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?
With this ultimate moving overseas checklist, you’ll be able to break down huge, seemingly troublesome tasks into actionable, manageable steps.
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.
1. 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, daycare 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.
2. 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.
Inform All Key Service Providers
When you’re planning to move from Western Australia, for example, part of your moving checklist should include informing all your service providers of your impending move.
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.
Review Your Overseas Relocation Checklist
Your checklist before moving out must include the following:
1. 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. 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.
- 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.
- Find a reliable local and international removalist to arrange for the move of some of your possessions to storage and the rest for overseas. 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.
- Do you have a car? Now’s a good time to decide about selling your vehicle or arranging for its transport overseas.
- Arrange for your pets or plants; you may give them away to relatives, friends or even neighbours who will care for them.
- 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.
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.
Priorities Upon Arrival
Part of your moving overseas checklist should cover tasks you need to prioritise when you arrive in your host country. After settling into your new home, make time to arrange for the following:
- Open a bank account
- Check about healthcare and insurance coverage with your employer
- Inquire about your tax obligations
- Research your transportation options, getting a driving licence and a vehicle
- Find a suitable school (or daycare facilities) for your children
- Get to know your new neighbourhood
- Ask about Australian clubs or expat associations in your area
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.
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!
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