Your Ultimate Moving Overseas Checklist
Starting a new life abroad is an exciting prospect, whether you’re moving overseas as a migrant, student or expat. However, moving out of Australia to live somewhere else can be daunting, especially if you’re unprepared. This is why planning for your overseas move months ahead makes complete sense.
Not sure how and where to start?
➜ Download our printable International Moving Checklist
With this ultimate moving overseas checklist, you’ll be able to break down huge, seemingly troublesome tasks into actionable, manageable steps.
General Things to Remember When Moving Overseas
Knowing that you have a million things to remember and attend to, it’s crucial to have a moving overseas checklist, including general items you need to take note of.
Initially, your checklist before moving out must include the following:
1. Think about what to do with your home
If you’re renting your home in Australia, this step wouldn’t be time-consuming and all you need to do is give your landlord notice in writing.
But if you own your home, you have to decide early on whether you want to sell, rent or lease it out. Ideally, you should make this decision the moment your papers are complete and everything about your overseas move is finalised.
Speak to your real estate agent if you plan to sell or hire a property manager to rent or lease out your property. You may also need to cancel subscriptions and home deliveries, and arrange for mail forwarding.
2. Consider what to do with your possessions
For sure, you might want to take some of your personal belongings during your move abroad. But if your employer has arranged for your new residence or if your move is temporary, there’s no need to spend huge sums of money packing and moving all your stuff.
You’ll have to find suitable storage facilities for your belongings. With everything under lock and key, you know your possessions are safe and that you can access them as needed.
Even if you’re not taking everything with you, you’ll still have to plan for the packing and storage of your possessions. It’s best to do this several weeks before your flight.
- Use this time to declutter and get rid of what you don’t need. Instruct your family members to pack only what’s necessary. Inspect the things your kids plan to bring with them so that they take only essential items.
- Do you have a car? Now’s a good time to decide about selling your vehicle or arranging for its transport overseas.
- Consider if you have certain possessions you’re willing to part ways with through a garage or online sale. This is an excellent method to declutter or cut down on the stuff you own, whilst also raising funds you can add to your moving budget.
- Arrange for your pets or plants; you may give them away to relatives, friends or even neighbours who will care for them.
3. Orient your family about your move
If you’re moving overseas with your family, it’s important to let them, especially the kids, know about the changes that are coming. Encourage your kids to ask questions and look up the country you’re moving to. Talk to them about school options there and what they should expect during your move.
It’s highly likely that by this time, all your medical exams are finished as medical records are prerequisites in some countries. Make sure you check with your physician about the availability of certain medicines that you or a family member is taking in your host country.
Ask for alternatives and prescriptions you can present when you go abroad. Prepare a family and pet first-aid kit that’ll surely come in handy when you travel.
4. Ask each family member to make their personal checklists
While creating a general moving-to-a-foreign-country checklist is an important preparatory requirement for your overseas relocation project, everyone in the family should also have their individual checklists.
Let everyone make an audit of their belongings to ensure nothing of value (literal and figurative) is left behind during the move.
Other Things to Do Before the Move
Aside from more general tasks, your checklist for moving overseas from Australia should ideally include a general time frame and the expected actions to be taken within a specific schedule.
About three months prior to your overseas move, make sure you’re able to tick off the following from your checklist for leaving Australia permanently:
5. Get to Know Your Host Country
Part of what makes moving abroad intimidating is not knowing exactly what to expect. And, depending on where you’re going, you might need to prepare yourself for some level of culture shock when you get there. You also have to familiarise yourself with the rules and requirements you have to abide by.
Research about the local culture
Learn about your host country before you travel. If you’re moving overseas because of a job, ensure your employer has arranged for your orientation visit, as well as any cultural and language training prior to your move.
Make it your goal to know more about the following on your own:
- Local customs and traditions, dress codes, food options, religious practices, etc.
- Availability of key services and facilities in the community you’re moving to, such as healthcare facilities (pharmacies, hospitals and clinics), convenience retail (supermarkets, shopping centres), schools, banks, day care or nurseries, etc.
- Housing options if you have the freedom to choose your type of residence
- You can also check the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website for security status updates on your host country.
Prepare all required documents
Gathering all required or additional documentation can be overwhelming as you prepare for your move abroad. But by using this relocating overseas checklist, meeting legal requirements in your host country and prepping yourself to ease into the transition of moving overseas could be relatively pain-free.
