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How to Prepare for a Move Overseas

Prepare for a move overseas
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There are approximately 8.9 million Americans living overseas right now. If you’re planning to be one of them, you may be wondering what you need to do to prepare for moving abroad.

Not only is there a lot of logistics to organize for your move, but you may be having a few complicated feelings about living abroad as well. This post will be your in-depth guide so your move will go as smoothly as possible.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Top Tips for Moving Abroad

There are many reasons why you may want to live abroad. A new culture, interesting people, or a better cost of living are just a few that spring to mind. Not only will you need to organize your move, but you may be feeling sad about leaving- or even questioning your choice.

These feelings are totally normal. One of the best things you can do is begin preparing early, so you’re not completely stressed out in the days and weeks leading up to your move.

Here are some of the things you’ll need to organize:


If you’ll be working overseas, there’s a good chance you’ll need a visa. You will need to start this process as early as you can since bureaucratic paperwork can take a long time.

If your company is relocating you, you’ll have your HR department to help you through the process. If not, you’ll need to make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork well in advance.

Consider Taxes

The United States and Eritrea are the only two countries in the world that tax citizens no matter where they’re living.

Even if you’ve just filed taxes, it makes sense to find out what you’ll need to do when tax season rolls around again. You’ll have to file a tax return each year, so be sure to keep track of your earnings.

Go to the Doctor

As soon as you’ve finalized your plans to move, it’s time to get your vaccinations. Some will take a while before they kick in, and it’s important that you’re covered from the moment you arrive.

Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to see which vaccines are mandatory. While your new home may not require any vaccines, ask your medical center to give you a Prophylaxis book or International Certificate of Vaccination.

This is a record of your immunizations and will be necessary for some visas. If you’re planning to do some travel while you’re based overseas, some countries won’t let you visit unless you have one of these. They’re also good in the event of a cholera outbreak since you can show you’ve been vaccinated.

Learn The Language

Obviously, you’re not going to become fluent in another language overnight. But if you’re moving somewhere with a different language, learning a little will make the transition easier. Download DuoLingo, and learn the basics like “Hello,” “Thank You,” and “How much is this?”

You can also use a website like Italki. This connects native speakers, so you can take lessons via Skype.

Get Insurance

Some travel insurance companies can cover you for up to a year at a time, and you can also extend your plan while you’re on the road. World Nomads is a good example of this. There are also a number of international insurance companies and plans that you can purchase before you leave.

Whichever you choose, make sure you’re completely covered before you get on the road. Check if the plan offers emergency evacuation in the event that you’re seriously sick or injured. And see if your insurance company implements caps on how much they will pay for medical treatment.

Pack Early

Frantically packing in the days leading up to your move is stressful and it cuts into the time you could spend with your family and friends.

As soon as you know you’ll be moving, start making a list of what you’d like to take with you. If you’re moving long-term, you can transfer household goods, but many people find that it’s better to leave these in storage or with friends. That’s because many houses and apartments for expats are already furnished and it’s often cheaper to purchase stuff on the ground than to take it with you.

The more you can scale down, the better. You’ll be able to find basics like toiletries and makeup anywhere. However, in some parts of Asia, it can be difficult to find things like deodorant and moisturizer without whitening ingredients.

Now is a good time to start selling those electronics you never use and that designer outfit you’ve worn once. You’ll have less to pack and store and more money to start your new life. Win/win.

Pre-Arrange Relationships

It’s now easier than ever to form relationships with people based in your new country- and you can begin before you leave. Traveling and moving overseas can be scary. But it’s much easier to make the move when you know you have someone to have coffee with during those first few days.

Check out websites like Couchsurfing.com and Meetup.com. There are also likely to be Facebook groups so you can learn about the area and begin building relationships with expats and locals on the ground. If you’re not being transferred for work, these can be hugely helpful for finding accommodation, roommates, and anything else you might need.

Register With Your Embassy

Be sure to register with STEP. This is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program with the State Department. If you’re registered, the State Department can communicate any important information in the event of an emergency.

When you register, you’ll need to add your new country with the dates you’re planning to stay there for. As soon as you have a local telephone number, add this in so you can be easily contacted by the State Department.

Wrapping Up

By following the above tips, you’ll know how to prepare for moving abroad. These tips will help you stay safe and healthy overseas while making sure you’re completely organized. You’ll also stay as stress-free as possible in the lead up to your move.

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