Moving Blog

How to Prepare for an Overseas Move

August 22, 2018

When you’re planning for a move, your to-do list seems to go on forever—but moving overseas is a different beast entirely!

However, with proper planning and a trusted preparation checklist, your overseas move will be a breeze!

Study up on your new city’s culture and traditions

The first thing you’ll need to do in preparation for your move overseas is a ton of research!

  • What’s the food like in your new country?
  • What language do they speak?
  • How do people get around: trains, buses or bicycles?

Learn as much as you can about the culture—knowing what to expect and being prepared to immerse yourself in the local lifestyle will make the transition a lot easier.

Research not only the culture, but the customs and courtesies that will make your new neighbors feel comfortable when you first meet. Simple things like how to shake hands (or not shake hands) and how to welcome someone into your home may differ from one culture to another, so it’s important to learn about those aspects before the move.

If you’re not already fluent, or somewhat fluent in the language you’ll be surrounded by soon, then it’s important to take some language classes! If you can take classes with a native speaker, that’s the best way to go. Watch TV shows and movies in your new language so that you can start to get used to the sounds and cadences of the language. Learning a bit of the language beforehand will come in handy when reading the street signs and navigating around your new city on the very first day.

If you’ve visited the overseas location that you’re moving too, then research may not be necessary. Skip the books and start thinking about paperwork and packing!

Complete the proper paperwork in order to make it overseas

Moving overseas comes with a lot of additional paperwork: consult an immigration official to make sure that you are filing the right paperwork with the right embassies, obtaining the proper immunizations, and so on. You will also probably need to get a work visa in order to stay in your new home country for an extended period of time, so start that process as soon as possible since it can take a bit of time to get everything sorted.

A few necessary documents and items to have with you:

  • Up-to-date passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Other forms of identification
  • Professional licenses
  • School records
  • Medical records

These items should be gathered ahead of time since most will take time to obtain. You may need some of this paperwork in order to receive the visas that you need, and you’ll definitely want to keep them handy when you arrive in your new home country.

Don’t forget immunization records and other documents required for your pet!

Plan a pre-move trip

Planning a pre-visit will give you the opportunity to sort everything out so that your official arrival is smooth and stress-free. If you haven’t found housing yet, this would be the perfect time to house hunt! If you haven’t visited in a while, this trip will help you get a sense for traffic patterns in your neighborhood, what your parking and commuting situation will be like, and even get to know a few of the local restaurants and hotspots.

Think of your pre-visit like a little bit of a vacation and spend a couple of days just getting comfortable in a new setting. Shop like you normally would for groceries and necessities, walk around the neighborhood, meet some of the neighbors, and hang out.

Start the Packing Process

“Packing” for an overseas move is a bit different than packing for an across-town move. You may want to get rid of some of the bulk of your belongings in order to stay cost-effective during your move. Remember that you can always buy additional items once settled into your new abode!

This means that you’ll need to do a serious purge of your current home, including a great deal of your furniture. Schedule a few garage sales, or post larger items to online marketplaces.

Anything that you don’t want to sell but can’t afford to ship will need to go into long-term storage, keeping those items safe and secure until you are ready to implement them in your interior design!

Moving in any sense can be overwhelming, but moving overseas comes with its own unique list of stress-inducing things to do! Luckily, if you plan ahead and follow this checklist, you’ll be well prepared when the day comes to board the plane. At Highland Moving, we have a vast network of international moving partners that we work with to pack and ship your belongings to your new destination. Give us a call at 604-581-2300 today to learn more about our exceptional international moving services!