The Wheaton Blog

How Do I Prepare for an International Move?

January 29, 2020 | International Moves

Moving is a big undertaking. There are calls to make, plans to come up with, lists to double-check and… about a thousand other things to juggle. Compound all this stress and work with the fact that you’re moving to a whole new country, and it starts to feel insurmountable! Just moving down the block can feel hard enough; where do you even start with an international move?!

Well… you can start right here. Wheaton has a lot of experience helping coordinate and execute international moves successfully, and we’ve learned a lot about how you can make your big move a success. These are our best tips on how to start logistically, personally, legally and emotionally preparing for a move to another country. Keep all this in mind as you start planning your move, and you’ll already be starting your new life off on the right foot.

What logistical preparations do I need to make?

To make your international move work, you’re going to need to keep your logistics in order. Keep these important things in mind:

  • Create a timeline. An international move is no easy feat. You’re going to need to make a plan and stick to it, or things will get lost in the shuffle. Calculate a budget, develop your timeline and determine schedules before doing anything else. Organizing your move probably won’t be fun, but it will be necessary.
  • Get in touch with an international moving company. This is one of the most important steps. An international move doesn’t involve just you–it involves all your stuff, too. The simple fact of figuring out how you’re getting your stuff from point A to point B is maybe the biggest part of moving prep. You won’t be able to do it all on your own, so find an international moving company that can work with you. They’ll help you with the packing and moving logistics you aren’t already aware of.
  • Figure out what your tax obligations will be. Just because you’re moving overseas doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay US taxes. If you’re a citizen of the United States, you still have to pay taxes even if you don’t live here. Talk to a tax professional about your obligations.
  • Make sure you have insurance covered. Different countries handle healthcare differently. What does your new country do with healthcare? Will you be covered? Are you going to get international private medical coverage?
  • Make sure everyone knows you’re moving. Make sure you notify each of the following parties about your upcoming international move:
    • The postal service
    • Your bank
    • The embassy
    • All the utility companies that provide your services
    • Tax agencies
    • Employers
    • Insurance providers
    • Landlords
    • Any services you have an ongoing transactional relationship with
    • Anyone else you communicate with on a regular basis

What legal preparations do I need to make?

Legal preparations start with knowing where the right paperwork is at all times. It ends with the complicated process of emigration. We don’t have time to walk you through the emigration process today, but we’ll guide you to the right place to look to learn more. Important legal preparations include:

  • Keeping track of all the documentation required for an international move. We recommend having all these items gathered together in a safe space. These are sensitive documents, so storing them in a folder within a small portable safe is your best option. Necessary documents to gather include your:
    • birth certificate
    • passport
    • social security card(s)
    • driver’s license(s)
    • divorce papers
    • adoption papers
    • marriage certificates
    • medical and dental records
    • school records
    • financial records
    • any other insurance or legal documents
  • You’re going to need a visa. Different countries take different amounts of time to process visas, so make sure you research this at the beginning of the process. You can’t move to another country without getting a visa, after all. You don’t want to make all your other plans only to find out you can’t actually finalize them.
  • Don’t forget about your pets. If you have pets, you’ll have to go through the process to have them approved to move as well. Once again, the exact details depend on the country you’re moving to. No matter what, though, you’re probably going to need to be able to prove that your pet is healthy and up to date on immunizations. Who wants to move if they can’t bring their beloved pets along?

What personal preparations do I need to make?

The biggest part of an international move will be the legal and logistical plans you make, but they aren’t the only big adjustments you’ll have to work out. There will be emotional and personal changes to account for as well! You’ll want to:

  • Learn the language. If you’re planning to move to another country, you likely already know some of their language. Get started on fluency early with help from online services like Rosetta Stone or Duolingo. If your local university offers language classes, consider signing up.
  • Research the culture and customs in your new country. It’s a waste to move to another city in another country and not embrace their way of life. Go outside of your comfort zone and explore new things offered to you.
  • Immerse yourself. Once the initial excitement wears off, there’s a high likelihood of finding yourself feeling lonely. You’re in a new place and may lack your usual support system. Ameliorate these feelings of loneliness by immersing yourself in your new home. Meet new people. Try meet-ups, gatherings or local events relating to your interests. Say hi to people. Put yourself out there.
  • Make time for the people you love before you leave. Leaving your loved ones is never easy. Don’t let yourself get so wrapped up in the logistics of your move that you forget to spend time with loved ones before you’re unable.

The final preparation you’ll need to make is to find the right moving company to partner with. Wheaton has years of experience providing people with efficient, effective packing and moving services. Give us a call today to see how we can help you start the process of planning your international move.

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