing your coffee or lunch on the go, but that’s not at all the case in France. Just like Americans, French people love their cup of coffee, but rarely, if not never, will you see someone buying it to go.
More than enjoying their drinks, they love the social aspect of dining in cafes and restaurants. This is one of the examples of how they treat people in France. It is entirely different when you go to Southeast Asian countries or to the United States of America. At the end of the day, respect is expected, particularly if you are moving from a different country.
Going to Your Destination Country
It is going to be a busy day as soon as you reach your new location. When the moving company has completed their duties, it’s about time to unpack your belongings. Adjusting to the new community does not come easy as you may expect.
There are a few things to remember when moving to a different country to lessen the potential issues you may face during this period. Here they are in no particular order:
Know Your Location: Getting a map is the first thing you need to do when you arrive. You may print a copy of it online or purchase it at a store. Drive around the area so you can easily find schools, malls, pharmacies and other establishments. There are no specific details on how you can easily adapt to the changes, but seeing the area is a great start, so you’ll know where to go in due time.
Get to Know the People in Your Community: Meeting up with the people in your new society should be included in your agenda. Organize a meet and greet event, so it will be easy for them to identify you as their new neighbor. If they speak different languages, ask help from someone who can translate on your behalf.
Enroll in a language class when you move, particularly if you will be residing there for a long time. Learn to speak their basic language to prove you are doing your part to be one of them.
Build Social Connections: Updating your location using social media network sites is going to open invites from different points of interest within the area. It will provide you with options regarding where to go and what to do, as well as places you may want to explore. Once you have visited these recommended places, you can bring your loved ones too for a family trip.
Take a Trip within the Area: To keep it simple, get a tour travel package. If you are joining tourists, a guide will provide you with a brochure to let you know of the spots you may want to visit. You will also save time by spending only a few hours to get to these areas. However, if you want to check these spots by yourself, use the brochures provided for your convenience.
Online Directory: The government has an online listing of the phone numbers and addresses of helpline numbers, health care institutions, law authorities, the fire brigade, etc. Adding this information to your contacts is an important form of security, so you’ll know who to call when you have an emergency. It is recommended to save these details on your mobile device and to keep a hard copy at home as well.
Organizing the Place When You Move In
Getting ready to relocate is going to require extra time and effort. Be sure to schedule the dates for packing and organizing your belongings to save time. If you want to avoid extra charges, you can personally pack your items or get help from moving experts to do the job for you.
Relocating to a different country is a life changing event which will affect your lifestyle and way of living. You will need to clean your home as soon as possible. When the moving company comes with the rest of your belongings, you will be spending long hours unpacking and arranging them. It’s going to be an easier task for everyone if the home is clean and you have a solid plan on where you want everything.
Scrutinize the Place First: Inspecting the home you are about to lease or purchase is a vital step to prevent mishaps and the need for home repairs. If you are planning on buying or renting a foreign property, you may not be able to check it out personally, but you can ask for photos of the property’s present condition to check for any leaks or stains within the area.
No one wants to move into a property that needs home repairs. Everything should be working properly since you are paying for it. Having a clear idea of how it looks will be a solid basis in deciding if you are to move in or not.
Home Improvements: Prior to settling in, it is recommended you make all the necessary repairs and remodeling to the home, so you’ll avoid any unnecessary hassle and stressful little details, such as changing the wallpaper in the living room with unpacked boxes lying around.
Spruce Up and Polish: One important aspect of moving is making sure the critical areas of the home (bathrooms, kitchen, children’s rooms) are washed, sanitized, and organized ahead of time, especially if you have toddlers or seniors in the family.
Get Connected: Installing your WI-FI and phone networks before the big move is crucial, so take time to locate the available service providers and decide which is best to subscribe to. Getting connected is also vital in getting valuable information about new schools for the children. You may even discover some interesting restaurants or places to visit as you ease your way into the heart of your new neighborhood.
With the joy and excitement of settling down to a new abode comes the burden of going through all the paper-wrapped and overflowing crates of clothes, books, kitchen utensils, toys, etc.
All that work may stress everyone. It is also very time consuming. So, make sure to divide the labor and designate specific tasks to each family member to make things easier.
Things to take note of regarding healthcare:
- Before moving abroad, visit your physician for a check-up. Ask if there is a need for any treatment or medication to make sure you are physically fit when you travel.
- Contact your healthcare provider as long as it’s accepted worldwide, otherwise switch to a different healthcare provider.
- Verify if the same medicines or supplements are available in the new country to make sure you do not run out of your supply.
- Keep an extra supply of medicines to get by for a few weeks or a month while you are looking for a new physician to ask for a consultation.
- Search for the nearest health care institution in your area. Check if it has English speaking attendants or physicians. There are countries which use only their native language. This can be detrimental if you have a serious illness and need immediate attention.
Leasing Versus Purchasing a Property
When moving to a different country, it is critical to decide whether purchasing or leasing will be most beneficial. If you have decided to lease or buy a property, here are some tips you may want to consider:
- Schedule an appointment to search for properties and wisely choose the location according to your allotted cost, size, and proximity.
- Contact a real estate broker online to help you in purchasing a property outside your country.
