The scorching sun, a shiny new job, or your thirst for adventure – whatever is pulling you to move abroad, it’s an incredibly exciting time for you.
But when moving even a few streets away can be an arduous task, moving abroad is a mammoth venture.
Where are you going to stay? What do you need to bring? What are you going to do with an entire homes’ worth of furniture, clothes, and decorations? Where do you even begin!?
For such a massive quest, it’s important to keep yourself organised, which is why we’ve created this ultimate moving abroad checklist.
Your checklist for moving abroad should be split into 4 main categories:
- Big Picture
- Legal Responsibilities
This move abroad checklist has got you covered – and now the countdown begins!
There’s a lot of info here, so you can use this contents section to navigate easily through the blog!
- Half a year to go
- Big Picture
- Legal Responsibilities
- Three months to go
- Big Picture
- Legal Responsibilities
- One month to go
- Big Picture
Half a year to go…
Your decision to move abroad (usually) isn’t a spur of the moment decision. It will probably take you months, and possibly years of dreaming and planning before making the final transition.
Six months sounds like a long time, but if you’re sensible, you’ll start ticking items off of your moving abroad checklist now!
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details of a big move abroad, there are some big ticket items you need to get ticked off your moving abroad checklist.
Before you can properly plan your new life, you need to invest some time to gather advice on moving abroad – like this checklist!
Researching the particular area you plan to move to is the first essential item to tick off on your checklist for moving abroad.
If you can, it’s well worth taking a trip to the area, scoping out all of the local amenities, including schools, doctors, dentists, supermarkets, and leisure activities. If you can’t physically travel there, you can carry out a lot of this research online.
Join forums and groups for the area. Expat websites or local Facebook groups will be a rich source of information and they could be a way to meet your future friends!
If you’re moving somewhere that doesn’t speak your native language, we highly recommend getting your learning cap on and trialling out some language learning apps, like Duolingo or Babbel.
You may not be fluent after 6 months, but you’ll feel confident enough to have simple conversations with local residents, which will really ease the pressure of the move.
If you aren’t relocating for work, then it’s critical that you have employment lined up for your arrival to finance this expensive move!
Spruce up your CV and cover letters, sign up for relevant job alerts, and do an Internet scout for potential employers.
Update your LinkedIn account and expand your network, connecting with people in your industry in your future home town. This will put put your name on their radar, hopefully helping you to land a secure job before you jet off.
Some expats like to rent rather than outright buy a home when they first move.
This eases some of the stress of the transition, meaning you don’t need to find your perfect home immediately. You can settle into the area first and then do some house hunting in person later, rather than searching for the ideal property on a computer screen.
Well in advance of moving, you should be searching for a place to stay. Use the local forums and groups you joined to seek out potential landlords and use local property websites.
You’ll also need to think about what you’re going to do with your current home. If you rent, let your landlord know you’re leaving soon. If you’re a homeowner, will you rent it out or try and sell the property?
There will be so much to organise closer to the time so don’t leave decluttering until the last minute.
Gradually start planning what things you need to take with you, what can go into self-storage, what should be donated and what you should sell. Minimise the amount that you’ll need to transport.
Selling your Possessions
The hardest part of selling everything and starting over is figuring out when to sell things. It’s tempting to list everything on Gumtree days after you make the big decision to move abroad. There is also the pesky issue of getting out of financial agreements such as car loans or ending a car leasing contract early.
Spread The News
Give friends, family, and employers advanced notice about your plans, giving everyone the opportunity to fully come to terms with your move, making appropriate arrangements.
Start collecting people’s postal and email addresses and phone numbers for future reference.
Knowing the legalities of moving across the globe is an essential component of the moving abroad checklist.
While you still have plenty of time, start organising all your important documents. Amongst the documents you’ll need are:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Medical records
- Bank statements
- Work permit
Order new copies if you have anything missing.
Contact the nearest embassy for your destination country to figure out what specific requirements you need to meet to move to your desired country. Collect all the necessary documents you need to produce to make it official.
Moving across the globe is a task that can grow arms and legs, with random costs cropping up at every turn. Drawing up a comprehensive budget will really help to keep you on track.
Research the cost of living in your new home town, how much the actual move will cost, how much income you’ll be earning in your new vs old job, and whether you are going to sell/rent out your old house.
Three Months To Go…
Your moving deadline is looming closer, so it’s time to get your skates on and think about ticking off some other major tasks on your moving abroad checklist.
By now, you should have a very clear idea of what possessions you’ll bringing with you, but if you’re in any doubt, you can find a detailed moving abroad packing checklist online.
You should be rounding off the decluttering process and creating a full inventory of all the things you’ll be transporting with you.
Get a hold of the floor plan for your new accommodation (and if you’ve not sorted this yet, do this now!) to help you plan what you can fit in the space.
