Packing up and moving to another country probably sounds like the best kind of adventure to many of you. After all, there are so many fascinating places in our world to explore—what better way than to go live somewhere else for a year or three? Unfortunately, international relocation isn’t quite as easy as it was when you were a college student; there’s more to it than jamming a backpack full of clothes and hopping on a plane. Unfortunately, there are a great deal more hoops to jump through if you’re not traveling for vacation/tourist purposes. If you’re moving for a job, or hoping to find a job and stay for a while, there are more forms to fill out and more squares to check off. In order to make your international relocation process as successful as possible, here are some of the bigger hurdles you’ll need to jump before you actually cross borders.
Visit That Country
First, and probably the most important step, is to visit the area you are thinking of moving to. Even if you can only take a long weekend, making the trip is absolutely worthwhile because seeing and experiencing a place in person is vastly different from anything you can see in guide books, photos, and videos online. It’s possible you might think somewhere is perfect on paper, but realize you can’t handle just how crowded and busy it is when you go in person. It’s better to make the trip and get some real-life experience before you make the decision. After all, you wouldn’t want to take a multi-year job contract to somewhere you’ll be miserable. The visit will also help you and your family adjust easier, when culture shock threatens to overwhelm.
Find a Job
It might sound simple, but you’ll also need a reason to make the move—and we don’t mean something like “I visited it and loved it there.” You will need a reason that makes sense to that country’s government because most countries have a lot of limitations on long-term visas. If you’re planning to relocate for more than a couple of months, you’ll need to wade through the visa application process carefully, because you can only apply once a year. And the primary form of long-term visa is a work visa, which almost always requires you have a specific position at a company with a job offer in hand. This is because many countries have a set limit for the number of visas they hand out in each industry per year. If you’re filling out a visa application without a specific job, you’re probably going to be denied. Of course, that’s not to say it can’t be done, but it will be more difficult, so have that job offer in hand before you start the visa process.
Once your visa has been approved and you have a job squared away, you’ll need to know you won’t get stopped at the border (or the airport). That means current passports for you and your family—yes, even the kids will need to have passports. You’ll also want to start looking into driver’s license requirements if you’re planning to ship a vehicle or buy one there. Also look into an international driver’s license if you know you’ll be doing a lot of traveling to other countries.
On top of this, you’ll need to sort out your banking situation. Start by finding out what your bank’s measures are in terms of international use. You will need to see how much you can access digitally, or if you’ll want to shift most of your funds to a bank in your new country. After all, if you get charged a transaction fee every time you use an A.T.M., those fees will add up quickly while you’re abroad. Also, ask about money exchange fees so you don’t get a big surprise each time you make a withdrawal.
Find Somewhere to Live
The finding a home process is somewhat fluid, and will depend largely on the international moving company you work with. They are the experts when it comes to international relocation of household goods, so go with their word as the final say; however, it’s important to at least be aware that some of them may need a specific address up front in order to quickly and legally ship your household goods. You don’t always need to have living accommodations lined up months in advance, but it doesn’t hurt.
The other part of this, of course, is knowing what you can bring. Moving your household goods means shipping either by air or by sea, and both options tend to charge by weight. We strongly suggest paring down your household goods to be shipped before you go. Also, don’t expect an apartment or house to have rooms as spacious or doorways as wide as what you’re used to in the U.S. Many larger furniture items may not actually fit in your new home just by dint of the difference in standard sizes overseas. Knowing where you’ll move to can help you decide which furniture items to keep and which to sell or store.
Get International Relocation Assistance
Finding the right international movers can help make your transition smoother. At CustomerAdvocate.org, we want to help you find the most trustworthy services out there. Read verified reviews from customers and trust that each company has up-to-date licensing and credentials because we take the time to check everything before we post it. Start searching our top rated moving companies here or contact the CustomerAdvocate.org team for more information!