Dreaming of moving abroad, but have no idea where to start? We are here to help! Global relocation can be a complicated and intimidating journey to embark on, but with the right support on your side, you won’t have to suffer sleepless nights stressing about the logistics of moving abroad.
Take a look at these 8 steps to help you relocate to a different country.
Step 1: Decide on a relocation destination
The obvious first step is to decide where you want to move to. The main motivations for expats to move abroad include finding a new job, being relocated by their employer, attending school or university, seeking a better quality of life, accompanying a partner or family, and embarking on a new adventure or personal challenge. Your profession, family dynamic, available budget and travel preferences will all play a role in deciding where you want to relocate to.
Step 2: Find work abroad
Finding a sufficient source of income is arguably the most important step in the global relocation process. Moving abroad can be expensive, so you will need financial security to cover all relocation expenses. Unless you are self-employed or work remotely, it is best to secure a job before you get started with any other relocation administration. When relocating to a new country permanently, you’ll likely need to prove to the immigration authorities that your job skills and experience can contribute to the local economy. Your employment conditions will also affect the visa and work permit application process. At this stage, you could also start looking at school, university and daycare options for your kids, if this is relevant to your relocation situation.
Step 3: Get started with visa applications
Once you’ve decided on a country to move to, you’ll need to research visa requirements. Each country has different visa regulations that may further vary depending on your country of origin. Carefully research the different visa options and application requirements for the country you are moving to. Working with a relocation agent to apply for your visa will take a big load of stress off your shoulders. Enlisting professional help is especially useful if you need to battle through complicated work permit applications and organise visas for the rest of your family.
Step 4: Start looking for accommodation abroad
When planning a move abroad, it’s never too early to start researching accommodation options. More often than not, it’s better to look at temporary accommodation first to allow yourself time to get to know your new city before making any long-term contractual commitments. Deciding where you are going to live requires a great deal of consideration. Whether you’ll be working from home or commuting to the office every day, whether you’ll be using public or private transport to get around, whether you’ll be living alone or with family or roommates, and how much you are willing to spend on accommodation each month will all factor into this decision.
Step 5: Get the logistics in order
When relocating your entire life to a different country, there are plenty of logistical tasks to take care of. Figuring out how to pay utility bills in your new city, setting up water, electricity and/or gas, internet and mobile phone contracts, and more. Don’t worry about this too much — many of the things on this list will fall into place once you arrive and start settling into your new environment. Very important to consider is healthcare insurance. Before the big move, look into the healthcare options in your new country of residence. Depending on your situation, you could consider getting expat health insurance as well as general travel insurance to keep you covered in times of need.
You’ll also need to tie up a bunch of loose ends at home before you depart. This may include setting up a mail forwarding address, cancelling any subscriptions and services, managing your finances by converting to an international banking service (or going local in your new country), and getting your taxes in order. If you own property, you’ll need to decide whether you are going to sell or rent it out for extra income. You could appoint a property agent to manage this for you.
Step 6: Prepare for change
Moving abroad is a big step in anyone’s life. While a new pace of life is exciting, it can also be overwhelming, especially if you move to a country with major cultural and environmental differences from what you are used to. You could prepare for some of the changes you’ll be facing by talking to other people who have relocated to a different country in order to gain a bit of perspective. You could also join online expat communities to start networking and learning about your new city.
Further to this, you could start learning the language of the country you plan on relocating to. When moving to a foreign country, language barriers can make it particularly challenging to find your feet. Taking language acquisition classes, using language teaching apps, and immersing yourself in the language through music and movies can help to make the transition easier.
Step 7: Ship or sell your belongings
As you get closer and closer to the big day, you’ll need to pack up your house and either sell your belongings or ship them off to your new home. International shipping is a practical solution if you don’t want to get rid of your furniture and other personal items. Although it can be expensive, it might be more affordable than having to buy everything new once you arrive in your new city. Deciding whether to ship or to shop is really up to you.
Step 8: Book your flights
…And off you go! After months of planning and preparing, you are finally ready to pack your bags and order a cab to the airport!