Start packing up the items you don’t envision yourself needing any time soon. The more you stash away now, the less you’ll be dashing around in a mad panic in the fortnight leading up to the move.
Storage and Removals
Seek out a self storage facility to keep things you don’t want to bring with you in the initial move. You can retrieve them at a later date or sell them on.
Gather a few quotes from various international removal companies too. Opt for the company that you think will be the most reliable and have them come assess the volume of possessions you have, giving you a proper pricing estimate for the task.
Make sure you invest in some moving insurance to cover the your back in case any of your possessions go missing or are damaged in transit.
As well as transporting your personal belongings, you need to arrange transport for yourself and your family!
Whether it be cars, ferries, planes, or trains, ensure that you book your tickets in a timely manner to avoid skyrocketing prices or sold-out signs.
If you have children, you should be spending time getting them adjusted to moving abroad.
Get them involved in the planning and have them look up fun activities like clubs and teams they can join in their future home town.
You’ll need to make arrangements with your children’s school for the move, giving them plenty of time to compile their personal files to pass on to the new school. Let any of the clubs and teams they’re currently a part of know that they’ll be leaving soon.
For some expats, moving abroad means saying goodbye to precious family pets, sending them to a new home.
If, however, you decide that your fluffy critters will also be making the journey with you, there are a few things you’ll need to get in check.
Just like you need a passport, so does your pet! Apply for a pet passport and also have them undergo a complete health check up to ensure they are safe to travel and able to enter the new country.
Before moving abroad, you need to let HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) know of your plans.
You’ll need to fill in and send them a P85. HMRC will work out if you’re owed any refunded monies.
You might still be liable to pay UK tax even if you don’t live there anymore – check what is expected of you. If you decided to rent your current property out when you move, this will affect your tax obligations.
Determine whether you can and if you would like to vote in the UK after you’ve left.
If it’s just a temporary move abroad, you can vote by proxy or by post.
If you plan to move away permanently, you can still vote in the UK for up to 15 years after you’ve left as long as you are a British citizen and were registered to vote in the UK in the past 15 years. Decide whether you want to look into this or explore the voting requirements in your new home country.
Crown servants and British Council employees based outside of the UK are eligible to vote as normal as long as they register themselves.
Decide whether you want to bring your own car with you when you move.
It may not be suitable to bring abroad so investigate the requirements for cars in your new country. Things like license plates may need changed.
Depending on the country you’re moving to, you may need to purchase an International Driving Permit (IDP) in addition to your driving license to cover you to legally drive there.
Alternatively, you can exchange your UK driving license for the license issued in your new home country.
Speak to your bank about your move. It is possible that they have services that you can use when you move abroad, like an international bank account.
If not, you will have to research the best bank to join in your new country, taking into account what bank is most accessible in your new local area.
Discuss with a banking advisor what steps you’ll need to take to manage your finances whilst abroad.
Book yourself in for a thorough health check-up and ensure that you have all of your necessary vaccinations.
Set up a plan for repeat prescriptions and have all your medical files sorted out to take with you.
Work out what your healthcare policy will be in your new country. Will you have to pay for it? What insurance will you need? Invest in coverage for all eventualities and find a GP and dentist to sign up with when you arrive.
One month to go…
It’s down to the wire! You have only four weeks to get cracking on with the rest of the critical items on your checklist for moving abroad.
Your packing should be close to complete now. Sell or donate any unwanted possessions and send the rest to a storage unit for safe-keeping.
For long-term storage, research the best ways to store clothing, electronics, and furniture so they’re still in good condition when you go back to them.
Contact your current utilities providers and let them know you’ll be moving out soon so they can set a deadline to end your contracts. You need to give most providers at least 48 hours’ notice, but it’s best to make these arrangements well in advance.
You should also set up a postal redirect with the Post Office, redirecting your post to a trusted family or friend.
Look out new utilities providers so you’re not trapped without Internet for the first month or so of living there!
Shape Up And Ship Out
Now that you’re in the final stages of your moving abroad checklist, it’s important to devote some time to get your current house ready to pass on to new owners.
Give your home a thorough, deep clean. Get those door knobs shining so bright you can see your face in them! Apply a lick of paint and repair anything as necessary.
Another important – and fun task – is to eat up the contents of your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Any food that you can’t finish off, donate to a friend or a foodbank.
Take all your final meter readings before you set off, keeping photographic evidence handy.
Checklist For Moving Abroad: Completed
Tie up any loose ends at this point to complete your moving abroad checklist.
Have a farewell dinner with close friends and family and round up any last minute things you need to feel comfortable in your new home.
It’s an exciting, if slightly frightening, time but following our advice on moving abroad will streamline the process, helping you to remain calm throughout all the organisation.