How to Move to a Different Country

Relocating to a new country has a lot of complexities that can be hard to navigate. Our guide provides you with a checklist you can use as you get ready for your international move.
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How to Move to a Different Country
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You’ve got the job opportunity of a lifetime, or you’re looking at a new place to go that’s not in your country of origin. Either way, you know that an international move is going to be on the horizon. Do you know how to move to a different country in the first place?

How are you supposed to prepare for such a big life change? How do you know that you’re going to be ready to take care of everything properly? And what do you need to do in order to get everything going?

Clearly, there are a lot of questions that you need to consider when figuring out how to move to a different country. Here are some of the steps that you’re going to want to take to make things happen in a manner that makes sense.

Which Country Are You Headed to Live?

So, obviously, the first thing that you need to try and sort out is which country that you’re moving to in the first place. Sometimes, this will be set for you – you’ve got accepted to a particular school, you’ve got a new job, or your current job has sent you to a new location.

But, sometimes, you have some choice in the matter, especially if you’re working a location-independent job or you’re thinking about retiring or taking a year or two off from your career.

In either case, you want to be sure that you take some time and really learn about the country you’re moving to. How are you going to get your driver’s license transferred there? What language is the primary one that you will hear and need to learn? What about other paperwork?

You also want to learn about the different areas of the country, the laws of that country, and where it is best to live. Figuring out the cost of living can also be advantageous, as you can start sorting out your budget for living arrangements and what that may entail.

It’s also really important to take some time and start digging into the processes you’ll need to follow to actually get into the country, too. Visas vary based on the country you’re moving to, and some countries are much more difficult to get into and live in than others.

You may want to work with an immigration lawyer or some other professional in order to ensure that you’ve got everything that you need to stay ahead of things.

Be Open with Friends and Family ASAP

Moving internationally is a big decision, and you want to be certain that you let your loved ones know what you’re doing. Talk with them about the decisions that got you to this point, and to let them know just how long you are going to be gone.

This has a couple of purposes – first, so they have time to deal with their feelings about you moving. And, it helps them to stay in the loop as you start changing things, packing, and dealing with all of those other details. They may even want to help you pack and can give you resources so that your move goes smoothly.

But, overall, you want to be open because you want to give them ample time to say goodbye (or see you later). While the internet does provide a lot of ways for us to stay in touch with each other, it’s still different than seeing someone face to face, and may take time to adjust to. 

Determine Where You Will Live

With the internet, it’s gotten a lot easier for people to go ahead and start looking around for places that they want to live, instead of showing up in a country with nowhere to go. Your best option is to look around online and figure out what cities or areas that you want to try and get a place from.

Then, after you sort out which is best, you will want to either start window-shopping by browsing real estate websites or connect with a real estate broker that is there. A broker will know the area better than you do and may have some valuable resources you can’t get on your own.

Put Together a Moving Budget

As you’re working out how to move to a different country, you need to know how much you’re spending on the whole thing. Your move is its own thing, and we’ll explore that more in the next part of this post.

But, as you put together your moving budget, you also want to be certain that you include absolutely everything that you’ll need for your move. Transportation for you and your family must be included, along with any food and lodging costs that you may need to include in the meantime.

You may also need to hire a cleaning service to deal with your current home. You will need to spend money on passports and visas, and you need to be sure that you have some money for a down payment or security deposit on the place that you’re moving to.

It can cost thousands of dollars to move internationally, but if you’re smart about your budget and you start saving as soon as you can, you’ll find that you are much more prepared than you may have been otherwise.

Start Comparing International Moving Companies

Now that you have some of the most important details sorted out, you want to start comparing international moving companies and what they have to offer. The most important things you’re looking for from these companies are communication and affordability.

You know that it’s going to be expensive to move, no matter how hard that you try, so you want to be sure that you’re taking your time and finding a company that is worth the money that you’re spending for them. As you compare costs, you want to ask questions in order to clarify what is included in their moving quotes for you.

Overall, you want to choose a company that has the resources and info you need in order to really get everything in order for your move. If you’re able to provide them with a ton of information, you will find that your quotes are a lot more complex and give you a more accurate number.

Then, when you know you’ve found the right cross country movers, you want to schedule your moving dates as soon as possible. International movers can be quite busy, so you don’t want to miss out on a good company because you delayed this important step.

Pack and Purge

Now, it’s time to figure out what in the world is coming with you to your new home. We probably don’t have to tell you – but international moves can get quite expensive if you aren’t careful about the costs. One of the best ways to deal with that is to take as little as possible with you.

For example, do you need to take your furniture with you, or would it be cheaper to get rid of it (or store it until you return) and then buy new furniture when you get there? Do you need to bring absolutely everything? Are there items you aren’t attached to that you can get rid of?

If you start packing for your move as early as possible, you’ll find that it’s that much easier to take care of all of the necessary details related to loading things up and sending them to your new country. You can have a moving sale if necessary and give items away as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if there’s a delay in my visa?

There are a number of things that you can do if you’re delayed in getting your visa, but you may end up having to wait a bit in order to make sure that everything goes through in the way that you need it to. If that’s the case, be patient. If you sent your items via freight, they will be there (you just may need to pay a storage fee).

Can my pet relocate with me?

It depends on what your pet is. Different countries have different rules regarding what species of pets can even be owned, so you need to research that and learn as much as you can before your move. Even if your pet is allowed, you’re going to want to get their vaccination record updated and a full physical before you move there. Then, you can provide it to the government and your pet will be allowed in.

What if I want to move post-retirement?

There are visas out there for people who are living off of their wealth rather than getting a job in the country they’re moving to. The minimums are different for every country, and you’ll want to start working out those details. 

Moving Day is on the Horizon

Now that you know how to move to a different country, it’s time for you to start planning and working out what it is that you need to get done. If you start planning now, you’ll have a much easier time sorting out what it is that you need to accomplish and how you want to do things. But, if you get all your ducks in a row, your move will go smoothly and you’ll be in your new home country!

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