Moving house is a juggling act at the best of times, even more so when you're moving abroad. So we've created this international moving checklist to help you start planning for your overseas move.
what to do before moving overseas
As early as possible
- Establish a timetable for the move. If you’re moving for a job consider when the
working partner has to arrive, and when the rest of the family will follow.
- Decide what to do with your current housing: rent out, sell, or terminate lease.
- If your move is not permanent look into storage costs for storing personal
possessions in your home country rather than shipping them to the new destination.
- Contact an international removal company like Bournes to get a quote for household goods move and set a date for the movers to pack and collect your belongings that will tie in with when you plan to arrive.
- Get information and documentation from your removal company for the paperwork you’ll need to complete prior to packing, including your acceptance form, insurance documentation and any customs clearance paperwork for shipment of your personal possessions
- Consider a small airfreight shipment of essential items that you would like to be
there on your arrival. If you’re moving for a job your employer may provide an
allowance for this or your removal company will be happy to arrange a quote direct
- If you require assistance with finding accommodation or arranging schooling choose a relocation agent and inform them of your needs (these are services you can arrange privately or may be provided by an employer).
- Obtain original copies of important documents, i.e., passports, driving license(s),
birth certificate(s), wedding certificate(s), school report(s), work references and
medical reports. It’s a good idea to make copies or scan and store electronically.
- Apply for visa(s) and working permit(s), if applicable.
- Check the whole family’s passports are valid and update if necessary.
- Gather information on the new location or your new country of residence, if you
have children this is a great stage to get them involved to help them familiarise
themselves with their new home.
- Arrange temporary accommodation for the period prior to the move (when having your house packed up) and in the new destination prior to the arrival of your belongings.
- Give notice to your child’s school and request school reports.
- Investigate work opportunities for partner and/or children in the new destination.
- If possible, arrange to visit the destination prior to moving in order to orientate
yourself with your new surroundings and to find housing and schooling.
- If you have pets check on the quarantine laws regarding taking pets to your new destination.
- Consider whether private medical insurance will be required in your new residence.
- Book your flights and check your luggage allowance with your airline (note: some airlines have increased allowances for those moving overseas)
- If you’re moving to a non-English speaking country start to learn the local language
- Check if you need any vaccinations for your destination and make arrangements with your doctor
One month before your move
- Notify relevant organisations, authorities and individuals of your change of address and that you are leaving the country.
- Stop/transfer any subscriptions.
- Cancel insurance policies you’ll no longer need and check if you can get any money back for the period after the cancellation.
- Check that your appliances will work in the new destination.
- Arrange to see your doctor and dentist. Obtain original copies of any medical reports and supplies of medication (find out the generic name in case you need to purchase medication in the new destination.)
- Order contact lenses, or spare glasses…Make a list of things to take, to leave behind and to buy.
- If you’re taking a vehicle with you check that your driving licence covers you and that you have arranged insurance at destination.
- Find out whether your current bank has an overseas branch and if it can handle your future needs, if not you’ll need to arrange banking facilities at destination and arrange to transfer your money.
- Arrange for a statement of “no-claims bonus” from your vehicle insurer.
- Have a clear out – Sell, donate or dispose of things that you don’t need or can’t take with you.
Three weeks before your move
- Buy products you might need that aren’t available or are cheaper in your home
country than in the new destination.
- Start segregating goods to take and leave behind.
- Enjoy your time with family and friends before you leave. Make sure you get their e-mail addresses or make social media connections to stay in contact
Two weeks before your move
- Arrange for transfer of bank accounts.
- Take pets to vet for immunizations, and obtain travel documents.
- Take care of any bills and investments.
- Arrange for any insurance requirements.
- Arrange for meters to be read
One Week before your move
- Arrange for deliveries to be stopped.
- List all belongings to be moved, indicating a value for each (your removal company should provide the documentation for this)
- Arrange for someone to look after children and pets during the packing.
- Clean any outdoor items that you will be shipping and store somewhere clean and dry. Check with your mover for the required standards for import under your destinations regulations.
Two days before your move
- More packing and cleaning, leaving any cartons you pack open for inspection.
- Buy any last-minute products to take with you.
- Buy travellers cheques or obtain cash needed for trip and your first week in your new location (credit cards can be used to get cash in your new country, but you will pay a commission.)
- Deal with anything that needs to be picked up or taken back (e.g., dry cleaning,
library books, videos, etc.)
Day before your move
- Clean and dry all electrical appliances to avoid mildew.
- Decide if you want certain items to be packed together and group them together.
- Pack and double check your essentials and travel luggage. Be careful to keep plane tickets, passports, phone chargers and other essential items separate to the rest of your belongings so they don’t get packed by the movers!
- Read meters and make a note of final readings to submit for settlement of utility accounts
- Once the moving crew are all loaded make sure to take a walk around the property with the team leader to ensure everything has been completed to your satisfaction.
Want a copy to print off and check off at home? Download international moving checklist to help you prepare for a stress free international move!