Essential Moving Abroad Checklist

Moving overseas is an overwhelming experience. We planned our adventure for six months and by the last week, we were exhausted. I literally had black bags under my eyes by the time we were ready to go.

I have compiled a small checklist of the items that we found the most time consuming and brain draining. My hope is that I can make your overseas move just a little bit easier.

Note: these considerations are for U.S. residents only

  • Breaking the News – Prepare a soft blow opening statement for your loved ones. It will be more emotional for them (and you) than you think.
  • Material Possessions :
    • Selling everything you own – a great way to make more money; don’t have to pay for storage or shipping costs.
      Note: This is what we did. It was extremely cleansing and allowed us to redefine how we lived our life. When the flat screen was gone, we didn’t miss it at all.
    • Store your items – if you’re gone only a short time and don’t want to sell then use this UHaul website as a resource for approximating your costs. In Denver, it would have cost us roughly $1500 to store our possessions in a 10” by 20” unit for 6 months.
    • Ship your items – this is by far the most expensive option and one you will need to plan far in advance for. Some places will require that you get your items to the east or west coast first.
  • Visas – If you have a one-way ticket you will need to prove that you will not stay in the country beyond your standard entry visa. For example, in Thailand you can stay 30 days without a visa from the U.S. Thai Consulate but you will have to prove you are leaving the country by presenting an onward ticket to another country. Click here to access the U.S. State Department’s website. They have visa information for all countries.
  • Speaking of the State Department – it’s a great idea to register your trip with them. They will put you on file with the U.S. Embassy located in your destination country. If you need any government assistance on your trip, they will already know you are there. Click here to registerAlso check out their helpful tips for residing abroad
  • Taxes – If you, like us, will be overseas during April 15th you will need to secure a person to PDF and email you your tax returns. Using Turbo Tax is a great way to file overseas. It’s affordable and they can directly deposit or deduct what you get/owe. Also, look up the income tax law in your in your country of origin and the country you are moving to. The Unites States’ foreign income tax law can be seen here. Keep in mind that you might be able to exclude your foreign income.
  • Mail – keeping in line with item 4, there is no way to stop all your mail. We opened a UPS box and sheepishly asked our friend to be our mail slave. She will send us our tax returns and inform us of any important items we get in the mail while we are gone. If you do this, don’t forget to change your address with your bank and your former employer so they know where to send tax items.
    Thank you BFF chicken for being our mail slave!
  • Phone Number – No matter what someone will want to contact you on a local number. Your bank is a good example; they may want to contact you about potential fraud, etc. For a small fee, we simply added a phone number (with our state’s local area code) to our Skype account. Click here for more info.
  • Speaking of Banks/Credit Card Companies – don’t forget to notify your bank/credit card company that you will be traveling overseas. If you suddenly have a lot of international activity, they may suspect fraud and suspend your accounts. Calling from overseas to fix this would most likely not be an easy task. You should also consider getting a credit card that doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. Check out this helpful list.
  • Freezing your credit – if you will be gone for an extended period of time, it is not a bad idea to freeze your credit. What this means is that a potential fraudster would not be able to use your social security number to open any loan account (credit card, mortgage, line of credit, anything). Identity theft is a pain and is difficult enough to repair at home; overseas it would be almost impossible. Do this through the Experian website at:
    • Downfall – This also means YOU would not be able to open a loan either. So if will be using your social security number overseas to get a mortgage, credit card, etc then you would be denied.
    • Bonus – you can cancel this service at ANY time. When you sign up you will get a 10 digit pin that allows you to cancel your credit freeze.

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you have any questions/comments/advise please feel free to contact me anytime.


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