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Moving to a Different Country

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

Migrating from one country to another has been happening for many centuries now. However, globalization and the advancements in technology are making the world a smaller place. It’s easier to connect with one another and people from various nations are consistently in collaboration. International work and study opportunities are also becoming more accessible. As a result, thousands of Americans are packing up their bags to relocate to other countries whether temporarily or permanently. The influx of people moving into the United States is also consistent.

Moving internationally is indeed challenging and it may be hard to say goodbye to your motherland, but with better opportunities elsewhere, it’s a must to buck up and sail ahead.

The next step now is to plan- and plan very carefully.

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What the Process Involves

If you think moving to a new neighbourhood is hard, that’s nothing compared to moving internationally. Not only do you need to plan the logistics of transporting both you and your belongings, you also need to prepare a lot in terms of culture, weather, legalities and yes, your emotions as well. It’s a long and arduous process but given the right preparation, things will easily go as planned and you’ll soon be on your way.

General Preparations for Your International Relocation

To help you get started on this new and exciting chapter of your life, here are some tips that you can follow:

  • Legal documents – Prepare your visa, passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, diplomas, professional certificates, and so on, ahead of time. Keep them in a clearly marked folder or envelope which ideally should be waterproof. Keep these with you at all times.
  • Bank accounts – Find out if your current bank has an international arm and if it’s possible to just transfer your account to a new, local one. If not, make sure to handle you will transfer your funds. The same goes for credit cards, healthcare and insurance policies. Let them know that you will be moving and ask them for their international address changing policies.
  • Debts – Make sure to pay off any outstanding debts whether it be personal debts, credit card debt or mortgages. It would be better to leave the country on a clean slate.
  • Money – Do you have enough cash on hand (USD and the local currency there)? Will your ATM card work there? Is your credit card accepted worldwide? Do you need to prepare traveller’s checks?
  • Work restrictions, licenses and taxes – It might be a good idea to consult your lawyer and/or accountant regarding these work-related matters. If you’re transferring because of work, consult with your company’s HR department. Ask if they will give you a tax shield.
  • Living Will and Testament – Moving to a new country can be risky, especially if you will be leaving your family behind. It’s a good idea to update your will before you leave.
  • Pets – Do you plan on bringing along your pet? Find out if pets will be allowed into that country, and in your new home (apartment, condo or what have you). Make sure to prepare the necessary paperwork.
  • Children – If you will be bringing your kids, you have to prepare their original birth certificates, medical, dental and school records. Do your research about potential schools and give them the necessary vaccinations which could be useful for moving into that country (tropical countries most especially). It’s also important to brief them calmly and explain to them the reasons on why you have to move. Ensure that they won’t be traumatized by the relocation and try to keep it as fun for them as possible.
  • Weather – What are the different seasons in your new country? Does it snow there or is it mostly hot and humid? This will allow you to prepare the necessary clothing and supplies needed for the transfer
  • Culture – It’s a must to study or at least brief yourself with the local language. Find out the words for basic sentences or phrases like “How much?”, “Hello!”, and “Thank you.” It’s also a good idea to study the common practices for good manners and etiquette. Certain gestures or words might mean an entirely different thing in a new country. Do you know the religions there? How do they treat their elders? What are their special laws? (In Singapore for example, chewing bubblegum in public is considered illegal.) To be safe, just make sure to be very respectful at all times and research, research, RESEARCH!

Moving Related Preparations

Here is the tricky part, the moving and transport of your belongings. Check out our tips below:

  • Things to Carry With You – Always keep important items with you. Sensitive documents, work papers, digital storage materials with critical data (external hard drives, thumb drives), jewelry, sentimental heirlooms, gadgets, and other valuables should travel with you personally.
  • Select a Reputable International Moving Company – Choosing a good moving company is vital to the success of your international move. You need an international mover with a good reputation and worldwide presence. Find a company that is financially-stable and with years of experience. You should also look for one that offers door-to-door services, online tracking capabilities, and comprehensive insurance services. Bear in mind that the right moving company will ensure that you’ll have peace of mind during your move. Here are some additional tips for you to remember during moving day:
    • You have to be present when the movers come. Don’t leave the task to somebody else.
    • Don’t hesitate to ask questions. You should also be available for any questions they may have.
    • Double and triple-check the inventory to see if everything is included in this master list. You might not be able to get items you forget. And in any case, international shipping of these items will be costly.
    • Review the delivery details- address, dates, and contact numbers. You don’t want to have your items shipped elsewhere in a country that you’re new to.
    • After signing the inventory, keep a copy and secure it.
  • Decide Which Items Should be Shipped by Air or by Sea – Air shipping is often more expensive but it is the faster option. Shipping via sea transport will definitely take weeks, even months to arrive. The things you need most, the ones you need immediately should be sent by air (work peripherals, urgent necessities, etc.) while the not-so-urgent ones (clothes, toiletries, kitchen items) can be transported by sea cargo.

In the end, it all boils down to one word – PREPARATION. Moving to a new country may be scary and extremely challenging, but if you do your preparations well and arm yourself with knowledge, there is no need to sweat your international move.

Bon voyage!

Written By

Expert Moving Advisor

Ariane is a proficient moving advisor. She has experience in corporate, individual and special relocations, and is well-versed in coordinating moves, packing tips and shipment estimations.
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