Moving can be stressful enough – never mind moving to another country. If it is for a job, you might not have all the time you would like to prepare. The relocation checklist below will keep you on task!
1. Obtain A Work Visa
This is the first thing you should have on your radar. That is, if you need it. If you are a dual citizen, you will not need it (maybe that is why the company hired you in the first place). Understand how long you will be able to stay on the visa and how long it will take to get.
2. Understand Your Contract
If there is nothing about the company paying for you to get home, negotiate or reconsider. See what legal avenues you would have in the event the company was acquired, went under or just needed to let you go. Be excited about the opportunity but protect yourself.
3. Find A Place To Live
Moreover, insist on doing it in person. Especially if your travels to the country are limited, take the opportunity to learn about the place you are thinking about living. If you will be in the country without a place to stay for a while (maybe the apartment you picked is not available until next month), set up your hotel for when you arrive.
4. Who Is Paying For What?
Request your company detail what they will pay for and how much they will cover. Will they pay to move your dog? Will they allow funds for household items to set up your new place? Will they subsidize if your children need to attend an international school? Do not make any assumptions.
5. Your Pets
Speaking of moving your pets, it is not as simple as buying a ticket and flying them overseas. Many countries have requirements for quarantines for a certain period of time before moving them. Find out the national laws, and use a company that makes international arrangements for animals.
6. Negotiate Salary
If you are getting shipped from the same company to do the same job, your salary will probably still need an adjustment. Take the cost of living into consideration in negotiating your new salary.
7. Set Up A Bank Account
You will likely be required to go in person to get your bank account but try to do this before your move – maybe on one of your earlier trips to your soon-to-be homeland. Get an understanding of how the employer will pay you and find a local, convenient bank to keep your money.
8. Consider Your Kids
Do you have children who will need schooling? Find out what the options are in your new area, especially for an expat. If you are planning on returning home after a short stint, an international school may be a better bet to keep them on the same track as back at home.
9. Cull Through Your Personal Items
Use second-hand selling apps like Letgo and OfferUp to sell big items you are not taking overseas. Only move what you are going to need or is meaningful to you. You must weigh the cost of transporting items versus acquiring the same item in your new country. Storage facilities back home are always an option if you know you will not be gone for too long.
10. Get Professional Moving Quotes
Your company might have recommendations if they move employees all the time. It is a good idea to get these quotes and decide from there.
11. Will You Drive?
Your stateside driver’s license probably will not be valid in another country. Consider if you will ever need to drive in your new hometown or if other transportation options will be suitable. If you want to be able to drive, set up taking a test for a driver’s license abroad as soon as you arrive (or on a prior trip). If not, sell your car and use the money for mass transit.
12. Research Tax Treaties
Every country has different tax laws, and you need to know what you will have to pay to who and when depending on your situation. Bilateral tax agreements take care of the problem of double taxation when moving between two countries.
13. Join Online Communities
Before moving, find some local associations that you can begin to engage with online – even before you step foot in the new country. You will start building relationships that will not only assist you in the work world but may turn into friendships in a foreign place.
14. Set Up Healthcare
Find out if the prescriptions you take on a regular basis are available in your new country and line up an appointment with a doctor to meet once you settle in. There is nothing more stressful than not having someone to turn to should you need medical attention.
15. Pay All Outstanding Bills
Before you leave, try to pay any unpaid bills or account. However, keep an online bank account for a while so you have a way to pay anything that might come through after you have physically moved.
16. Change Your Address
Be sure you report an address change for any credit cards or other accounts you are keeping through the move. In addition, go to your local post office, request a Mover’s Guide and fill out an international change of address (COA). US Postal Service’s premium forwarding service forwards your mail in one package once a week.
The process of relocating to a different country can be tiring, stressful and strenuous, especially with a long list of things-to-do to complete. However, with enough research and support, this can be an opportunity of a lifetime. Plan ahead to be fully prepared for anything that you may confront during the relocation!