International Moving Guide

Things to Expect When Moving to a Foreign Country

Moving to a foreign country doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, it can be one of the most exciting transitions of your lifetime.

However, international moves do require extra steps that most domestic moves do not. Anticipating and planning for these considerations will help relieve some of the anxiety of moving to a new country and prevent unforeseen setbacks.

Required Documents

Having the necessary documents to leave and enter a country are vital to a successful international move. Without them, you will likely experience unnecessary headaches and hold-ups, especially with today’s heightened security measures.

Applying for these documents as far in advance of your move as possible will help ensure they are processed and in your hands in time. It is recommended to allow three to four months to file for and obtain these items so plan accordingly.

Make sure to have all the necessary documents on you during your move. Do NOT pack them with your other high value documents. You may even want to make copies so you can have an extra set.

Leaving Your Home Country
The following documents are required when moving from your country of origin:

  • Passport – A photo ID validating your identity and nationality. These can be obtained at the US Post Office.
  • Certificates of Registration – Proof of previous possession of foreign made goods, such as stereos, appliances, cameras, and bicycles. Registering these items helps you to avoid paying duty on them. This can be done at your nearest customs office.
  • Vehicle Title and Registration – Proof of ownership of vehicles, ATVs, boats, and other vehicles. You can also register these at the customs office.
  • Firearm Registration – Proof of ownership of firearms. You will need to make sure your firearm will be allowed in your destination country. Also processed at the customs office.

Entering Your Destination Country
Before moving to your new country, check with your embassy to find out exactly what documents you will need. They will also point you to the appropriate offices to file for these documents.

Some of the most important documents to have are:

  • Visa – Permission to enter a country for a specified amount of time.
  • Letter of Recommendation – Written to the embassy of your destination country to verify that you are financially responsible. This letter can come from a financial institution, chamber of commerce, public official, friend, or family member.
  • Residence Permit – Report to the local registration bureau in your new country as soon as possible to obtain your permit.
  • Work Permit – Necessary before beginning work in a foreign country. Usually, it is your employer’s responsibility to file and obtain this on your behalf.
  • International Driving Permit – Some countries recognize the international driving permit while others require a specific license from their country. Check with the local transportation office or your embassy to find which you will need.
  • Immunization/Medical Records – Many countries require you to show proof of vaccination for certain diseases. Your embassy can inform you of which ones you’ll need. Get vaccinated early to be fully protected against disease.

International Logistic Considerations

Besides learning how to ask for directions in a new language, there are many other special considerations when moving internationally.

Like any move, if you are planning to take appliances with you, make sure they are serviced and cleaned before shipment. Refrigerators and freezers should be dried thoroughly beforehand to prevent mold or mildew. You should also make sure that your appliances meet voltage requirements in your new country. If they don’t meet these requirements or have an outlet adapter, they may not function properly.

International moves can carry considerably higher costs than domestic moves. Be sure to budget not only for shipping and transportation costs, but for other necessary costs.

These can include:

  • Travel cost and insurance
  • Customs duties and taxes
  • Document fees
  • Medical examination and vaccination fees
  • Automobile shipping and conversion fees
  • Tuition costs for children
  • Temporary housing and/or storage

Packing and Transportation Methods
The size and weight of your goods will determine the type of container and shipping method used. Large shipments are generally packed into lift vans or steel containers for ocean transport. Smaller shipments can be packed into heavy-duty cardboard boxes, called tri-wall boxes, and transported by air.

The type of transportation method and travel distance will determine the shipping cost and transit time. Nilson Van & Storage can provide estimates and tracking for your possessions so you can monitor their delivery to your foreign destination.

When tackling a move to a foreign country, help from experienced professionals is welcomed and needed. Nilson Van & Storage has access to experienced professionals in over 160 countries. Speak to one of our moving experts about your upcoming international move.

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