Moving Abroad: Your Guide

20 August 2014

Relocating overseas is a big life decision. If a normal house removal is one of the five most stressful life events, then moving abroad is even more of a major deal. Yet there are specialist international removal and relocation services who can help make the transition a much smoother, easier one. There are several different parts of the equation that result in a successful international relocation, so let’s look at three key steps.

Residency, visas and work permits. People move abroad for many reasons: to retire, to find a better life in the sun, and for work reasons. Whichever applies to you, there’s going to be paperwork. How onerous this is depends on the country you’re moving to, and from. For example if you are an EU Citizen and moving to another country in Europe, you have the absolute right to do so and do not need to apply in advance. If you’re looking to relocate to the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand however – some very popular destinations – there’s a lot of work to do in advance. It’s vital to check with the Immigration Department and your own Embassy and Consulate as to the rules long before you plan to move, or put your house on the market. Most have strict criteria for entry and the process can be quite protracted. Start early: and in some cases, allow a good couple of years before expecting to move.

Even moving closer to home can require more paperwork than you might expect. In many countries you may have the right to reside and even buy property, but you may need to apply for a Certificate of Long-Term Residence if you plan to stay more than three months. Take Bulgaria, for example, a currently very popular destination for British, Turkish and Russian expats. You can indeed buy property, but may need to set up a Bulgarian company to do so. You need permission to reside long term. Getting access to health care, education and social security involves a lot of admin. The rules change all the time, so it may well be worth consulting a relocation specialist service who can do a lot of the worth on your behalf, no matter what your destination.

Physical relocation. Even a short sabbatical or placement overseas involves hauling a lot of your belongings. Luckily, there are specialist international removals firms who deal with this day in, day out. They can transport your household possessions by air, ship or freight – covering all the customs and import regulations, insurance and indemnities, as well as the plain old trucking across the world. You may well choose to drive your vehicle out to your new home, as long as your relocation is within a continent. The rest of your belongings can be taken ahead and unpacked in anticipation of your arrival. Don’t forget, if you’re driving, to check your insurance covers you and what the rules are for re-registering your vehicle in your new country, especially if you are planning to stay long term. If you plan to take your pets, look for a pet mover company as there are particular rules that need to be followed.

Making your presence known. It’s worth, and sometimes obligatory, to let local police know of your arrival. Also contact your local Consulate and alert them to your presence. They can offer help, contacts and advice. In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, they also need to know where you are so they can get you to safety.

It may sound like a lot of work. Being honest, it is. But an international relocation service will know exactly what to do, and can help ease the burden considerably.

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