Moving abroad can be an exciting opportunity, but a challenging challenge as well. Taking a sabbatical to somewhere for a few days or weeks and actually living at someplace else are two entirely different experiences. Although it’s exciting to adopt new cultures and look for new opportunities in a foreign land, you’re still going to have to make innumerable courageous choices and plans on various fronts. In light of all of these, knowing where to begin can be tough and confusing.
People move abroad for a variety of reasons, from pursuing higher education to chasing a better employment opportunity to finding a better quality of life. In fact, a study made by AFS and the University of Essex found that people who have lived abroad are less stressed and anxious and have a higher level of self-esteem.
In an effort to assist you to move overseas, Lexagent has compiled this glossary of information to aid you in familiarizing yourself with the relocation and planning process. If you’re still messing around with the concept of resettlement or are going to move for sure, this guide will act as a useful resource that can support your embarkment on your new adventure.
When planning to move overseas, among the most important things to remember is the criteria to move to the country of your choice first. It is important to take care of the necessary paperwork in order to be able to travel first. These include getting a passport, a work permit, a visa, an international driver’s license, and other required documents to ensure that the relocation process is very fraught with obstacles. When the groundwork has been taken care of, you can start with the checklist to move abroad.
Checklist for Moving Abroad
Whether you’re moving to another country for a fresh start or dreaming about how to do so, there are numerous considerations to think of. Given below are the most significant things you should bear in mind and we’re going to cover them exhaustively in this guide.
Picking the Right Country
Deciding the country where you are going to live is perhaps the most critical factor. Beginning a new life in a new country is an expensive, time-consuming exercise, and practically, you have only one chance to do it right.
Maybe you have always wanted to live in another country. If this is the situation, please ensure that the reality measures up to your vision. If you are starting from the ground up, and you have no real knowledge of what you should be looking to do, you can start with the following.
Decide upon a place that matches your lifestyle requirements. It should make almost all your essentials available to you. For instance, a place might be your dream destination, but if it isn’t as liberal as you would like it to be, you will probably get tired of it soon. Make a list of all your priorities; this could include religious tolerance, tolerance towards sexual orientations, low crime rate, a good healthcare system, etc.
Preview Visit & Pre-Arrival Calls
After you have decided where you will be relocating to, it’s time to see for yourself what your future haven looks and feels like in person. Before the beginning of your relocation process, however, ensure to make a pre-arrival visit to the country of your choice to understand the nature of labor awaiting you to have a successful moving experience.
Make sure that you gain a holistic comprehension of all the basic amenities you care about when you make a trip to the country. These things include but are not limited to checking out the administrative infrastructure of the country, its medical and support services, the local customs of the place, the amenities for transportation, residential, and commercial spaces, etc.
Say you have made your preview visit to a country but are not sure which location is best for you. After all, many countries have vastly contrasting states and the quality of life in one area of the country can be unlike another place. As such, you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a dystopian locality that ends up making you curse your fortune and your ill-inspired move to such a place.
It bears mentioning that while your endeavor to find a city or area is as important as any other feature on this list, it can be physically impossible to roam the country in a few days to decide when and where you will end up. In light of this, it’s a healthy practice to seek the aid of an expat relocation agency. Such agencies usually provide you an overview of your choice of cities, while also arranging for necessary amenities that help you conduct a swift tour of the area. They also help you familiarize yourself with the laws and customs of the area by serving as a manual of introduction.
Finding a Home for Expat Renting
After you have selected the nation you’re going to be living in and the place that you would like to relocate to, it’s time to pick a home on lease. At the outset of your house hunt, ensure to search for homes online since it is the easiest way to know how much you can get for your money before settling down.
However, don’t be hasty while choosing a home. Make sure that you never rent an apartment before checking it or you could end up with a place that doesn’t live up to your ideals. That’s why it is essential that you line up a host of viewings in lots of separate areas, while ensuring that all basic amenities to get by are present in and around those areas, and spend a few weeks deliberating on your options before you make your final choice.
While leaving can be challenging for your children, it can become a highly rewarding venture for them. Expat children have been known to be more broad-minded and self-assured, and are considered to have better chances to mature into intelligent, informed adults.
However, when you’re going, make sure that the quality of education that your child will receive is high enough. You will find more opportunities in a bigger town than in a rural area. Although fees of state schools are relatively cheap or even free, fees for international schools will be high. As with everything, what you pay for is what you will get, so make the choice after considering your budget and the level of education you want to bestow upon your child.
While renting a home or an apartment is one thing, tenancy management is a whole other ballgame. The reason behind this is that tenancy management poses a lot of headaches to both the expat and the institution that they will be working for.
Say, for instance, you move to a different country for another job. While you have managed to find a place for yourself to live, you haven’t accounted for lease negotiation, procuring the legal documents for verification of ownership (if you are buying a home), or how to liaison with the landlord. Such things can increase your burden and the amount of money you have to spend to get things in order.
Once you have identified the area, rented a place, and have gotten the paperwork in order, comes the time to actually settle in. While this isn’t as daunting as the previous items on the checklist (provided you have followed them to the T), it certainly can be a long-winded one, especially if you are looking to secure permanent residency.
While there is no exhaustive list of all the particulars one may need for settling in a particular place, it pays to get at least the basics in order. These things can range from trivial but important stuff such as getting a handyman or a nanny for your daily chores to more necessary things like utilities (telephone, satellite TV, WiFi), driver’s license registration, tax filing know-how, etc. It would do you good if you get the more necessary stuff out of your way first so that you can start the actual process of settling down in your new home sooner.
Cultural & Language Training
Your move to a country will only be as comfortable as you yourself make it. And one of the essential drivers of this act is your accustomization to the heritage of your new home through learning its local language or adapting to its customs. While it isn’t necessary to make yourself go through with these things, your living experience might not be as fulfilling if you don’t.
A word of advice would be to throw caution to the wind and bask in the local flavor of the city. Get yourself acquainted with local customs and start polishing your language skills, picking up things bit by bit and using them every day. This will ensure that your experience is not only fulfilling but you also settle down quicker.
People move abroad for a variety of reasons, and when these are met or fulfilled, they move back to where they came from. If you are moving to a new country temporarily, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with all the exit formalities beforehand and by a considerable margin.
In such situations, it is always better to seek the help of expat agencies. Such agencies can help you expedite your exit process and also help you with the necessary paperwork before you go back.
While the checklist above covers all the necessary and basic particulars that you should take care of, there are various other miscellaneous considerations you might have to go through depending upon the duration of your stay. Irrespective of how long you plan to live in your new home, however, the list below mentions a few such considerations that are worth getting into order:
– Money and banking
– Getting currency transfers right
– Filing taxes
– Taking your pet with you
– Expat pensions and investments
– Medical insurance and healthcare
Moving overseas is undoubtedly a huge decision, one that will determine the quality of your life as a whole. As such, it only makes sense to not be hasty about it and conduct a holistic hygiene check of all the specifics and fundamentals required before going through with the decision. The checklist mentioned above will help you ensure that you at least get all the necessary things in order before your big move. If you are still unsure or confused on how to get ahead with the whole process, contact Lexagent today.