10 practical tips on planning to move overseas
Relocating (in my case migrating to Australia from UK)
A few years ago, I decided to migrate to Australia from UK (it makes me sound like a bird doesn't it?). I had heard so much about the country eventually I thought 'Why move to Australia?' and the answer seemed to be 'Why not?' I could always come back if it didn't work out so I made a start relocating to Australia.
My first thought (after 'I want to move to Australia!') was 'What do you need to move to Australia?'. My second thought was 'aaagh'. There are a whole boatload of things that you need to do wherever it is you have decided to go.This list will also be useful if you are moving to America or Canada from UK, or indeed from or to anywhere else. There will be slight differences depending on the original country and the final country but the overall list will stay the same.
So, where do you start? The list is seemingly endless but here are just a few pointers to get you up and running.
1) Visas - Firstly, and most importantly, the paperwork. The most important of these is the visa to enable you to stay in the country of your choice. There isn’t much point in booking plane tickets and selling your house if you don’t know whether you can stay in the new country or not. I suppose it goes without saying but make sure your passport is valid too!
2) Quotes - Once you are sure you can get in to the new country, then you can look for quotes for the big things. The first of these will be a quote from shipping or removal companies to transport your belongings. Don’t forget to factor in insurance. Anything could happen to them on their journey so it is essential to include this in your pricing. Then, the next thing to arrange will be your flight tickets. These can vary hugely in cost but the earlier you buy the cheaper they can be.
3) Pets - Next, will you be taking any pets with you? These will need special travel arrangements, vaccinations, even their own passport. Also, potentially there will be quarantine arrangements for a certain period of time when they arrive to ensure they aren’t carrying any nasties.
4) Car - Will you be taking your car with you? If traveling overseas, it is possible to package your car in a shipping container with the rest of your belongings. However, there are still import charges and customs declarations to consider with this option. This is also true if you are driving it to its destination. If you are not worried about taking it, then it is probably worth getting it serviced and advertised for sale. If your driving licence has an address printed on it, then this will need to be changed as it is a legal requirement.
5) Pack - The time has come to declutter. There is nothing worse than arriving fresh in a new country only to unpack things you realize you haven’t used in years and now need to find a cupboard for. Not to mention the cost of getting it to your new country. Look through all your belongings and either sell or give away those things that you genuinely don’t need and haven’t used in years. It also helps to pack away those things you won’t need before you go. It takes the panic out of last minute packing. If you can, organize for your shipping container with your belongings in it to go before you leave home. As these can take a long time, the sooner they leave, the sooner after you arrive you can begin to feel at home.
6) House – This includes where you live at the moment and also where you are going to live when you are in the new country. As far as your current home is concerned, whether you will be letting it or selling it, estate agents need to be contacted so that they can give you an idea of the current rate but also for their fees too. If you are thinking of letting, then some of them will also act as management agents – for a fee of course. It is probably a better idea to rent first while abroad if at all possible. That way, you will get to know the suburbs and find out which one you would like to settle in. As good as the internet is, it is very difficult to get an idea of where to live unless you actually live there.
7) Background - It is also helpful to find out as much about the country you are traveling to as possible. Research on the internet can help this as well as books, particularly those written specifically for new arrivals. There are so many available at the moment, there is sure to be one for your chosen country.
8) Health – Before leaving it is worth checking with your GP to see if there are any vaccination or health requirements for your new country. This includes making sure you have enough medicines with you, particularly if you take some on a long term basis, until you register with a new doctor. (Don’t forget disposable contact lenses if you wear them.) The health check is also useful for your animals if they will be going with you – although I would suggest a vet for them rather than your GP!
9) Services – You will need to make a list of all the services you currently use so that they can be cancelled and a final bill drawn up before you leave. These can include water, gas, electricity, phones (both landline and mobile), broadband, cable/satellite TV, council tax, store and credit cards, rentals, gym membership, insurance, tv licence, vehicle breakdown service, deliveries e.g. milk, newspapers, magazines, the list is endless. It sometimes helps to look at your bank statements as that should list everything you pay for regularly which makes it easier to list what to stop.
10) Addresses – This always turns out to be much longer than you expect as well. As well as family and friends, there are banks/building societies to think of, credit cards, driving licence, Inland Revenue, pensions or any insurances/assurances that you have taken out that will need to know a change of address. The post office can help with this as they will redirect your mail for as long as you want, for a fee.
11) OK, so I said there would be 10 tips, this one though is just to try to relax and enjoy the experience. It can be quite scary to move abroad but just concentrate on being as prepared as you can and on how great it will be when you finally get there. Why do people move abroad? Why do people move to Australia? All I can tell you is I fell in love with the country and have enjoyed it ever since. Emigrating to a different country is not without hardships but personally I think that it is worth giving it a go. You may just enjoy it.
I hope this moving abroad checklist will come in handy and give you a start to all the things that need to be done before you move. If you are thinking of moving, why not have a look at my other hubs on that very subject.