Laws and rules differ between countries, so keep track of specific documents you need to provide the embassy or consulate of the country you’ll be relocating to. Certain documents you’re likely required to submit include:
- Passport copies
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Visas, permits and clearances
- Academic records
- Driver’s licence
- Insurance, wills, tax, banking and financial documents
- Vaccination records of all family members and medical prescriptions
- Vaccination and quarantine documents for pets
All travel-related documents need to be filed months or even a year or more ahead, and you’ll do well to get the necessary approvals first before planning your move. Take note of any documents that are near their expiration date and get those sorted out well in advance, too.
Use this time to get an international driving permit and renew your driver’s licence (especially if it is expiring soon). Doing so will ensure you can drive in your host country while sorting out local driving licence requirements.
6. Get quotes from international moving companies
Find a reliable local and international removalist like Relocations WA to arrange for the move of some of your possessions to storage and the rest for overseas. Just ask for a quote and we’ll surely get back to you with a fair, realistic estimate.
Try to do this as early as possible, especially if it is or nearing the peak months to avoid difficulty with scheduling and high prices.
7. Research storage providers if your move is temporary
By this time, you already have a fair idea of how much you’ll need to keep in storage before going abroad. Ask around or get referrals to reliable storage facilities from friends and family.
However, it’s ideal to work with a single service provider who offers both international removals and storage solutions. For this, Relocations WA is the perfect candidate as we’ve built an enviable track record of providing overseas removals services, as well as removal storage that is safe and secure.
Give a duplicate of your key to the storage facility to an authorised family member or friend, so they can retrieve items you might need in the future.
8. Organise overseas pet transport
In case you have pets and have no plans of getting them adopted, one of the most crucial tips for moving overseas is checking pet quarantine requirements in your host country.
Of course, you need to ensure all your pets are microchipped and have their pet passports in order. You must also keep copies of your pets’ vaccination and health records.
If your employer is arranging your flight for you, inform them about your intent to move with your pets, so they can find a suitable carrier and update you on pet travel requirements. Alternatively, a trusted pet transport company will have overseas networks to facilitate the safe and timely transit of your fur babies.
9. Sell belongings that you don’t want to take with you
As mentioned earlier, deciding to sell some of your possessions is a great way to scale down how much you own, especially things that are of little to no use to you.
You can organise a garage or online sale to quickly dispose of the items you’re ready to part ways with, including clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, books, magazines, appliances, electronics, and so on.
Who knows? You might just end up with a successful sale and have more funds for your move.
10. Book flights
You can never book flights too early as its customary for airlines to offer lower ticket prices for early bookings done months ahead of the schedule departure.
So, finalise who’s travelling with you (including your pets) and make travel arrangements ahead of time. Doing this will mean one less major stressor to think about in relation to your move overseas.
One Month Before Moving Overseas Checklist
The next crucial time frame on your moving house spreadsheet is about a month prior to your relocation abroad. This should cover the following:
11. Notify key service providers
When you’re planning to move from Australia to New Zealand, for example, part of your moving checklist should include informing all your service providers of your impending move and change of address.
Your moving-abroad timeline should include schedules of visits to the following people or establishments:
- Accountant, bookkeeper or financial advisor
- Insurance service provider/s
- Superannuation fund provider
- Australian Taxation Office
- The Electoral Commission
- Car registration
- Physicians, family dentist, medical specialists, therapists, veterinarian
- Various utility companies, i.e., electricity, water and internet
- Australia Post
- Local council and other councils in areas where you have investment properties
If possible, arrange for a power of attorney, so you have someone you trust to act on your behalf when you’re already overseas. You should also keep copies of important documents (business, personal, financial, etc.) and entrust these to a family member or your lawyer.
You should also reach out to the Australian Embassy in your soon-to-be overseas home. For example, if you’re moving to the UK, the Australian Embassy there can assist you with other requirements and advise you on what steps to take to ensure your relocation is relatively stress-free.
One Week Before International Relocation Checklist
Next on your moving overseas checklist are the things you need to cover about a week before your scheduled move.
12. Exchange money to foreign currency
Before you bid Australia adieu for your overseas destination, make sure you have some pocket money for your move abroad.
It’s best to be prepared as you may not have quick access to foreign exchange facilities in your host country. So, while you’re still in Australia, buy whatever foreign currency is in use in the country you’re moving to.
Now that it’s time to pack your things in earnest, it’s best to be prepared with everything you need.
