Moving homes is said to be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. When you’re moving to a different country, that stress can increase. But there’s a lot you can do to help make your international move as stress-free as possible.
Of course, choosing the best moving company for your move is key to a successful relocation, no matter where you’re going. We’ve taken a look beyond the physical move, and here are our top 10 tips (broken out into a two-part blog post) for a successful international relocation.
Do your research and avoid costly commitments
Whether you’re moving on your own, to join your family, or are being relocated by your employer, research the area you’ll soon be calling home to avoid costly mistakes. If you don’t have a relocation agent, do as much research as possible online and by talking to people already living in your new city or area, preferably other expats.
Try and get as much information you can about the local areas you’re considering, and if possible, visit the area before you move.
If you’ve got children, don’t forget to investigate schools, play groups and access to other activities that are important for a family.
Utilize expat forums and communities online as much as possible; you’ll get a good flavor of life in your new country and priceless advice—and perhaps make some friends before you even arrive. Keep in mind that expat forums are also places where people feel safe to talk about their homesickness, or what they don’t like about their new home, so take negative comments or sentiments with a grain of salt.
Even after your research, it may be best to first rent and live somewhere on a short-term basis; this puts you in a better position to move into a home that suits your needs once you’ve decided you’re happy with the area/culture.
Make sure your visas and residence permits are in order
No matter how straightforward your situation is, unless you’re a citizen of the country you’re moving to, you’ll probably need to arrange for visas, work permits and residence permits. Without these, you won’t be able to open a bank account, register your children for school, etc.
Visa and permit requirements and processing vary with every country. Document requirements may take some time to file, especially if you need to present original documents with your application. Processing times also vary considerably. Be sure to understand well in advance what you’ll need to provide, and how long the processing will take.
Keep in mind that European and Swiss citizens may require residence and work permits in some European countries, so be sure you know what’s required of you before you arrive.
You’ll need to have your permits and visas arranged before your belongings can be transported to your new country, as they’re required for customs clearance into your new country.
Prepare well in advance for moving your pets
Perhaps even before you arrange your own visa and permits, you should be starting on the paperwork and any vaccinations required for your pets in your new country. If you’re required to place your pet in quarantine, be sure to investigate the quarantine options, and try to talk to people who’ve brought their pets into the country. If you’re moving overseas, you may want to consider a professional pet transport company to pave the path for the furry members of your family.
Keep in mind that in some locations, finding a pet-friendly rental home or apartment may be difficult. Try to make as many connections via friends or family already there, expat forums and communities and/or your employer to help you find the right home for you and your pet.
Think about health care
This is often the last thing expats think about when they’re planning a move abroad. Find out what the requirements are for insurance in your new country. Even if there are no requirements, it is never a good idea to be without health insurance, regardless of your age.
Don’t forget to obtain records from your doctor about any conditions you may have or medications you’re taking. It will make it easier for your new doctor to treat you if you’ve brought your medical records with you.