If you’re preparing to move overseas, this can be an exciting and rewarding time of your life. However, there are several things you need to know to ensure your foreign adventure comes off without negative consequences.
Some of these things you probably already know about. They include forwarding mail, researching schools, and finding some temporary or permanent housing. Here are several other things you should do to make your relocation to a foreign country as stress-free as possible.
Well before you start your trip, you should begin saving money. Any time you make a move, but especially a move to another country, you’ll find that you need more cash on hand than you expected.
There are numerous costs associated with moving overseas. These include, but are not limited to: legal documents associated with the relocation, visas, transferring your belongings, travel, new furniture purchases, and emergency travel back to the US.
Make sure your papers are in order
Moving abroad involves a lot of paperwork. Take the time to make sure that: 1) you know what forms need to completed and 2) all those forms are completed according to the instructions provided with them. You definitely don’t want to experience the stress of getting all the way to a foreign destination only to be told that you’re lacking certain documentation.
You’ll need to fill out passport and visa forms. You’ll need to make copies of virtually every significant document you have signed. You’ll also need copies of legal documents, such as wills, that are in your name.
You’ll need to endure the bureaucratic gymnastics associated with transferring money from one country (and one currency) to another. You’ll need tax documentation for your destination country.
Shipping or storage?
Believe it or not, trying to transfer all of your expensive assets (like furniture and vehicles) to a foreign country can cost you more than buying new ones once you’ve arrived. International shipping costs can be astronomically high.
Make sure you do the necessary calculations so you can be sure which alternative is the most cost-effective. This can be a tedious and time-consuming process, but it’s time well spent if you end up saving thousands of dollars.
Address health concerns
You’re almost certainly going to need evidence of health vaccinations you received when you were a child, and that documentation is not always easy to obtain. It’s possible that you’ll also need additional vaccinations or boosters.
You’re probably going to need new health insurance as well. Most domestic policies don’t cover people when they relocate to a foreign country.
Get your financial house in order
Because inter-country bank clearances can be time-consuming, you should start choosing a bank in your destination country well before your plane takes off. You will probably need some assistance from your local bank, and maybe even the U.S. State Department, to make this happen.
Also, make sure that you have some type of automatic bill-pay service in place to continue payments for recurring bills. Go through your credit cards and determine which ones are usable (without additional fees) in foreign countries. You should also have a conversation with an accountant about your new tax situation.
Finally, you need to decide what you are going to do with your house in the states. Are you going to sell it? Are you going to rent it so that you can get some income out of it? Are you going to remortgage it?
Whichever course of action you choose, it should be settled well before you leave the country.