The Ultimate Moving
Overseas Checklist

Planning to move overseas, to a new country or out of state? We’ve put together a comprehensive moving overseas checklist to help those looking to relocate to a new country.

Published on February 14, 2020
by The Neat Team

Planning to move overseas, to a new country, or out of state? It might not be as romantic as packing up your belongings, suitcase half-full, and flying away. Moving homes is always a stressful endeavour, but moving to another country can be especially overwhelming. If this is your first time venturing to a new country, with absolutely no idea of what to do, we’ve put together a comprehensive moving overseas checklist to help you plan the big move. Follow along, as we cover everything from preparation in Australia to settling down into your new adopted country.

Preparation before you leave

You don’t start baking before reading the recipe and the same advice goes for moving overseas. Having a plan to follow will ensure that nothing gets left off your to-do-list, and will help you prioritise your energy towards the most important aspects of your move. Before you leave Australia, here are the most important things you’ll need to do.

Research your destination

Whether if it’s San Francisco or São Paulo, culture shock is real. By researching your destination, you’ll reduce the amount of unknowns you’ll face in a new country. While this list isn’t exhaustive, by tackling these issues early on, you’ll give yourself a better chance of making your new country feel like home even before you arrive.

  • Research appropriate customs, manners, and traditions
  • Familiarise yourself with public transport
  • Plan routes to locations you’ll visit on a daily basis
  • Start practicing your new language
  • Reach out to friends and family

Analyse the job market

For many moving overseas, the prospect of living abroad is a result of a job that’s already lined up. Still, there’s plenty of research that can be done to better help understand the job market.

  • Search for potential working visas, visa conditions, and application deadlines
  • Transfer any industry accreditation
  • Compare average salaries and wages for your industry
  • Negotiate company relocation
  • Research work life balance, annual holiday leave, and national benefits

Prepare financially

From being unfamiliar with local currencies to calculating complex exchange rates, financial issues will arise when moving overseas. Being financially prepared will ensure that you’re never in a situation with a severe lack of funds, forcing you to leave your host country sooner than expected. By budgeting accordingly, you should be able to survive the first few months in your new your country, helping to offset the cost of the initial move.

  • Research the average cost of living
  • Familiarise yourself with local currencies
  • Budget for a year of expenses
  • Meet with your financial advisor or accountant
  • Notify your bank and credit card providers of a change of address

Organise documentation

Nobody likes paperwork, but keeping an organised folder of all your important documents will help you quickly re-establish yourself in your new country. Dealing with government officials or human resources will require some patience, but having all the necessary documentation at hand will help you transition with confidence.

  • Apply for passports and visas
  • Purchase flight tickets
  • Create copies of the following documents:
    • Birth and marriage certificates
    • Dental and medical records
    • Driver’s licence
    • Bank accounts
    • Wills
    • Insurance policies
    • Prescriptions
    • Police checks

Notify your providers

As you’re finalising your move, confirm that all you’re services have been cancelled. Paying for an extra month of rent, utilities, or services will add additional costs to an already expensive overseas move.

  • Notify the following Australian government agencies
    • Australian Tax Office
    • Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    • Australian Electoral Commission
    • Australian Embassy in your host country
  • Notify your real estate agent, landlord or property manager of ending your lease
  • Sell or rent out your current property
  • Disconnect your utilities, cable, and internet
  • Cancel subscriptions
  • Redirect your mailing address

Stay safe

It’s important to always be prepared for the unexpected as an expat. The Australian government has created an amazing resource in Smartraveller, helping travellers navigate the dangers of countries all around the world. Take these steps to stay protected while living abroad.

  • Purchase comprehensive travel and health insurance
  • Get necessary immunisations
  • Register your travel plans with Smartraveller
  • Review the Department of Foreign Affairs for travel advisories
  • Be aware of any laws regarding military service, divorce, and child custody if you’re a returning national

Moving overseas

With moving day looming closer, it’s time to decide exactly what items to pack and ship overseas. While some leave everything completely behind, for those that wish to bring their belongings with them, here are few tips on moving overseas.

Moving overseas shipping

Packing for an international move may be significantly more difficult than outlined in our previous article, How to Pack for a Move. Unlike moving suburbs, shipping your belongings overseas can be a massive undertaking. It will likely require the use of removalists who are experts in packing furniture, clearing customs and duties, providing insurance, as well as delivering internationally. Here’s how the overseas shipping process works.

  1. Shipping company provides an in-home consultation Before attempting the move, specialists will help determine the scope of the work involved, creating an inventory packing list for future reference.
  2. Removalists pack all belongings Using the inventory packing list, the removalists can now begin wrapping and packing your belongings into cartons, specifically designed for shipping containers.
  3. Shipping company loads all items into a shipping container With all the necessary documentation, the shipping company will arrange all your items to be loaded for shipping via air-freight or sea-freight.
  4. Removalists deliver belongings to international residence When your items arrive, the shipping company will arrange customs clearance at the destination port and deliver your items to the new property.
  5. Removalists unpack and stage property When all items are delivered, the removalists will unpack all your belongings and stage your new property.

Settling into your new home

It may be surreal to finally be in your host country, so revel in the fact that you’ve done something that most only dream of doing. There’s still a long road ahead, but you’ve gotten over the most challenging aspects of moving overseas. There’s a new life waiting for you on the horizon and all that’s left to do is re-establish your identity.

Take a breather

The first few weeks can be nerve-racking, but with time, you’ll slowly begin to feel at home. So, take a breather, ignore this checklist, and spend the first few days getting to know your new city.

  • Connect with friends and family
  • Explore the city through public transport
  • Treat yourself to local cuisine
  • Join local meetups

Re-establish your identity

Now that you’ve had a taste of your new city, it’s time to reestablish your identity in your adopted country. Over your lifetime, you’ve accumulated years of official documentation that will now need to be reapplied for. From driver’s licenses to taxes, here are the responsibilities you’ll need to address.

  • Apply for an international driver’s license
  • Open a foreign bank account
  • Apply for a tax number
  • Search for a permanent residence

Start your new life

There’s very little advice that we could give in this last section of our article. Everybody’s journey is unique, and from here on out, your adventure is unscripted. Hopefully, with these overseas moving tips, you feel that much more prepared for your new life abroad.

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The Neat Team