The Ultimate International Relocation Checklist
Moving is not an easy process, especially if you are moving internationally. It may consist of many, many things to think about, take care of, organize and pay attention to. If you have a supporting partner it will be easier.
But if you don’t want to miss a thing, even the smallest of details, you must prepare a long, thorough checklist that will take care of all relevant tasks you have to complete before, during and after the move.
A concise relocation checklist, which you can print and follow, from the moment you’ve made your decision to after having completed your international relocation.
What’s on this page?
01 | Make Sure You are Allowed to Move There
02 | Contract an International Shipping Company
03 | Get Health Issues in Order
04 | Make Sure You Can Send Your Car
05 | Make Another Trip to Destination
06 | Get a Certificate of Good Citizenship
07 | Get Other Documents Ready
08 | Downsize
09 | Take Care of Your Home
10 | Changing Address? Notify the Institutions
11 | Forget about the Hassle
1. Make Sure You are Allowed to Move There
Are you entitled to live in your destination country? Are you sure?
1.1 You’re a citizen of your destination country
If you are a citizen of your destination country, returning after living in the USA for a few years, you can always move back home. However, if you were married or had children while living here, you may have to jump through a few administrative hoops before you can move.
Almost any country will allow your spouse to move, but that doesn’t mean automatic citizenship. It almost always means permanent residency. However, if you are moving with your spouse, they will probably want to work and enjoy all of the rights your country allows.
The minute you start thinking about moving back, you should start any processes necessary at your country’s consulate. If you had any children born while you lived in the States, you will have to have them recognized. If you were wed, or divorced, or widowed, this will also need to be recorded before you move.
1.2 You’re not a citizen of the destination country.
If you are not a citizen of the country you are moving to, you will need an immigration visa or a long-term residency permit. You should arrange for these right away, as they might include a process that will take several months to complete. If you are retiring, you usually have to already have managed living arrangements as well as the transfer of a minimum amount of funds.
If you are moving hoping to work, some countries will require that you already have a signed employment contract before you are allowed to move there. Other countries require that your future employer initiate the official request for residency.
We can send a container to almost any country in the world. If it is legal to send a container from the USA, then we can do it. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that you are permitted to send it tax-free. Most of the people who move from the list above usually can, but not always. Some countries will require that you get some sort of affidavit that you lived abroad for such and such time first.
If you are planning on setting up a business, for instance, a foreign branch of an American company, you will have to register beforehand.
2. Contract an International Shipping Company
Getting everything you own from one country to another is a complicated task. It takes months. Don’t wait, contact an international shipping company as early as possible. Some clients will require on-site visits from the movers.
Most people prefer to check quotes for service with more than one international shipping company. Booking early will also allow you to plan your relocation better. For many people, cutting down the total transit time for your shipment is a priority. For others, the main priority is minimizing the total cost of your shipment.
Having already relocated thousands of families from the United States to countries all over the world, we know that many people also have intricate schedules that are hard to meet. The earlier we know about your move, the better you will be served.
3. Get Health Issues in Order
Do you know what kind of health services are available to you in the country you are moving to?
While a lot of countries have “comprehensive” health care, you might find that they are very inadequate for our clients’ needs. In many cases, you will have to supplement health care with private insurance. Some countries will only offer coverage after a waiting period of six months or a year, so you will have to purchase comprehensive medical coverage.
If you have any existing health issues, it is prudent to ask your family doctor or the appropriate specialist to prepare a summary of your condition, what has been done until now, and what medications you take now and have taken in the past.
For most countries, English is the common language that all doctors speak, but if you are moving to some countries, consider translating your key medical records. You might want to engage the services of a professional medical translator as you don’t necessarily know all of the correct terminologies.
You will have to translate your immunization records, especially if you have school-aged children. As diseases that were eradicated in the world have reappeared, most countries now require that children be fully immunized before attending school.
We recommend that you also check the CDC travel site to see if there are any additional recommendations for the country you are moving to.
