Preparing an International Move – Tips for International Citizens
Preparation is the key to success. If you’re planning to move abroad, knowing what you need to do ahead of time is the best way to make a smooth transition into your new life. So how do you prepare to move to a new country? From securing important documents to shipping your belongings, here’s what you need to know to have a successful international move.
For a Step by Step Guide to Moving Abroad, download the free 20-page checklist.*
*By submitting your email you are agreeing to receive monthly updates for expats, digital nomads, retirees, and more.
Find an International Job
Are you planning to work when you immigrate? Prepare by looking for a job before your big move. In some countries, like Spain, it is easier to find a job when you’re there. In other countries, such as China, it’s best to find a job before you go. Your chosen country might require a work visa or work permit to seek legal employment. Sometimes, the only way to get that visa is to have a job lined up beforehand. Keep in mind that not all countries offer work opportunities in all industries. For example, job opportunities in Europe can differ greatly from those in countries such as jobs in Canada, work in Malaysia, or jobs in Singapore. The professional skills you have may not be in demand in your destination country. Protect your financial interests by doing thorough research on international job boards before you go. Have your heart set on a foreign country that doesn’t have any openings in your field? It’s never too late to make a career change!
Get Your Visa to Move Abroad
Before you do anything else, get your visa. There’s no point in making travel plans if you can’t gain entry into the country. So, your first step is to get the visa you’ll need for your specific circumstances. Every country has different visa requirements for different types of travelers. Do your research to make sure you get the proper visa to live, work, or study abroad. For more information, check out our guide on visas for living abroad.
Find an Apartment Overseas
Don’t wait until you arrive to find a place to stay. Make the necessary preparations beforehand and search apartments and rental properties online. It’s always best to have a place set up before you move to a new country. If you’re not 100% sure of the neighborhood you want to live in, look for a short-term lease. That way, you’ll have a place to stay immediately upon arrival with the option to move again in a few months. That should be more than enough time to settle in, learn more about your new city, and pinpoint a neighborhood in which you want to live. At the very least, book hotel reservations or an Airbnb for your first few nights abroad. A temporary base at a hotel will allow you some time to look for a place to get settled. If you’re moving to a city or a town known for tourism, you shouldn’t have any problem finding an affordable hotel room for a few nights. But, if you’re moving to a more remote place, you may need to book lodging that’s several towns away.
Purchase International Health Insurance
Depending on where you move, you may or may not be eligible for local health insurance. Some countries require you to have insurance before you arrive and some work visas mandate it as well. Before you move you should understand your options for coverage. Review the best international health insurance companies and contact our partner International Citizens Insurance for expert guidance and selecting a plan for your needs.
Find the Best International Insurance
- Compare multiple quotes and coverage options
- Work with an insurance expert at no additional cost
- Find the best plan for your needs and budget
Enroll Your Child in School Abroad
For those of you planning to move abroad with children, it’s essential to research international schools before you go. You may have unfamiliar options, such as enrolling your child in a local public school or in an international school for foreign citizens. Regardless of the type of school your child needs, be prepared to fill out the appropriate applications for admission. Before doing so, gather all the necessary documents, including current school transcripts.
Set up an International Bank Account
Setting up an international bank account is the safest way to ensure you have access to savings and credit accounts when you immigrate. Choose a large international bank so that you have access to your money in different countries, especially if you plan to travel. If you already have your money in an international bank, you may think you’ve already got this covered. But there’s one main thing to keep in mind: foreign transaction fees. Your current bank in your home country may already allow for international access to your money. But will they charge you fees for international withdrawals or international credit card charges? Check with your bank to see if you have to pay extra for international access – those fees can add up fast!
Pack and Ship What You Need for Moving Abroad
When it comes time to pack, think long and hard about what you actually need to take with you. Separate your belongings into three categories: store, ship, and trash. The less you can take with you, the easier (and less expensive) the physical move will be. It can be difficult deciding what to take with you, but it all depends on how long you plan to stay. If you have every intention of living abroad forever, then, by all means, pack and ship everything important to you. However, if you think you might only stay abroad for six months or a year, it may be best to keep most of your belongings in storage in your hometown. If you do decide to store items in your home city, leave the key to your storage facility with a family member or a friend. That way, you can always ask them to ship items to you if need be. The next step, before you tape and seal your boxes, is to consult our packing checklist to make sure you didn’t miss anything! Moving abroad doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you know what to do. By preparing well beforehand, the move to your new home can be much easier than you think. Some of the most important things to do are:
- Secure the appropriate visa
- Find an apartment or a house to rent
- If you plan to work abroad, prepare before you move
- Enroll your child in school
- Set up an international bank account
- Decide what you’re going to pack, then ship your essentials overseas
Free Quotes for an International Move
- Get quotes from up to 5 moving companies
- Save up to 40% on your moving costs
- Find the best rates all at once!
To fully prepare yourself for an international move, check out our move abroad checklist for a comprehensive list of what to do before you go.