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Top 7 Things to Do Before Relocating Overseas

Many people will agree that relocating overseas is a tricky and challenging undertaking. There are plans to create, decisions to make, checklists to keep track of, and many other things to consider. The added stress of preparing and planning an overseas relocation along with your day-to-day commitments and work can start to feel overwhelming. You may even begin to wonder, ‘Where do I even start with an overseas relocation?’. Well, not to worry – we have put together guidelines for relocating overseas including 7 important things you should do when preparing for your relocation overseas.

Learn about your destination country

Relocating overseas can be exciting but also an anxious experience. Take some time to learn about the customs and culture of your destination country. This will make it easier for you to adapt and embrace the way of life in the new country.

  • If you are moving to a foreign country, consider learning the language in advance. Find a language study group or tutor in your area to become familiar with communicating in the foreign language. Create a cheat-sheet containing commonly used basic and important phrases so you can be well-prepared for communicating in your new home country.
  • Research about the culture and customs of your new destination country. Be open-minded and make an effort to understand the country’s customs as this will help you to settle into your new home country quicker, as well as help you to make new friends much faster.

Determine what to ship and what to leave for your overseas relocation

Being strategic in determining what items to ship and what items to leave behind can make your overseas relocation more cost efficient and save a lot of hassle later in the process.

  • Consider using air freight transport for essential items that you will need immediately after arriving at your destination country.
  • Consider storing some of your household goods while abroad as it may be a more cost effective solution than shipping an entire household. For example, if you anticipate your relocation overseas will be a year or shorter, and you are alone, minimal packing and shipping may be sufficient; consider weighing the cost of shipping furniture vs. buying furniture at your destination country; electronics that are not compatible should be left behind.
  • Valuable items and important documents (e.g., visas and passports) should be personally carried with you on your trip.
  • Once you have determined what household goods you want to include in your shipment, contact us for a detailed estimate of the costs associated with an overseas relocation.

Obtain a moving valuation

Once you have determined what you will be shipping overseas, consider obtaining a moving valuation by calculating the replacement cost of your items overseas. National Van Lines’ international moving service includes basic valuation coverage; however, it is highly recommended that you secure our Extended Protection Program for extra coverage and protection to help provide peace of mind during your overseas relocation.

Gather custom information

Every country will have different legal requirements, restrictions and procedures for relocating to their country. Being well-prepared will help you to avoid any nasty surprises when you arrive at your destination country.

  • Depending on your target destination country, there could be restrictions on what you can and cannot import. Your National Van Lines move coordinator can provide this information as well as assist you with any standard custom clearance fees and port fees at the destination entrance port, which you may be responsible for.
  • If you are relocating overseas with children and want them to attend international/American school, contact the U.S. embassy of your destination country for a list of schools that follow the traditional U.S. curriculum and deliver classes in English.
  • Contact the U.S. embassy as soon as possible after arriving in your destination country to get assistance in local registration and any other official procedures.

Get your paperwork in order

Organizing the proper documents for your relocation overseas in advance will help you save valuable time during your overseas relocation process. We suggest getting in touch with the consulate at your destination country to find out what documents and permits are required to allow your immigration to the country.

For most people who are relocating overseas, important documents will include:

  • Passport. If you need to apply or renew your passport, obtain a passport application from your local post office.
  • Custom forms.
  • Work permit. If you are relocating overseas for work, ask your National Van Lines move coordinator to help you obtain a work permit before you leave the U.S.
  • Driver license. If you want to drive in your new home country, ensure your U.S. driver license is up-to-date so that you can apply for an International Driver’s Permit or an in-country driver license.
  • Medical and dental records. This may include copies of your medical history, immunization records, insurance cards, prescriptions for your medication and disability records.
  • School records and university papers. If you have children, make sure you have the necessary school grade reports and/or school transcripts to verify their educational status for the new school.
  • Financial records. Documents may include bank statements, income tax statements and financial statements (if you own any business). As an American citizen living overseas, you will also need to meet U.S. and foreign tax obligations. To prepare for this, we suggest contacting an international accounting and consulting provider for assistance.

Healthcare considerations

No matter how fit and healthy you are, illness and injury are unpredictable so it is important to ensure you have healthcare arranged for you and your family before relocating overseas.

  • Check if you require any immunizations by contacting the consular representative of your destination country or the U.S. Public Health Service Quarantine Division. If you have children, they may also be required to have certain immunizations before enrolling in school.
  • If you require medication, check that they are legal and can be obtained in your destination country.
  • Consider securing international private medical insurance to cover you and your family while living overseas, to provide you with extra peace of mind.

Top 7 Things to Do Before Relocating Overseas

Here is a quick recap of the top 7 things to do when relocating overseas:

  • Learn about the country that you will be relocating to. Learn the language and understand the culture to help make your transition to the new country smoother and easier.
  • Determine what you will bring and leave behind. Take some time to decide on which household items you will ship and leave behind to help reduce your cost of moving overseas.
  • Get a moving valuation. Obtaining extra coverage and protection will provide peace of mind and save you a lot of hassle if there are any unexpected damages or lost to your household items during your relocation overseas.
  • Research and gather custom information. Being well-prepared and understanding the legal requirements and procedures will help you to avoid any nasty surprises when you arrive at your destination country.
  • Prepare and organize paperwork in advance. This includes passports, custom forms, drivers license, medical records and any other important documents that you will need for your overseas relocation.
  • Organize healthcare for you and your family. Don’t forget to think about you and your family’s health when relocating overseas. Research about immunization requirements, medication availability in the destination country, and medical insurance.
  • Relax and enjoy! Relocating overseas comes with some stress but try not to let it dampen your excitement of the new adventure that you are about to embark on. Organize your checklist into manageable parts and you will be ready for departure day before you know it.

Need more help with your overseas relocation planning? Use our checklist for moving overseas to help you keep track of all the important tasks and contact us for a free estimate.

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