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Whether you plan to become a permanent expatriate or are accepting an overseas job assignment, making the overseas move is a job unto itself. How big that job depends on your circumstances.
If you are taking your spouse, children, and a pet, your workload is, of course, increased and complicated incrementally. Add a car and household goods to the mix, and you’ll need to start planning early to avoid waiting months involved in ocean shipping.
The suggestions that follow, while not all-inclusive, provide a solid foundation for overseas planning and preparations. The key is to start early and leave time to cope with unexpected delays that can come between you and completing your journey abroad.
Moving to a foreign country can be a combination of adventure, hassle, and hardship. Whichever facet of the foregoing dominates the experience depends on your attitude.
We are the sum total of our experiences, and those experiences are enhanced by travel abroad. A positive attitude will go a long way in coping with the inevitable hassle and hardships of an overseas move. Work from a baseline of positive expectations and go about your planning in a methodical way, and your move will go well.
Country guides and profiles are just a mouse click away on the world wide web. Many are oriented for tourists but are definitely worth reading. Check out Canada’s travel advisory add the link https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories However, if you’re just after the cold facts, check out the CIA World Factbook for an unbiased and fairly comprehensive summary on everything you need to know about your host country.
Make sure your passport is current. Allow for lengthy processing times if you are ordering a new or renewing an existing passport.
Check out the residency and visa requirements of the host country. It’s all on the web. Obtain the number of the nearest consulate or embassy of the country you are visiting and schedule a visit. Be prepared for fees and inevitable bureaucratic compliance steps.
If you plan to drive overseas or would like a handy ID photo without having to carry your passport everywhere, you should get your international driver’s license. Check out the CAA web page¹ for details.
Also, read up on the host country’s driving rules, unique traffic regulations, and insurance requirements. For example, in Great Britain, motorists who are caught sleeping in a parked car after having too much to drink can be charged with the offense “Drunk in Charge.”
Schedule a complete physical exam. Get your vision checked and update your prescription. If you have any dental issues, have them taken care of before you leave. Get copies of your health and dental records, as well as your vision prescription. They could come in handy if you need medical care overseas.
You’ll need to do some research on bringing your pet overseas. Most pet import regulations include rabies and Avian influenza immunization. Some countries require pet quarantine of up to six months, which could be costly for you and traumatic for the pet.
Read more about moving overseas with pets on the TransitionsAbroad².
The household goods and personal possessions you decide to take with you will add time and expense to your preparations. Shipping a load of furniture will set you back anywhere thousands of dollars, depending on shipment size and weight. The good news is that overseas shipping companies have the experience and expertise and can pack, store, and ship your possessions efficiently.
Again, do your research. Will your smartphone work in Europe? What about personal computing devices like iPads and laptops? If you’re considering taking any electrical appliances overseas, you’ll need to buy transformers to allow for the different voltages.
Finally, consider sending an express air shipment of items that you want to be delivered shortly after your arrival. Express shipments usually consist of personal supplies for your first few weeks overseas, including clothing, bedding, kitchen utensils, toys, and games.
Unless your sponsoring company is picking up the expense, you might want to sell or store your car before going overseas. Shipment costs for a compact auto, for example, could amount to over $2,000. Then there are differences in emission control standards between Europe and North America. Filling your tank with European fuel could ruin your catalytic converter and affect the vehicle’s performance.
Look into the cost of living and estimate its impact on your income. For example, Where you were accustomed to paying under $1.31 per liter at the Canadian pump, you will pay over $1.00 more at the British petrol pump.
Likewise, there are generally higher living costs in Europe in food, energy, and utilities. Do your research and budget accordingly. Check out the latest currency exchange rates
Check into the crime statistics of your host country. If you’re moving from Canada, you are leaving one of the top 10 safest countries in the world. As you might expect, many countries in Africa and the Middle East rank on the opposite end of the safety spectrum. European countries do better, with Iceland leading the pack as the safest country in the world, with Denmark and Austria close behind.
Wherever you’re going, it is wise to check out criminal statistics. You may not be in physical danger, but consider incidences of property crimes—burglaries, pickpockets, etc.—where perpetrators like to target foreign visitors.
This has been a quick look at what you should include in planning your overseas move. Use this guide as a basis for further research and planning. There are many useful overseas move checklists on the web. The key is to plan ahead and start early. There is plenty to do and that early start will keep your crisis management to a minimum. MTFX can help you with your currency conversion requirements. MTFX makes currency exchange and international payments easy. We help you keep more of your money by reducing your currency conversion costs. Learn more on how MTFX can help reduce your currency conversion costs.
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