Are you bringing your pet with you? We hope you do. They are an integral part of your family. You will have to check the health requirement for each country, as they vary greatly. The USDA maintains a website with updated information about traveling with pets. Look up your destination country and read the information there carefully.
4. Make Sure You Can Send Your Car
Many people like to move with their cars. If you are moving to Europe, this is an especially good idea. Make sure that you are allowed to bring your car of choice with you. For most countries, cars must be at least six months and owned by you in order to move them. In terms of the best value for you, this could mean that you should buy a new car six months prior to your departure. And yes, they are sticklers and most countries won’t accept 5.5 months.
Read more: International Vehicle Shipping
5. Make Another Trip to Destination
It is highly recommended that you make an additional trip to your destination country to start getting things in order. It is very likely that you will need to register for schools if you have school-aged children.
You definitely need to open a bank account. Having a bank account with your name on it will make transferring money from the USA to your new home much easier. When you get back to the states ask your bank about how you will be able to facilitate transfers from one bank to another. You might even want to consult them before your trip.
Other things that you will need to look into are credit cards (both an American one without international fees and one from your new locality), requirements of the municipality you are moving to, and more. If you have time, it would be prudent to meet with a tax advisor in your target country.
If you haven’t contracted for a place to live yet, set up meetings with real estate agents before you fly there, so you can take advantage of all the time at your disposal while there.
6. Get a Certificate of Good Citizenship
Not every place requires this, but these are easily obtainable and might be requested from potential landlords or employers. You can request these from your local police station or sheriff’s office. They basically state that you are not a criminal or haven’t committed a crime.
7. Get Other Documents Ready
We’ve already mentioned a few documents that are a good idea to have ready. Other things that you should have, and if necessary, translated include certificates of birth or death, marriage or divorce, any diplomas that you have earned, any professional distinctions that you have, school records.
If you are moving with young children, or plan on having children, you will need to have American primary school records with you if you plan on obtaining American citizenship for your children. Consider renewing your American passports before you leave the United States, even if you have a few years before expiration, as it is far easier to accomplish this in the USA than it is in foreign countries.
Also, check with your state’s department of motor vehicles if you are allowed to renew your driver’s license early or not.
Short List of Documents You Need:
- Adoption papers
- Birth certificate
- Child custody papers
- Divorce papers
- Driving licenses
- Marriage certificate
- Social Security cards
- Medical and Dental Records
- Financial records
- Travel documents
Decide what you will be sending to your new home, and what you will leave behind. Things left behind should be disposed of properly. Consider a garage sale, contacting a service like Goodwill, or donating your unwanted things to another charity, or giving them away to friends.
9. Take Care of Your Home
Taking care of the house’s needs before you leave abroad will reduce future stress.
Here are a few things to remember before taking off: disconnect sensitive electronics, arrange for the electricity and gas companies to do what’s necessary, dispose of items that you don’t wish to take with you, defrost your refrigerator and drain all water hoses.
Don’t forget to return books and videos and discontinue internet and television service.
10. Changing Address? Notify the Institutions
First and foremost, you are about to relocate to another country. Changing address and notifying the relevant institutes, service providers and authorities is very important. It goes without saying that notifying your relatives should be your no. 1 priority.
Besides that, notify the post office for mail forwarding, the financial institutions to transfer or close accounts, car insurance, life insurance, health insurance, publications you’re subscribed to, doctors and dentists, your lawyer, and so on and so forth.
11. Forget about the Hassle
You should order packing service from SDC International Shipping. You have enough things to worry about, let us make sure that all of your belongings are professionally packed, protected, disassembled, and loaded onto your shipping container.
Don’t waste your time looking for old boxes, in many cases, this can trigger an expensive manual inspection of your container at the port of entry. Only new cartons should be used, ones specially made for international shipping. There are many advantages of ordering full packing service. Just ask your SDC relocation specialist.