Moving abroad is something that many people dream of. Exploring new places, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures, I mean, what’s there not to like?
But for all its benefits and prospects, moving to a different country does come with many challenges. For starters, the logistics of relocating to a place you probably don’t know anyone can be a nightmare.
To help you with your relocation plan, we’ve prepared a checklist of things you need to do before hopping onto that plane.
1. Save Money
Migrating to a new country can be very expensive. This is particularly so if you are moving to a country with a high cost of living.
So how much money are you supposed to save? That depends on several factors. Start by gathering as much data as possible on the living expenses of the country you are moving to.
Most experts would recommend moving with at least 6-months worth of expenses in savings. This is on top of the initial air ticket, shipping of materials, and other costs incurred while processing your documents.
You should also prepare yourself for unexpected expenses. So many things can go wrong when moving to a new country. You could arrive and find your new home is not yet ready, forcing you to spend a few days in the hotel. Something could go wrong with your documents forcing you to incur extra charges on the road.
Account for all these factors while preparing your migration budget.
2. Get Your Documents In Order
Different countries have different requirements as far as documentation goes. However, a passport (valid for at least six months after your travel date) is pretty standard in all countries. It also won’t hurt to bring along your birth certificate and driver’s license.
For couples, a marriage certificate is almost always required.
Make sure to back up virtual copies of these documents on your phone or in the cloud.
Since you’re planning a permanent move, find out what the qualifications for a permanent residence are.
You should be able to find most of these details online. But if you need help to navigate your immigration process, consider hiring a professional. This is actually highly advisable because dealing with foreign immigration laws can be very overwhelming.
A local immigration lawyer can smoothen this process for you. You’ll also find them very useful if you are going to a country that doesn’t speak your local language.
3. Know Where You Will Live
Finding a decent house in a foreign country can be extremely hard. This is, after all, a country you know very little about. You don’t know what part of the city is safe. You also don’t know where house rents are within your budget.
However, you can reduce the house-hunting stress by checking classifieds or hiring a real estate agent.
If you have a friend in the area, ask for their help.
One hack you may consider using is renting out an Airbnb for a month or several weeks. This is an expensive option, but it does give you some time to familiarize yourself with the area. You can then search for a home in person and with less pressure.
4. Plan Ahead For Your Health Insurance
It’s crucial to have health coverage whenever you are traveling. The last thing you want is blowing all your savings in a single physician visit because you didn’t plan ahead for your coverage.
Some countries may also require you to have a travel insurance policy until you can get the state fund coverage.
Check the health insurance coverage of the specific country you are moving to before booking your flight.
Something else you cannot afford to overlook is vaccinations. You should be able to get this information from immigration or government sites. For instance, US residents can get details on vaccinations from the CDC website.
5. Learn The Language
Start learning the local language before getting there. This is pretty easy, thanks to the dozens of language apps and software on the internet. Some apps are actually free, so you won’t spend a dime on this.
However, for you to master the language, you’ll probably need to take a class once you get there. But until then, use an app and learn a thing or two to avoid looking completely clueless when you land at the airport.
6. Learn About The System And Culture Of Your New Home
Research the system and cultures of the country you are moving to. How does the tax system work over there? What ceremonies and national holidays do they have? What are some of the taboos in that area?
It’s pretty hard to squeeze all the necessary migration preparations in a 15-minute read. However, the above guide covers the essentials that will give you a smooth transition into the next big chapter of your life. All the best!