10 Things You Should Do Before Moving Abroad – Checklist

Moving abroad is a big decision that you should make well in advance. We share 10 things you should do before moving abroad to help you plan your move and get the most out of it.
Preparing for an overseas relocation can be daunting. If you don’t have a thorough plan or proper checklist, it is easy to miss out on important items or task deadlines in your preparation. Here is a handy moving country checklist of things you may want to look into at least six months prior to your move. It helps make the move goes as smoothly as possible for your international moving.

1. Immigration

You need to get all the documents ready for immigration – passport, entry visas, work and residence permits, etc. If you’re thinking of relocating for work, it would be a good idea to check the skills list to get an idea of the jobs your destination has any shortages in and how this aligns with your CV. When you get a job offer, it will help you with your visa application. If you apply for a student visa, most likely you have to show documents that state that you have been accepted and registered as a student in your new location.

Check that all of your family members’ passports are valid if they are moving with you and will remain so for at least 12 months after the moving date. Check how we can make your immigration preparation simple. 

2. Home Search

One of the first important decisions to make is whether you will rent or buy a house abroad if you move overseas. Every destination offers a wide range of accommodation styles to suit the needs, lifestyles, and budgets of everyone. Finding the right home can take a lot of time and effort so you have to start early and plan.

3. School Search

For a permanent move, you should consider enrolling your children in a local school. Younger children can pick up new languages quickly and so should adapt to this environment well. Alternatively, learning English in an international school means your children are able to slip back into school easily if they return to their previous home country. If it is possible, visit the new school you have chosen with your children. They will be able to meet their future teachers and get a feel for what their new school will be like. Conduct a thorough school search. Search for schools that have the best reputation for having high-quality programs. 

4. Destination Research

Before relocating to a new country, learning about the new culture’s famous cuisine, basic greetings and how to use their transportations will be certainly helpful. Get familiar with the weather and climate and the topography so that you know how to prepare and what to pack. Or arrange a preview trip.

Get to know about your new neighborhood online. Consider joining local sports or social groups to meet new people. If you are moving with your children, enroll them in school and activities so they can start when they arrive at the new home.

Check food costs, expenses on utility, rate of rent and mortgage, etc. will help you to envisage your spending at the new location and the financial support you would require.

5. Banking and Finance

Before moving overseas, you should open an international bank account to facilitate transfers, consult a tax advisor on how to file taxes in your new location, how to distribute your retirement pensions, and make plans for your insurance, investment, and estate. Check out more on managing and converting your money when moving overseas.

6. Healthcare

Before you travel, check with your local health clinic or department of health considering the types of vaccinations you will need before entering your destination country. Pay attention to the arrival requirements of your new location, which include border entry registration forms or quarantine - these requirements may change at short notice.

Notify your doctor, dentist, or optician and get copies of your family’s medical records to keep alongside your vaccination records and travel document. If you take regular medication you might want to stock up before you move, as you may not be able to get prescriptions before you settled in a new country.

7. Pet relocation

When planning to move, pets are family and have to be treated well throughout your pet's move overseas. Closely research the pet import laws in the country that you’re moving to. Ensure the breed of your pet is allowed to enter. Microchip your pet and indicate the microchip number in all vaccination or treatment records. Contact the veterinary and check on any vaccinations and any documents necessary for transport abroad. A few weeks before the moving day, arrange your pet’s flight and apply for a fit-to-fly certificate from your vet. Familiarize your pets with their crates/kennels by putting them in the open with a couple of their toys and treats inside.

8. Termination

Cancel rental agreements and memberships to clubs and associations. Notify utility companies about your move (tax, water, gas, electricity, telephone, internet service provider, cable TV). Schedule last meter reading and disconnection if appropriate, remember to keep services connected at your current home until the last day of the move. Cancel subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, book clubs, and journals.

9. Application

Check before you arrive in your new country what permits you need to obtain (for work, residency, vehicles, driving, etc.). Book your travel insurance and check your home insurance to make sure you have covered your moving day and after moving into your new house.
Consider mobile data charges, which can be expensive if you haven’t made an arrangement with your provider before leaving the country.

10. Home inventory

Before you begin, purge any items that won’t be moving with you. If suitable donate to a charity, give it away to friends, or sell them online. List down the items that you will be moving with you. Take pictures of your valuable and fragile items and estimate their approximate value. You may also want to record the condition of items that have existing damage or require special care. Some electrical appliances might not work or will need adaptors – If you think they aren’t going to work it’s probably best not to take them with you. 

The current freight rate is still high so consider carefully what is worthy to ship abroad.

Ask for assistance

Don’t forget to ask for help – from friends and family but also from professional services. The best international moving companies can offer professional packers to pack boxes for you and this can save a lot of time. Professional cleaners may also be a good idea. If you are renting then it is often a requirement of the contract to do the clean-up before you leave.

Countdown to your moving day


Two Weeks Before Moving
  • Get copies of your passport, ID, and other important documents. Leave a copy of these with your trusted relative or      friend as a backup.
  • Collect your laundry from a nearby shop, return your books to the library, and cancel or divert any subscription or home      delivery service. Update your postal service address.
  • Give away things that you won’t bring along with you.
  • Do the last-minute shopping for what you will need and essential.
  • Ensure you have enough supplies to cover your medication for a couple of months after your arrival, so you do not need to worry about it whilst you settle into your new home.

One Week Before Moving
  • Confirm details with your relocation company, the airline for your flight, and other associated bookings.
  • Gather small, valuable items to carry onboard the plane with you.
  • Pack a bag for the first night in the new house with fresh linen, snacks, and a set of clothes for everyone.
  • Set up a travel currency card before leaving the home country to minimize foreign exchange and withdrawal costs.

Preparation is everything, but there will always be surprises. And we hope our abroad packing list above can give you a head start. We’ve also created a moving guide, together with psychologists and expert movers, to helping you relocate with confidence, designed to help you go knowing and start living as soon as you arrive.

Contact us for local consultations to give you unique insight into preparing for your international move.

From the moment you get in touch, we manage all aspects of your relocation, making everything simpler, reducing possible upheaval, and being by your side.