Shop for packing materials: boxes of different sizes, packing tape, permanent markers, box cutters, bubble wrap, packing tissue and packing peanuts, etc.
- Organise your belongings into three piles: things to keep, give away or sell, and throw away.
- Pack everything in sturdy boxes, making sure to separate items you’ll be taking with you on your overseas move. Label all boxes accordingly and keep the boxes for items headed overseas in another room.
- If you’re using a moving checklist spreadsheet, make sure you log in the details of every box you pack. You can assign numbers or colour-code the boxes to correspond to a certain category of items. By doing this early on, you’ll have the luxury of time and not rush through the process.
14. Clean your house
Whether you’re planning to sell or rent out your current home, it’s best to leave it clean to ensure it is left in the best condition possible.
But if you’re renting your home, it’s absolutely necessary to clean it first before you leave the place for good as part of your tenancy agreement.
To make things easier for you, Relocations WA also offers professional cleaning services that’ll leave your old home clean and sparkling, so you’ll have peace of mind when you go.
Moving Day Checklist
Finally, it’s moving day!
Wake up early and get ready to say goodbye to your old home and look forward to the next chapter of your life.
15. Call your international movers to check if everything is on time
This is the time to make a quick phone call to your chosen international movers (which could be Relocations WA) – just to make sure they’ll be coming and that there are no hold-ups along the way.
16. Show up at the airport
Check your luggage, passports, tickets and other important documents to ensure you’ve got everything you need to travel from Australia to your destination country stress free.
Arrive at the airport ahead of time so you won’t need to rush through airport checks and get stressed unnecessarily. Once you’ve boarded your plane, sit back and relax.
After Moving Overseas Checklist
Part of your moving overseas checklist should cover tasks you need to prioritise when you arrive in your host country. Expect a bit of jet lag to bog you down. But this will wear off eventually as you get used to your new time zone and surroundings.
After settling into your new home, make time to arrange for the following:
17. Open a bank account
Having a bank account is essential if you’ll be setting up a business or start working right away in your new place overseas.
Again, make sure you have your passport ready and other pertinent documents to enjoy fast, friendly service at the bank and other financial institutions.
18. Check about healthcare and insurance coverage with your employer
Once you’re able to report to work, go over your contract with your employer and ask about the kind of healthcare and insurance coverage you’ll be receiving.
Make sure you ask all nagging questions or discuss unclear items so you’ll have a good start with your new employer.
19. Inquire about your tax obligations
Now that you’ll be living in a foreign country, you also need to be clear about your tax obligations.
Talk to human resources about this and see if there are any possible exemptions you can enjoy, and which documents are necessary to avail of those.
20. Research your transportation options, get a driving licence and a vehicle
If you live far away from your workplace, you’ll have to research your transportation options. Will you be taking public transport, or would it make more sense to hire a car?
Also, check if you need to take a test or get a local driving licence to be able to lease a vehicle. You can also check with your employer if they’ll provide a company car or transportation facility for you.
21. Find a suitable school (or day care facilities) for your children
If you have kids, it’ll be necessary to find a suitable school or day care facility. You can try getting referrals from your colleagues or do your own research online – or you might have already done so back in Australia, so all you need to do now is get your child registered and submit the required documents.
22. Get to know your new neighbourhood
It’s important to take things easy during the first few days or first two weeks of arriving, as you’ll also need time to familiarise yourselves with your new neighbourhood.
Take a walk, ride a bicycle or go for a slow drive around your community. See where key amenities are located, including supermarkets, pharmacies, veterinarians, hospitals and clinics, schools, parks, health and fitness facilities, and retail centres or malls.
This way, should you need anything from these places, you’ll know exactly where to find them.
23. Ask about Australian clubs or expat associations in your area
To avoid feeling homesick (especially if you’re there alone) too much, ask around if there are Aussie clubs or expat associations in the area you’re living in. If you find one or some, schedule a meetup, register or attend a meeting to expand your social network.
Who knows? You might just make new friends or meet old ones there, unexpectedly.
Here’s to a Smooth Overseas Move
Relocating interstate is already challenging, so expect more paperwork and preparations for an overseas move. But with this moving checklist from Australia, you should be able to cover all bases to ensure you enjoy a smooth overseas move.
Remember, time is of the essence, so start as early as possible.
Better yet, speak to international removals experts who can reduce the stress of an overseas move significantly. Call Relocations WA today!
➜ Download our printable International Moving Checklist
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