To Do List: Before Your International Move

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Before Your International Move To-Do List

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If you are moving out of the country, you need to be prepared for all of the challenges that an international move brings you. The planning and preparation necessary for a move overseas is quite a bit more involved than a standard domestic move. The legal and logistical hurdles that you must overcome when moving internationally must be considered well ahead of time. Let's take a look at what you should be doing before your international move.

Choose the right destination country

There are several reasons to move to another country. You may have a job opportunity overseas. You could simply want to explore the world. Maybe you want to change your way of life or are sick of your home country's policies and politics. There are many valid reasons to leave your home country, but it is important to also remember that you need reasons to be in a new country.

You should not move internationally unless you have a firm understanding of your destination country. "I just want to not live in my home country," is not a sufficient reason to move anywhere else in the world. Assuming the grass is greener somewhere else without doing some research is a good way to end up making a life-altering bad decision. Here are some things to consider about your target country:
  • What is the political climate?
  • What are the common religions practised there?
  • What are your career/job prospects there?
  • How do the rights of citizens there differ from those in your home country?
  • What is their attitude towards foreigners?
  • What are the cultural differences?
  • Is the area safe from crime or war?
  • How is the weather/environment/location advantageous?
If you consider these questions and a foreign country appears to have an edge over your current country, then it may be a good destination. Be sure to thoroughly research the country instead of just relying on tourist-focused information.

Sell/rent your current home early

If you plan on moving internationally, you're going to need to do something with your old home. You can not easily move back and forth between countries, so you want to be sure that the sale or renting of your old home is set before you move overseas. You do not want to put yourself in a situation where you have to take whatever offer is given to you for your home because you are slated to leave the country next week. Make sure you have a buyer or renter of your property signed and set well before moving day.

Get a passport

You need a passport to travel to almost any other country. If you don't have one, you must get one before you can move to, or even visit, foreign countries. The process of obtaining a passport can take a couple months so it is important to have one well before you plan on moving. You usually just need some identification, a photo, and a small fee to get a passport.

If you already have a passport, make sure it isn't due to expire. Some countries will not accept passports that are too new or too old when giving out visas. Contact your destination country's consulate to ask them about any regulations regarding the age of passports.

Apply for a visa

A visa is a legal certification from a country that allows you to enter it and live there for a time. Specific visas have specific requirements. You must specify the length of time that you plan on living in the country and your reasons for moving there. Specific visa information for a country can be found at their consulate. Ask a lot of questions and make sure you apply for the appropriate visa. 

You need a passport to get a visa. Getting a visa can take some time, but they do expire, as well, so you may want to apply for one just shortly before the move.

Learn the destination country's customs regulations

Once again, it is time to contact the consulate of your destination country. You need to review their customs regulations and see what items are not allowed in the country or will carry duties with their importing. Certain cars, dangerous items, or large objects may be restricted.

Get rid of your extra stuff

Due to customs regulations and the high cost of international shipping, you're going to want to bring as few things with you on your international move as possible. Make an inventory of all of your items and decide which things to leave behind. Have a garage sale. Give things to charity. Leave things in your house for renters or buyers. Give things to friends or family. Do anything you can to lighten your load for international shipping. Keep in mind that even if you get to your new country quickly, your shipment may take much longer to get there.

Find a good international moving company

International moving companies can help immensely with the packing, customs, and shipping processes but you need to be sure you find a trustworthy company. Look for certifications from well respected organizations when screening international moving companies. Ask them about the extent of their services, their experience with your destiny country and their insurance policies. Don't just accept the first estimate you get from the first moving company you talk to. Shop around and get a reliable company for a good price.

Start packing

As moving day approaches, you should start packing your belongings for the international shipment. Extra care is needed when packing for an international move because of turbulent conditions on planes and ships can jostle packages more than normal, and the shipment will likely be packed for a long period of time. Use the best packing materials available.

Hopefully the moving company you hired will help or fully pack your belongings for shipment. Remember to have everything accurately labelled and to keep a complete inventor of your shipment.

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on July 24, 2014 - Moving Expert
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