Moving to a different country?

International moves require a lot more documentation and cost a lot more money than moving within the U.S.  Additionally, international movers need to prepare for a change in culture and norms.

If you’re planning on moving abroad, read up on the nation in question, then set your eyes on hammering down the details of getting there.  Here’s what you need to know:

Get the Necessary Paperwork

First things first, you will need some documentation and paperwork. All countries have different requirements, so check with the country’s visa department or the U.S. embassy in that country to inquire about what you need.  However, you can plan on needing the following:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Documentation of your health status
  • Documentation of your financial situation, including whether you have work
  • Any language training or familiarity with the country
  • Any family in the country

Getting some of these documents can take upwards of a month or two, so you should start getting them together at least three months before you plan to relocate.  In the meantime, continue to learn about the country, and talk to people who have visited or lived there.

International Moving Companies

Moving your stuff overseas will be quite expensive.  You might find it easier to simply sell your stuff rather than bring it with you.  However, if you want to bring a bit of America with you to your new nation of residence, you’ll need an international moving company.

International moving companies are just like domestic moving companies, except they have the licenses, requisites and resources to move across borders.  There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find a local moving company who can handle your international move.  Ask around or search for “international moving company” in your area.

Not all international moving companies can move you to the country you’re heading.  It might take a bit more searching to find an international moving company that can help your particular move.

Packing and Deciding What to Bring

Because of the different requirements, inspections and weight limitations of shipping overseas, it is wise to let the moving company pack your boxes for you.

If the country to which you are relocating has different outlets and/or voltage requirements, you may consider selling your appliances and buying new ones when you arrive.  This will save you the hassle of finding adapters for every outlet in the house.  Finally, especially if your move is temporary, you may also want to consider a storage unit for some of your items.

Shipping Your Car

Shipping your car overseas can be very expensive, depending on the type of car and where it’s going.  There is a good chance that it’ll cost more than your car is worth.  For example, a shipping compact car from New York to Australia can cost well over $2,000.  If the cost of shipping is prohibitive, you may want to consider selling your car at home and purchasing a new one overseas.

If you do bring your car, make sure to find out if your vehicle meets the environmental standards of the new country before you ship it.  You will also want to inquire about the cost of insurance, and the requirements for getting licensed to drive in your new location.

Learn how to budget a move abroad.