Planning a move abroad is a significant undertaking that requires a great deal of thoughtful consideration. Once you have finalized a move overseas and started to put everything in place that you will need for a new life abroad, you should momentarily divert your attention away from the exciting new life that awaits and concentrate on your current life in the present. There will be a significant amount of organizational and administrative tasks that you will need to carry out in order to fully tie up any existing commitments before you start afresh elsewhere. The last thing you want to do is to arrive in a new country with a large number of issues outstanding from your previous life at home. For this reason, planning your relocation is crucial.
This section is aimed at helping you to identify some of the things you will need to consider when planning a move abroad.
To make sure nothing is forgotten before your move abroad, we have prepared an expatriate checklist to help you get organised. Prepare your move abroad with a minimum of fuss and tick off each item to make sure you’re ready for the big day!
You and Your Family
- Learn about your destination country: Read the specialist guides and expat blogs for information on living there.
- At the new destination, some immigration offices require a “criminal record clearance certificate”, which can be obtained at the Vientiane Capital Court
- Get a medical check-up for each family member (doctor, optician, dentist etc.) Keep your x-rays and take prescriptions for any drugs you’ll need in your destination country.
- Vaccinations: Check what vaccinations are required or recommended on medical websites. Bear in mind that some vaccinations may involve more than one injection.
- Insurance: remember to take out international insurance to cover medical expenses, repatriation assistance, personal liability etc.
- As most insurance providers will adapt the same “No Claim Bonus (NCB)” from your current motor insurance provider, ask your current provider for a “Insurance / No Claim Certificate”
- Schooling for your children: let their school know they are leaving and look into educational opportunities abroad.
- Learn the language by taking classes or using a “teach yourself” method.
- Check that all family members’ passports are valid.
- Apply for a visa if you need one for your destination country.
- Book your tickets (plane, train, boat) in advance.
- Cancel your subscriptions: telephone, internet, gym etc.
- Cancel your contracts: car insurance, home insurance, top-up healthcare, water and electricity etc.
- Let the authorities know you are leaving: Chief of Village
- Mail: have your mail forwarded by a friend or by the Post Office.
- Apply for an international driving licence
Make photocopies of important documents, your family record book, copies of birth certificates, diplomas etc. You can also scan these documents and email them to yourself allowing you to access them anywhere in the world.
Get ID photos taken.
Get your important documents translated.
Remember to take: international vaccination cards, blood group cards, health records, prescriptions and x-rays.
Apply for a European Health Insurance Card from your National Health Service if you are staying in Europe.
- House / Flat: give notice to your landlord or put your home up for sale or rent.
- Car: make arrangements for selling your car and look into hiring or buying a car when you arrive.
- Make an appointment with your bank: ask about money transfers, opening an account abroad etc.
- International Movers: get several quotes before choosing your international mover. You can also put some of your belongings in storage.
- Prepare your luggage and send the rest via a specialist logistics firm.
- Sell the items you don’t want to keep: Use Facebook Groups like Buy & Sell in Vientiane.
- Prepare a medical kit containing useful and “comfort” drugs (especially if you are going to a country with less developed medical facilities).
- Pets: ask what vaccinations and formalities are required before departure (import permits, quarantine etc.) and about how they will travel. Read our article “How to Travel with your pets from and to Laos“
- Take food items (where possible) which you won’t be able to buy in your new country.
- Give your new address to friends and family.
- Create a blog to share your new expat life!
