If you are moving overseas, there are many steps that you can take to make the process less stressful. Contact your local consulate to get all the necessary information about applying for an appropriate visa or residency permit. Make sure that you are organized and financially prepared for the move. Once you arrive in your new country, make an effort to explore and socialize to make the most of your time there.
EditTaking Care of Essential Details
- Visit your local consulate for information. To find out what steps you should take to move to an overseas country, visit your local consulate. Ask about long-term visas, and whether the application process has to be completed before you embark on your move. These laws vary from country to country, so it is important to inquire about the specific requirements for the country you want to move to.
- If there is no consulate located near you, contact the U.S. government with your questions at https://www.usa.gov/contact.
- Apply for a work visa if you have a job in the country. Most travel visas last no longer than 3 months, making them unsuitable for a move overseas. Visit your local consulate to get the proper paperwork to apply for a work visa. As a general rule, the application process either requires that you prove that you are working at a job that is sending you overseas, or that you have a job lined up for when you arrive in the country.
- Have your current or new employer issue official proof of employment to you to present to the government.
- You can also apply for a temporary residency if you do not have work lined up. 
- Register for the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program if you’re a US citizen. The STEP program allows U.S. citizens to enroll with a local embassy or consulate when they are travelling or living abroad. As a member, you will receive information, assistance, and the possibility of contacting friends and family back home in an emergency.
- Visit https://step.state.gov/ to enroll.
- If you are not a U.S. citizen, look online for a similar program in your country.
- Work out your health coverage plans for your new country of residence. Most medicare and insurance policies will not cover the cost of overseas medical expenses. Ask your insurance provider for a quote on high deductible policies that would cover your medical fees abroad, or look for an insurance provider in your new country and get a quote. Research the cost of paying out of pocket for different everyday or emergency services in your destination country to compare costs.
- Do research online to see if your medical fees might be covered by your new country’s government.
- Contact your bank to inform them of your move. Moving to a new country can have financial implications due to the change in currency and distance from your own financial institution. Contact your bank as soon as you decide to move to work out the details of your overseas financial situation. Depending on the institution, your bank may still be able to serve you without drastically altering fees or account settings.
- Redirect your mail to a trusted loved one or mail forwarding service. You are bound to receive mail after you move overseas, which will end up at your former residence or get lost. Visit the post office to redirect your mail to the address of someone you trust to open certain correspondence that might be important. Alternatively, you can register for a mail forwarding service, where an employee will scan your mail and open it for you whenever necessary.
- Prepare to file taxes in both your home country and destination country. After moving, be sure to address your tax requirements by consulting government resources or getting professional help. Contact the nearest municipal tax office in your new country or visit the department’s website to get information about filing requirements and deadlines. If you are unsure about how to proceed, hire an accountant or tax preparation service to file your taxes for you.
- If you are a U.S. citizen moving abroad, visit https://taxmap.irs.gov/taxmap/internationalindex.htm to search for specific information about your taxpaying situation.
- Visit your doctor for vaccines and an international proof of immunization. Depending on where you are moving overseas, it might be necessary to complete your immunizations before you leave. Visit your doctor several weeks before your move so that any vaccinations you may receive have time to take effect in your body. Your doctor can provide you with an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet, which may prevent possible visa complications down the line.
- Visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel for more information about what you should do to safeguard your health before travelling to your destination country.
- Learn the country’s primary language for easier communication. If you are moving to a country that communicates primarily in another language, take the time to learn basic words and phrases before moving there. In emergency situations it may be beneficial or necessary to communicate clearly. Buy language books or software, visit translation websites, or take an introductory class to learn the fundamentals of the language.
EditCompleting the Moving Process
- Research living options online. Get a sense of the apartments, condos, and homes available in the neighborhood you will be working in overseas. Visit real estate websites for that region to see listings and inquire about some by email if you are interested in them. Online classified ads for the city you are moving too may also yield good living options.
- Take a short trip overseas to find a living space if you can budget for it. The best way to find somewhere to live in your new overseas home is to visit before your move. If you can afford it, take the trip at least a month in advance to secure a new home. Make arrangements with the landlord or real estate agent about when you can pick up the keys upon your final move.
- Book your flight overseas as soon as you decide on your moving date. If you want to find cheap airfare, it is best to book your flight overseas as early as possible. This will also leave you time to contact the airline about issues that might come up about bulky or heavy luggage or other concerns. If possible, book a refundable flight in the event that your moving date needs to be changed.
- Sell or give away belongings that are difficult to move. It can be difficult and very pricey to move your possessions with you overseas. Pare down your belongings as much as possible before leaving. Sell furniture, heavy possessions, or unnecessary items through online classified ads, social media listings, or within your own social circle.
- Hire a relocation company if you have a lot to transport overseas. If you opt to bring furniture, appliances, and other belongings with you, hire a relocation company. A relocation agent can take care of the scheduling and paperwork for this transport, which is usually done through sea containers. Ask your relocation agent how you should pack your boxes to optimize the transport and prevent issues, such as damage or customs delays.
- If you choose to handle this alone, you will have to handle customs declarations, insurance coverage, port documents, packing details, and other legal considerations on your own.
- Pack the boxes securely with bubble wrap and tape. The boxes you pack your belongings in should be secure enough to protect their contents during their voyage. Use thick cardboard boxes that are assembled with strong packing tape. Cover your items with bubble wrap before packing them.
- Add extra layers of bubble wrap around breakable items like lamps or dishes.
- Pack the items you will need right away in your travel suitcases. When you actually move overseas, keep the things that you need immediately in your suitcase. These items should include clothing, shoes, toiletries, and medications. You should also be sure to have your wallet, cell phone, identification cards, and important travel documents with you.
EditAdapting to the New Country
- Make new friends by frequenting local hangouts using networking apps. To make friends in a new country, you must be proactive. Visit the same local coffee shops, restaurants, bars, or other hangouts to build up a familiarity with the staff and local patrons. You can also sign up for a social networking app that will connect you to other people in your area. For instance, Meetup will allow you to meet individuals with similar interests for organized activities.
- Watch local TV, listen to local radio, and read local newspapers. Staying up to date with local news and events is good way to feel included in your new country. Exposing yourself to the country’s language in audio and visual form will also help you absorb it better. Tune into local TV and radio shows and read the local paper as much as possible to stay informed.
- Do tourist activities in your new home to get to know the culture. Immersing yourself in the cultural activities of your new city is the best way to settle in and feel at home. Visit tourist centres or ask local people about the main attractions of the region that any traveller should visit. Read up on the history, customs, and traditions known to the area.
- Update your wardrobe to suit the country’s weather and style trends. A move to a new country will likely mean adapting to a new climate. If your current wardrobe is not appropriate for the weather, purchase the items you need to be comfortable and practical. To fit in with local fashion, observe style trends and visit local stores to shop for new items.
- For instance, if you move to a very rainy region, you might invest in rain boots.
- Fight homesickness by staying active and engaged. Feelings of culture shock or homesickness are best dealt with by keeping your mind and body occupied. Exercise and participate in activities that make you happy, such as dancing or listening to your favorite music. This will improve your mental and physical health, making you feel better overall.
- Contact loved ones back home with email and video conferencing. While regular phone calls can be very expensive on landlines or cell phones, you can use the wifi to communicate cheaply. Use a video conferencing platform like Skype to communicate with audio or video calls to loved ones. You can also keep in touch with email if busy schedules or a time zone difference prevent live calls.