A “How To” Guide to Moving to Another Country

Written By

Machaela Casey
International household moving services concept. 3D rendering

How Do You Move Internationally?

Moving locally or cross country can be a complicated process requiring extensive planning. Moving to another country takes that complexity to another level. But, with good planning and the right relocation partner, the process can be a very positive and rewarding experience.

How hard or easy the experience depends on preparation and following some key steps in the process.

1. Permission

Immigration document

First and foremost, it is necessary to secure permission to live in the host country. Immigration status will affect the ability to rent or buy property, obtain employment and import your household goods and personal effects.

While many countries will provide information on their consular websites regarding what is required to obtain a visa or gain citizenship, it is highly recommended that a skilled immigration specialist be consulted to secure permission to live and work in the host country. The type of application will depend on the reason for immigration: retirement, work, research, studies, etc.

Depending on the country, the requirements may be relatively simple, or quite cumbersome and complex requiring local experts to secure locally sourced documents and information.

Once a visa/citizenship is obtained, home search and move planning can begin based on immigration status.

2. Home Sweet Home

Visa/citizenship status, and local laws, will dictate permissions for purchase or rental of properties.

Engage a local realtor or destination service provider’s expertise regarding the types of property available, as well as any local laws, restrictions, and documentation that may be required to secure housing. They will also be helpful in finding neighborhoods within budget and that maximize lifestyle preferences/needs.

Once housing is secured arrangements may begin for the movement of household goods and personal effect.

3. Moving House

As in obtaining housing, visa/citizenship status will dictate if a household goods shipment will be allowed, and whether or not it will be dutiable.

Each country has specific rules regarding the eligibility of imports.

Some countries will only allow one consignment within a certain amount of time after personal arrival in the host country. Others have restrictions on shipment size and quantity of given items, such as electronics. And still, others have strict prohibitions regarding certain items for import. Special permits may be necessary for certain household items.

Engaging a professional international mover with extensive experience is key to avoiding difficulties at the destination. They will ensure that all documentation is in place prior to the arrival of goods in the host country, and that items with restrictions have the proper permission for import, and that prohibited items are not included for shipment.

The moving process will begin with a virtual or in-home “survey” of the items to be shipped. The results of the survey will allow the international moving company to provide an estimate of cost and other planning details. Most reputable movers provide this service free of charge.

A Word of Caution

While it might be tempting to manage the process personally in an effort to save money, consider the number of steps, the complexity of documentation, the various parties involved from start to finish, and the consequences of missing a detail. Getting experts involved on the front end is well worth the investment to ensure a smooth transition with minimal stress.

An Exciting Adventure

Whether considering retiring, working or studying abroad, by planning carefully, and engaging the right professionals, moving to another country can be the adventure of a lifetime.