Last but not least, please find below a 90-day moving checklist template which lists all the key activities you should complete in the run up to your move abroad. If you follow each step you can be assured that your transition will be smooth and your new life abroad will get off to the best possible start.
|90 days before departure|
|Book your air tickets and hotels if they are required.|
|Inform your children’s school that you will be moving abroad and ask for transfer certificates and any information which will be relevant when you move.|
|Check quarantine requirements in your destination country and arrange pet relocation.|
|Inquire about out professional moving companies and ask for their quotes.|
|Create a folder with all hard copies and paperwork of the important documents and create a file on your computer for all of your saved files. Check the documentation requirements for the country you are moving to. Many countries require that official paperwork is certified before it can be accepted. See the individual city guide for more information.|
|Make a checklist of all packing boxes and what will go in each one.|
|Create a tax and finance folder with any information which can be claimed back on tax. If you are getting your expenses paid for you, put all receipts in this folder.|
|Make sure you and your family have valid passports; you will not be travelling anywhere without them.|
|Find out about international driving licenses. Most countries will not accept your home country’s license. If you can take the test before you leave, do so. It will save time and hassle when you arrive at your new destination.|
|Once you find the best quote, organise a date for them to come. Ask them to provide details of any property or belongings that you will not be permitted to move to the new country.|
|Find out if you, your family and your pets need to have any vaccinations and when you need to have them by. Book appointments at the doctors and vets and be sure to have an international vaccination record booklet.|
|Print out change of address cards to hand to friends and family and Let everyone important know about your departure and change of address-the post office, the magazines you subscribe to, credit card companies, family and friends.|
|If you are renting out your house and do not have any tenants yet, contact local rental agencies for their help.|
|Start packing items which you do not need in the next three months such as ornaments, books, photos, jewellery and out of season clothes. Label all boxes.|
|If you are selling your house, put it on the market.|
|If your national driving license needs renewing, do so before you leave.|
|60 days before departure|
|Ask your doctors, vet and dentist for copies of yours, your families and your pets’ medical records. While you are at the surgeries, organise a final check up for you, your family and your pets.|
|If you are selling anything such as a car or any household equipment, put everything on the market.|
|Check all insurance policies and organise your visas if you need to.|
|Organise leaving parties for yourself and your children.|
|Contact the post office to set up their mail re-routing service.|
|Prepare a power of attorney. Make sure you have certified copies of all important documents ready to hand over to the person you will be leaving in charge of your affairs while you are away.|
|Contact your bank and explain that you are moving abroad. If you already have your new address, give them this otherwise change the address to a friend or family member for the short-term. If they are unable to offer a global account you will need to find one that will.|
|Set up direct debits with your bank for any bill payments which you will still be making while you are away. These can include: mortgage payments, loan repayments, pension schemes and savings.|
|Find out what the local names and equivalents are for any prescription medication you or your family are on. Make sure that it will be available in your destination country. If not you will need to arrange to take a supply with you, together with proof of your need for the medication for customs and excise purposes.|
|Set up internet banking – as you will need to manage your money online while you are away. If your bank does not have internet banking facilities you should consider changing banks (you will find most banks now have internet banking facilities).|
|Have a garage sale of all the things you want to sell.|
|If you are renting out your house, get all minor repairs completed.|
|Organise the cancellation of all magazine and newspaper subscriptions or regular deliveries you receive on the day you will be leaving.|
|30 days to go|
|Change your address on anything which requires it|
|Make sure you have paid all outstanding bills. Leave a small amount of money with a friend or relative to settle any that you may have missed.|
|Contact the various utilities departments and ask them to discontinue your supply of gas, electricity, water, cable TV and telephone or if you are renting your house out, change the name on the bills.|
|Get all paperwork and information required for the shipping company.|
|Organise the cancellation of your house insurance on the day you will be leaving.|
|If you are renting your house out, make sure it is in good rental condition and make an inventory list of everything which will be left behind.|
|Start to pack up the house, leaving the essentials that you need for the next month.|
|Make sure everyone who needs it has your forwarding address.|
|If you are shipping items, be sure to get a rough delivery date.|
|Remember to savor the moment as you step on the plane, it is a very important milestone in your life afterall.|
|Make sure you have left nothing behind in your house – check all cupboards and all rooms.|
|Say your final goodbyes.|
|Make sure you have the essentials in your suitcase. You will be living out of these cases for the immediate future until your shipment arrives.|
|Verify all delivery plans with the company and go through the inventory list.|
Moving overseas can be stressful and daunting, but follow all the steps in our moving checklist template and you can manage your move abroad like a pro.