What to Prepare for an International Move

International moving is often a long process that requires a lot of planning and preparation to keep things developing as they should and running smoothly. When taking on an international move, it’s imperative to follow the right procedures for you and your family to keep things on track and to ensure that all of the many variables at play fall together as they should.

From finding the right international movers to packing your things, to preparing yourself and gathering documentation for a huge transition like this, international moving is a huge undertaking that can be pretty overwhelming if you’re not taking the time to plan and breathe. So where do you even begin to prepare for a move like this? We’ll run you through the best tips to improve your international move so that you’ll be more than prepared to get on that plane and start your new life abroad.

How to Choose an International Professional Moving Company

Before we get into an international moving checklist, let’s get one of the biggest considerations out of the way for you and your relocation: finding the right movers to take on your overseas move.

When looking for international movers, you should first look for a company with a lot of experience in the industry in general, and who also has years of experience specifically in international moving. If you work with a company that has never performed a successful international move before, or one that’s never moved entire households or businesses overseas in the past, you’ll be setting yourself up for a stressful process that could involve a lot of obstacles and complicated hardships.

Instead of making this already-complicated process more challenging than it has to be, work with a professional moving company that will not only move your items overseas without hassle or stress but who will also help you through the international moving process itself.

Always look at third-party review sites for genuine reviews from past customers who have used the company you’re looking at for international moves in the past. See what their customer experience was, and what the overall consensus on your movers’ level of customer service and overall professionalism was throughout the entirety of the process. This is also a good way to see how the professional moving company handles a poor review or negative customer experience.

Always compare quotes and shop around to look at estimates from multiple companies before making your decision. This is the best way to not only get you the best deal on your moving services but to also help you spot moving scams or those who won’t give you the service you need for a move of this scale. Don’t get us wrong – if you’re not sure where to look for an international moving company, it can be hard to choose the right one for you. Once you’ve shopped around, see what Arpin Van Lines can do for your relocation to make it a smooth and seamless international move and to go above and beyond to give you the best service and pricing.

International Moving Checklist

Now that you’ve found the right international movers for you, it’s time to begin preparation for the moving process! To perform a successful international move, you’ll need to follow some critical steps to keep you on track and to allow you to prepare important action items gradually instead of rushing around. The following are our top international moving tips:

  1. Save Up!
  2. International moving can be very expensive, especially if you’re moving by yourself or without financial help from an employer. Even the cheapest international move for an entire household can be very expensive, especially if you need specialty services or are moving to a very far away country. The best thing you can do to prepare for a move of this scale is to save up as much as possible to try and prepare properly. This goes for paying for your services, plus covering your emergencies or extra expenses.

    If you’re moving for a job or to follow your existing company to their new location, you should also check with HR to see if you’ll receive reimbursement or some compensation for these expenses.

  3. Prepare Government Documents
  4. Whether moving to study abroad, applying for a work visa, or looking to immigrate permanently, international moving also requires you to prepare the proper paperwork needed to establish temporary or permanent residence in your new country.

    Some of the most important documents you need to prepare for a move of this scale are your and your family’s passports, Visas, or citizenship applications, as well as having copies of existing documents like birth certificates, marriage licenses, social security cards, drivers licenses, medical records, insurance cards, and financial records on hand.

    If you or your family’s passports are expiring soon or are already expired, keep in mind that they can take over 2 months to process and be sent to you once renewed (or if you’re getting your first one), so start this process well ahead of time to ensure you’re good to go.

    If you’re planning to work or study in your new country, you’ll need to apply for a work or student visa. These also take time to process and can be complicated to ensure that you’re getting the right type. Leave yourself plenty of time to research your visa, permanent residency, or citizenship application process to keep your move on the right track.

  5. Notify Government Agencies
  6. When you move to another country, you’ll need screenings done by both your government and the government of the new places you’re headed to. When moving, you’ll need to notify USPS, Social Security, the IRS, and DMV, and will need to adjust your voting registration. You should also enroll in the US State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so that you can locate the US embassy in your closest vicinity easily. This will also put you on the embassy’s records so that they know that you are in your new country in case of an emergency.

  7. Form Your Travel Schedule
  8. Once you’ve gotten the right document processes going, have booked your international movers, and have saved up enough money to cover your relocation, it’s time to start the planning process for your moving schedule yourself.

    You should always start planning your international relocation as soon as possible – whether your move is a few months off or a year or more away. International moving involves so many moving parts and requires a lot of preparation, so you’ll want to start early to keep yourself on the right track. To keep your move running smoothly, don’t forget to…

    • Book your flight to your new country (or research when the lowest flight prices are if you’re planning far in advance).
    • Plan your route to and from the airport in both your current and new country, whether through Taxi, Uber/Lyft (if available in the country), or train. You don’t want to land in another country without a plan to get from there to your new home – especially if you don’t speak the language. Plan ahead to ensure you can get to your home safely and efficiently.
    • Take time off for your travel and to settle into your new space.
    • Book any hotels that you’ll need.
    • Familiarize yourself with the layout of your new country, and prepare any directions you might need.
    • Prepare yourself to get a new phone or SIM card for your move at the airport or when you arrive. You can also lookup international phone plans if you’re not staying permanently and want to keep your US phone number.
  9. Settle Into Your New Home
  10. Having a comfortable transition into your new home abroad is integral to your entire process and allows you to be comfortable in your new country. Thankfully, you can prepare a lot of things ahead of time to allow yourself to settle in smoothly.

    • Make Living Arrangements
    • If you’re headed to a new country, you should of course make sure you have somewhere to live when you arrive. Whether you’re going to be renting an apartment, buying a home, staying with family or friends, or even living in a long-term Airbnb, always set yourself up right for when you arrive.

    • Find Work
    • If you’re not moving with your employer or for a new job, you’ll want to look for jobs well ahead of time to sustain your lifestyle and have a steady income once you’re in your new home. If you’re headed to a tourist-heavy destination, you can always start off working in hospitality or in food services that require fluency in English to tide you over until you find other work in your field.

    • Find a Bank
    • Opening a bank account in your new country will make working and spending easier, especially if your current US bank has international transaction fees. Notify your current home bank about your move as well to avoid having your cards frozen when you try to use them upon your arrival.

    • Get Your License
    • If your new country requires you to drive and you’re interested in doing so, obtain your license in your new country and register your car if you plan to bring it with you overseas. Always research your new country’s driving laws and guidelines to know what you’ll need to know to get out on the road.

    • Set Up Healthcare
    • Notify your current health insurance provider of your move, and see if they can insure you overseas (whether moving short or long term). If they can’t make plans to get travelers’ insurance (for temporary or permanent moves) or research the health insurance provided by your employer overseas or by the country you’re headed to.

      Always get prescriptions or any medications you require ahead of time, and in 6 or 12-month quantities if possible to give you plenty of time to work out your insurance without worrying about your health.

Now that you’re on your way to preparing for your international move properly, we hope you’re excited about the process and for what your life abroad might bring you. International moving is complicated but so worth it for those who want to expand their horizons and lifestyles past their current country.

Looking for the right international moving company for your needs? See what Arpin Van Lines can do for you and your family’s relocation when you use our international moving services today.