There are many reasons for one to move overseas – whether to expatriate after acquiring real estate, seek a new job opportunity, embark on a new adventure, or have a fresh start as a retiree. Whatever it may be, moving abroad is a life-changing event that takes a lot of preparation. 

To ensure your move goes as smoothly and stress-free as possible, look at this checklist we prepared covering all essential notes, considerations, and plans that will guide you to a seamless relocation. 

1. Research the country

The best country for you will depend on your circumstances, needs, and preferences. If you haven’t decided on your destination country yet, the notions you need to consider are the language, culture, and cost of living. 

Other important aspects include job opportunities, the community for incoming foreigners, safety concerns, and even the weather. After learning these aspects, assess your comfort levels and skills to know you’re making the right decision.

2. Acquire the proper documents

Each country has policies and requirements regarding immigrants and ex-pats, and it’s crucial to have the necessary documents on hand to help prove your case on why they should welcome you into their country. You can either do your research on what the country you’re moving into requires or consult with an immigration expert. 

Immigration experts can provide insights and guidelines to help you navigate your destination country’s immigration laws, documentation deadlines, and other crucial requirements. Furthermore, the standard documents and legal records you need for visa requirements include your birth certificate, passport, social security card, and marriage certificate. You’ll also need your university transcript or diploma, police clearance, driver’s license, medical history, health insurance documents, and work permit. For convenience’s sake, have electronic and physical photocopies of these documents. 

3. Apply for a visa

Applying for your visa can be the longest and most critical step of the process. Specific visa requirements vary from country to country, so check the embassy for your destination country’s visa application timelines and deadlines.

You may also look for special visas that your destination country offers. For example, the UAE has a Golden Visa program that awards permanent residency in the form of 10-year renewable visas to applicants who they consider high-value talent and who have contributed to the success and development of the UAE’s economy. Meanwhile in Thailand, their Elite Visa program provides privilege entry and long-stays for the country’s esteemed visitors. It affords a 5-year renewable multiple entry visa with an extendable 1-year length of stay per each entry, along with other benefits.

4. Get your medical certificate

Most countries require medical checks or health certificates for the visa process. Aside from that, it’s also worth talking to your clinic to get a copy of your medical records, doctor prescriptions, and other immunization records. 

It’s also worth considering getting certain shots, even if your destination country does not require the vaccination. Check all the proper vaccinations and immunization shots you need to prevent serious medical emergencies.

5. Decide what to do with your household belongings and other assets

Are you planning to bring your car, some household items, and select furniture to your destination country? Perhaps you’re considering storing or donating them. Whatever you decide will all depend on your needs and current situation.

If you’re bringing your car when you move, consider your destination country’s licensing requirements first. Meanwhile, find moving companies specializing in international relocations and can assist you with proper customs forms for your personal belongings and household items. Laws vary for each country, so it’s critical to research the international moving companies you plan to partner with before committing.

If you have pets and plan to bring them with you, learn about your destination country’s pet import laws. Furthermore, you may want to plan for vaccinations or vet visits that may be required before entering the new country.

6. Arrange your accommodation

Depending on your needs, it might be wise to find a temporary place first, so you have time to settle into the country before making a big commitment. Before buying any real estate, consult with relocation experts to help you find suitable housing and accommodation. 

Professional realtors or real estate lawyers who understand local laws and the real estate market will significantly help you search for your new home in another country. They will assist with identifying a proper location and navigating all the legal requirements and documents necessary before signing a deal. Take Thailand as an example, the country’s land measurements can be difficult to understand if you’re not a local. If you want to own real estate in Thailand, you will need to talk to realtors and other land experts to learn the size of your desired home before making the deal. 

7. Talk to your bank

Ask your bank or trusted financial institution if they have affiliated branches in the country of your choice. However, opening a new account in your new country is also an option. Many banking institutions now have online banking, making it easier to start an account anywhere in the world.

Also, research the best places to get your currency exchanged. You can purchase traveler’s checks, so you always have access to your funds anytime you need them. Don’t forget to notify your credit card company of your upcoming move, so they know that your purchases in another country are authorized.  

8. Notify the right people

Aside from the bank, you will need to update a few organizations or people before you move. Some common ones to consider include utility companies, the social security administration, the postal service, tax agencies, insurance providers, and your landlord or realtor, to name a few.

You may also want to cancel any services and subscriptions you won’t need once you move, such as streaming services and your cable, internet, and phone services. 

Featured Image: Ketut Subiyanto

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