Moving to a new country can be a daunting task for many reasons. Apart from the language barriers and cultural differences, a lot of other issues need to be resolved before an international move. From abiding by the regulations to finding an international moving company, the procedure and planning can be quite overwhelming. If you don't want anything to go wrong, you must know what to do before moving to another country.
Moving abroad checklist
Here is a checklist to help you keep a track of all major concerns at every step of your planning process for your move overseas.
1. Check your documents and visa requirements
The first thing to do before an international move is to find out what documents you'll need in order to move to another country. These include your certificates (medical and academic), financial records, passports, and most importantly the visa requirements which differ from country to country. Make sure that you book your international flight tickets on time and keep copies of all the important papers with you.
2. Find an international moving company
Moving to another country requires a lot of planning because of the many regulations. Make sure that you do thorough research to find a reliable international moving company for your relocation. For this, you will need to compare at least 3-4 international moving companies and check the reviews given by other customers.
You can ask the international moving company a bunch of important questions as listed below:
Is the company licensed and does it carry the necessary permit?
The best way to ensure the reliability of an international moving company is to check whether it carries the necessary permit to operate. It should be registered as an ISO 9002 certified company and must have positive ratings from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Moreover, the company should be affiliated with the following:
- Fédération International des Déménageurs Internationaux (FIDI)
- Registered International Mover Certification (RIM)
- Overseas Movers Network International (OMNI)
How is the cost of an international move calculated?
To make sure that your international move can be carried out within a fixed budget, ask your company about all the factors that determine the overall cost. Usually, these include the weight of the shipment, distance to be covered, mode of transportation, and the nature of items (specialty or delicate objects).
Clarify as to what will be the charges for packing, transport, and delivery of your belongings. Also, try your best to get a clear idea of the hidden charges associated with the move so there are no surprises at the end. Remember that you have to choose the one that's worth your money, not just the cheapest option.
Does the company provide door-to-door service?
International moving companies usually move belongings from one port to another. However, you can also ask the company about the possibility of a door-to-door move. Although it would be costlier, you would have one less thing to worry about.
What storage options are available?
Some moving companies will give you the option of storing your belongings at an additional cost. Storage is required in cases where you have to move out of your current house and need a place to keep your packed boxes till you move.
What are the insurance coverage options?
Depending on the means of transportation chosen for the international move, the possibility of your belongings getting damaged may vary but can't be completely eliminated. Ask your moving company what kind of insurance options are available and what level of coverage they can provide, especially when you are moving fragile or specialty items.
What paperwork is required before the move?
A reputed and experienced moving company will be aware of the customs regulations. This will save your time in packing items and you can also ask them about the paperwork required in shipping special items. Complying with the regulations will thus prevent your shipment from being fined or even detained hence avoiding the delay in delivery.
3. Ship or sell your car
If you have decided to move overseas, you will have to make sure that your personal vehicle is also taken care of. Either you can ship your vehicle or just sell it before the move. For shipping, you will have to contact an auto transport company and inquire about the procedure to be followed. When shipping your car overseas, you will have to comply with the customs and the Federal Maritime Commission.
4. Resolve residential concerns
Before moving abroad one of the most important things to do is to resolve your residential concerns. If you own a house, you will have to either sell it or rent it to someone. Since it's an international move, chances are that you'll be gone for a long time and hence it's safer to sell it. As far as the destination country is concerned, make sure that you don't rent any place before taking a look at it.
5. Know whom to notify
Amidst the chaos and confusion of moving overseas, there are so many things to do that you may miss out on some very important tasks. To make things easier, you can make a change of address checklist to keep things organized. As per this checklist, you'll need to notify individuals (family, friends, employer) and organizations like banks, United States Postal Service (USPS), utility companies, etc.
6. Healthcare concerns
Taking care of your health is another crucial thing to do before moving abroad. Get a health checkup before flying to your destination to avoid any emergencies in the new country. Besides, Medicare won't cover you when moving outside the USA. So, you need to do research on your health insurance options in the destination country. Also, you may want to consider exploring travel insurance and life insurance plans to ensure complete coverage.
7. Pet moving regulations
If you are moving with a pet, you'll need to be well aware of the entire procedure and comply with the regulations. With proper research and inquiry, you can identify the cheapest way to ship your pet overseas. Apart from this, you may also need to buy a pet carrier and get your pet vaccinated before the international move. Make sure that you have all the necessary documents and gather information regarding moving your pet to the destination, especially if it's an exotic animal.
8. Know what to bring
For obvious reasons, you won't be able to move everything with you on the overseas move. Hence, you'll need to sort out your belongings and decide what to discard, donate, or sell before packing everything up. Also, make sure that you comply with customs regulations and don't carry any prohibited items. Otherwise, you may have to pay unnecessary customs duty or even get detained by the authorities. You can also make a list of your favorite food items and buy them before the move if it's something that isn't available anywhere else.
9. Know your tax obligations
As long as you are a US citizen, you will have to keep paying your taxes. So even if you are moving to another country, it's important to review your tax obligations. Be informed about the provisions and deductions in both the present and new country. Talk to your accountant or a professional and make an informed decision.
10. Currency exchange
Before you move to the host country, make sure that you exchange some of the currency at the local bank. This is because airports usually offer a poor rate of exchange. Moreover, cash is always a good option in situations where your debit/credit card doesn't work.