Moving abroad checklist for expats

Moving abroad checklist for expats

By default, moving is one of the most inconvenient events you have to deal with. And if you consider leaving your country, you'll have to be ready to place some extra effort into it. At first, while checking available resources online, you will find that everyone's advice is to take some time before you start organizing everything. There is a reason for that. You will have some thorough preparation and planning to do, and it doesn't come over night. The best approach is to break the entire process into a series of smaller tasks. In essence, a moving abroad checklist will be your best friend, and we are here to help you with it.

General moving abroad checklist for expats

No matter the reasons behind your bold decision, moving abroad is both exciting and frightening. But, if you are patient enough and pay attention to detail, it doesn't have to be hard. To make sure your transition is smooth, here is a checklist for expats that can help you perfectly plan your relocation.

First, you'll need to gather enough information

Research the law and regulations in your new country

Every country is different, so you will need to make sure you are familiar with the laws. Depending on the culture, some countries may have more strict rules than others. Usually, the best way is to start checking immigration websites and follow their advice. You can also contact the embassy of the designated country to get a more detailed explanation in case you have questions. They can also give you pointers about the documents and rules like:

Make sure to get guides and application templates, for you are going to need them. And start checking expiration dates on all your document.

Explore all housing options

Almost every country has expat forums you can easily find on the internet. They can give you valuable insight into the best housing options. This way, you will have a good starting point and know which locations to check out. Other websites can provide you with information like current estate prices and costs of living. Most important, this is a long term procedure so start your research as soon as possible.

Interesting small houses by the river

Start looking for a trustworthy moving company

For any arrangements, a reputable moving company is your best and only safe option. Contact several moving companies and compare their quotes and conditions. For example, if you are moving from Kuwait, you can request a visit from companies like to give you the most precise on-site estimates. Also, you can ask them for any information regarding your upcoming move. One of the questions should definitely be about the customs requirements.

Moving date

Discuss the moving dates and best time of the year for moving with your company. But don't schedule your relocation just yet, as you have plenty to do beforehand.

Start preparing for utilities

Generally, you don't want to leave this for the end. It will take time, so start informing yourself about utility cancellation procedures. Be ready to include it in your plans to avoid unnecessary expenses. You will also need to change your address and forward your mail service.

Find a way to deal with your car

In this case, you have a few options depending on the destination and the distance:

If you wish to keep your car, check if the new country allows you to import it, whether by shipping or driving it yourself.

A pink old pick-up truck

Prepare documentation

The documents you will need to add to your moving abroad checklist for expats include:

  1. Passport
  2. Birth and marriage certificate
  3. Academic records
  4. Citizenship
  5. Employment records
  6. Medical records
  7. Driving license
  8. Proof of future employment
  9. Language certificate

Not every country requires all of these documents, so make sure to check first. One thing is for sure, you will need to update your passport and handle any visa requirements. Also, talk to your bank manager about the bank account and credit card which you can use abroad, and see if there are any tax regulations you have to comply with. Make an additional plan about how you will handle your health insurance as a foreigner.

Set things in motion

Set an appropriate budget

Some countries offer different programs for expats. For some, you might need a significant amount of money. For others, you might need to have a job lined up. Explore your options and set appropriate financial plans. Usually, you should save a little extra for the first two or three months after moving.

Prepare your kids

Talk to your family and your kids, if you have any. It's useful to include them in planning. They are, after all, involved in moving, and they are changing their lives as well. Also, check how to approach the school situation and documentation.

A boy looking at a smartphone

Taking your pet with you

If you have any pets, seek advice from a moving company that also specializes in animal relocation. There might be some laws preventing you to move your pet with you, depending on the species.

Schedule the departure

Now would be the right time to schedule the moving day with your moving company. Additionally, you should schedule travelling arrangements for yourself.

Final preparation

Handle your possessions

Think about what you need and what you are allowed to move. In fact, some items might be forbidden for import so take that into account. Sort out your items and get rid of anything you don't absolutely need. Selling some items can add a little extra cash to your budget, but donating is also a good option.

Electrical devices

We are all reliant on technology and our electronic device. However, consider whether you want to pay for shipping everything. It may be cheaper to sell them and buy new ones, especially since not every country is using the same electrical outlet plugs.

Pack everything

Finally, you can pack everything you are moving with you. If you don't have time to do it yourself, your moving company can do the packing for you. Either way, it is important that you don't rush things and give yourself enough time before the moving day arrives.

Make copies of important documents

Prepare double copies of every document you have, just in case. If by any chance you lose something, you will have a backup. You should also have a "plan B" for any similar situation, as unpredictable events can occur.

Transition to a new place

Make sure you are ready for the moving day. Have a good night's sleep and pack your essentials bag the night before. Double-check everything for the last time and try to stay calm and collected. Your new adventure awaits you!


Moving abroad checklist for expats