- Get a copy of the broadsheet to locate brokers and get their contact details.
- If you have loved ones and relatives abroad, ask for recommendations.
- Get referrals from your human resources representative to meet a broker which can help you find a home in your preferred area.
Note: To rent a property is one way to save money, particularly when you will not stay in that country for long. Some prefer to lease a property first to experience the community before deciding to buy one.
Preparing your Children for the Move
If you are bringing your kids with you to a different country, be ready to have a discussion with them. Generally, children are flexible to changes like the weather, different cuisines, culture, community and a whole lot more.
However, there are concerns you should address and your approach should depend on the age level. In most cases, teenagers may face the most challenging phase in their lives, since they find it hard to establish friendships, and when they do, it is not easy for them to let go.
Preparing your children for the relocation ahead of time is a great way to start answering their concerns. Remind them of the reasons why there is a need to move abroad and why they have no choice but to accept it. At this time, understanding your kids’ point of view takes some time, but if you are patient enough, it will be better later on. There are other issues like the moving process to take note of, but never ignore your children. This may cause delays and problems later on.
Some kids demand they have a role in making decisions when relocating. Acknowledge their ideas and let them feel they are giving you good opinions. Other children are hesitant to relocate because they are clueless about what it’s like to move to a different country. Speak to them about it.
One of the hardest part for children is leaving their friends. Let your kids communicate with them even if they are thousands of miles apart. Ask them to chat through social media. As long as they have internet, tell them to call or send messages regularly whenever they miss their friends.
Choosing an educational institution which offers an excellent program of study should be a priority when moving with your kids. Some institutions are known for having high standards of education, so most foreign nationals prefer to send their kids to these institutions. However, a nearby school may also be a good choice for practical reasons.
A local school is an ideal institution for beginners. Most children learn quickly, particularly different languages if they are exposed to them at an early age.
Get as much information as you can before you choose a school for your children. Some offer a different curriculum and may not have the best standards in terms of education. Choose the best and most practical school within your budget and expectations.
Establishing connections in your destination country while you’re still in the old one for a smoother process. If you have successfully gained friends through social networking, getting help is not going to be an issue.
Some concerns which involve your kids when relocating are overwhelming at first. However, if you are to look at the bigger picture, it is not as hard as your adjustment when moving. Children usually find it easier to adapt to a new community, speak a new language and gain new friends. You just need to prepare and guide them, so when you relocate, they learn from this experience and most importantly, have fun.
Traveling with Your Pet
If you decide to bring your dog with you on the big move, make sure to take care of all the necessary prerequisites of relocating with a small animal. These may include determining the cost and the process of sequestration associated with transport. In most cases, their transit should be booked earlier than your exact travel date.
Get immunized. Mandatory conditions attesting to your pet’s physical well-being exist to ensure everyone is safe from contagious and/or preventable diseases as we travel from one place to another. It is imperative to adhere to these standards to avoid being denied passage to another country, for instance, because your pet is suspected of having an infectious illness. Consider bringing pertinent documents for everyone going with you – children, pets, relatives, etc. These documents should include testimonies from competent professionals, such as your physician or veterinarian.
Want to Leave your Pet Behind? How to do it
Finding new employment or a new life in a faraway country comes with the dilemma of whether to bring your dog or cat along with you or to set them up for temporary living arrangements while you’re gone. There are long-distance travel expenses that need to be considered as well. Leaving them behind can be heartbreaking, but you can take comfort in knowing there are several ways to find safe homes for them after you’ve left – either temporary or permanent.
Neighbors: If you’re traveling indefinitely and are unsettled by the idea of a stranger watching over your dog, consider setting it up with a trusted next-door acquaintance. Most people are amenable to the idea, especially if they are animal lovers themselves or simply do not mind taking care of a puppy or kitten for a few weeks. It makes for good neighborly relations, and your pet will not get stressed out in an unfamiliar environment.
Relatives: If you do not have any neighbors you can trust, next you should speak to a close friend, or to a reliable family member who lives close by. Just make sure they are within acceptable distances and don’t require a long drive outside town, as that defeats the purpose of an effortless going-away travel plan.
Consider Charity: Letting go of beloved creatures need not have a sad ending; entrusting them to educational institutions can be a noble idea. Take time to coordinate with animal conservatories or with charitable foundations involved in such work. These organizations provide children invaluable lessons of love and have a deep regard for all living beings. They also serve as a common refuge for animals in need of new homes. Being exposed and encouraged to attend to small animals has an immense impact on kids and helps stimulate a desire to better understand and care for the world.
Finding a Foster Home: Whether donating to an animal nursery, to a preschool, or to a home for orphans, giving away your pet to someone struggling to find affection and hope is indicative not only of a kind heart, but of an awareness of a shared humanity. We’ve all been touched by stories of emotionally devastated people saved by the unconditional love of their pets. Perhaps your pet dog/cat can help someone too. You never know how many lives it can change.
Animal Shop: If after a careful analysis of the aforementioned suggestions, you’ve concluded that selling is the most reasonable choice, then you might as well go to the nearest animal shop to arrange for a sale prior to your move.