Moving Overseas – Preparing for your Move

Moving Overseas LogoIn this series, Moving Overseas, I will share my experiences living and working overseas, sharing the lessons I’ve learnt to make your move less stressful.

You found a job and now the preparation to move your life to another country is your priority, and you think to yourself, ‘Where do I start?’

Passport, Visas etc. For many jobs, the company helps you file all the applicable paperwork to authorise your employment overseas but passport applications are usually your responsibility (government jobs are the main exception). If you do not have a passport, apply now to enable your visa applications etc to be processed as soon as possible.

Check your current passport’s expiration date, is it valid until you plan to return? Do you hate dealing with bureaucracy? Dealing with your Government’s bureaucracy does not get easier with distance; renew your passport now if you answered yes to both questions.

Doing it all yourself, start with your Department of Foreign Affairs or State Department for advice about your selected country of employment. Then contact that country’s immigration department, most have a website, and establish your documentation requirements and download the application forms. Answer all the questions truthfully.

Prepare your finances. Establishing credit in foreign lands can be difficult but your bank can help smooth the way through local branches or affiliated banks at your destination. Your current credit and debit cards could suffice for short periods but establishing accounts at your destination is a better long term solution.

Sign up for online services to allow you to manage your financial affairs from off-shore.

Make arrangements to pay your final utility bills after moving out of your current home.

Automate payments for your current debts.

Send, store or sell. Even if your employer is prepared to accept the cost of moving you overseas, they will impose some limitations on the volume of goods you can take with you. Follow these steps to determine whether to send, store or sell the contents of your house:

1. Create an inventory of your possessions. I use a free software tool from Liberty Mutual.

2. Review your inventory, and annotate anything that has not been used for a year. This is the start of your sell list.

3. Divide the remaining inventory into send and store lists. Furniture should be stored for periods less than two years, and only include the most essential books from your library (then ask yourself why you have all the other books).

4. Prepare motors for long term storage, and clean everything to prevent deterioration.

5. Unless you can drive to your destination, it is rarely a good idea to take your vehicles.

Become a landlord or sell. Unless you plan to buy a house overseas, your current home is an asset that could be put to work earning rental income to offset your rent overseas. Discuss the options with a financial consultant before you make a decision. For the record, I chose to be a landlord.

Next week the final installment in this series, Establishing your Home Overseas.