Overseas Moving Checklist


Begin consular procedures

  • Begin consular procedures, request information on how to obtain your visa, residency and work permits before you leave. These procedures take time, sometimes many weeks – even months. Begin as soon as possible.
  • Check the documents required for the exportation of your goods from your country of origin and for their importation into the country of destination. Your status may enable you to benefit from certain advantages, such as the obtaining of an ” EXEMPTION “. This will avoid you having to pay duties and taxes upon importing your used personal effects.
  • Consider renewing your passport and those of all accompanying family members. These should be valid, at least, until your next return to your country.
  • Establish international driving licenses. Depending on the country of destination, you might have to obtain a local driving license by going to a local driving school and eventually passing a practical /theoretical driving test. In all cases, keep your actual driving license with you. It may be requested by the local authorities in order for you to avoid having to pass a test.

Educating yourself about your country of destination

  • Start informing yourself about your country of destination by surfing on the net or by obtaining guides, brochures, videotapes and CD ROM’s, to be read and watched by all family members. Some expatriate sites will guide you in your host country or in your native land.
  • Check the electrical supply available at your country of destination. Ask your local electrician if your electrical appliances will function with the use of adapters and/or transformers. TV systems will need be compatible too, don’t forget to check this.
  • Familiarize yourself with the currency in your destination country; some currency converters are available via Internet.
  • Assess your abilities in the host country language. Maybe you require some language tuition.
  • A Cross-Cultural program will be useful for you and your family. There are seminars available to prepare for international relocation, these are designed to help expatriates communicate and do business successfully.

Searching your new home

  • Try to obtain information about real estate market in your destination country. Visit web sites and online newspapers to have an idea of the prices in the country. Sometimes, there are expatriate’s neighborhoods (not far from international schools); a good realtor will provide you with this information. If the destination country is not too far from your own, a home search trip should be arranged.
  • In some countries appliances are included; in others (particularly Anglo-Saxon countries), is not easy to find a house without furniture. The type of accommodation on offer in the country will influence the final cost (moving furniture, just personal goods or storage for several years, etc.)
  • Relocation services exist to help expatriates in moving and settling. These services are sometimes paid for by the employer, because expatriates will be expected to become productive as soon as possible after their arrival with no concerns about housing. The relocation companies will help you with the inventory of fixtures before moving-in, with all of your contracts (gas, electricity, water and telephone companies or insurance, etc.), they may help you to discover your new country (city tour, open a bank account, etc.) even ask for a visa for you.

For parents

Now is time for you to search a school for your children. Some international organizations gather international schools and give the accreditation of the curriculum and educational levels compared to schools in the county of origin.

Your health

  • Search health information available about your country of destination, via Internet you will find the latest information for travelers, with health information on specific destinations. Check for hospitals and how healthcare is structured in your new country.
  • Take out an international health insurance able to cover you and your family in any case (even in short term missions of several days).
  • Don’t forget vaccination requirements for travelers of all ages. Some vaccines must be given several weeks before leave, ask your GP to schedule this.
  • Ask your GP, dentist, ophthalmologist and any other specialists to renew all your prescriptions so that you can continue your treatment abroad. Do not forget to ask for your medical files.


Your Move

  • Begin your list of all household goods and personal effects being moved. Contact at least two moving companies. Arrange for an appointment for a pre-move survey.
  • A pre-move survey is the key a successful move. During this visit don’t hesitate to ask about the period of time required for delivery, the mean of transportation that should be used. Explanation of all the human and technical issues concerning packing and unpacking, anticipation of additional services (external elevator, difficult access, disassembling and reassembling of furniture, packing of heavy / large items, etc.) Is the reassembling of the furniture included in the quote? Is an additional insurance coverage necessary? What documents have to be submitted to the customs? If your goods share the same container this will be cheaper or will direct transport be faster?
  • If you have a pet, ask if they can transport it and be in charge of customs regulations (you are responsible for medical documents and vaccines)
  • Compare quotes (price, services, volumes/weight estimate). Following these procedures, choose your mover and determine the date for Packing operations.

Trip organization

  • Make Airline or Rail reservations. Be sure to keep your tickets after arrival. These could eventually be requested at your destination for Customs Clearance purpose.
  • Make a car rental reservation if necessary.
  • Make plans for temporary accommodation for the post – Packing period on Relocation Index (section Apartments). The same should be done at destination, whilst you are waiting for the final delivery of your goods.

Change of address

  • Inform your local authorities (Condominium Association etc.) of your forthcoming departure.
  • Inform the various organizations of your forthcoming change of address. Transfer your subscriptions or cancel your contracts.
  • Where possible, it’s recommended to shut off water, light and telephone 24 hours after moving date, in case moving day falls behind schedule. Make the same arrangement at your destination, everything must be installed 24 hours before you move in, this will avoid any unpleasant surprises.


Start cleaning

  • Have your house linen, curtains and carpets cleaned
  • Sort out your goods and disregard those you will not be using anymore.
  • Contact all benevolent associations to whom you’ve decided to donate all effects that you will not be moving. Set up an appointment so that these can be picked up from your home.


Continue cleaning

  • Clean your bicycles, garden tools and furniture and empty the tanks of all combustible items.
  • Now is the time to sell or donate all unwanted effects. Do not forget to return things that you had borrowed from family or friends.

Give all your new contact details

  • Give your new contact details to your circle of family and friends. Make sure that the moving company have both your addresses; at origin and destination. Any intermediate contact numbers should also be transmitted (parents, hotel, etc.).
  • Reconfirm your moving dates to your moving company. Make sure you have their addresses at origin and destination.

Preparing packing

  • Arrange to have your children looked after during the packing and loading operations.
  • Add adapters and/or transformers to your shipment. These are necessary for the operation of your electrical appliances at destination. You will also be able to purchase them before the delivery of your effects in your new residence.
  • Begin your “Valued Inventory List” of all household goods and personal effects being moved. Fill the inventory in while being as precise as possible.


Last details

  • Prepare your luggage: consider season and likely weather conditions in the destination country on your arrival.
  • Use destination stickers to sort out your goods by destination or method of transportation (by sea, by air, etc), if more than one destination (storage, cottage, etc) or method.
  • Start dismantling your furniture, removing curtains, pictures and light fixtures, unless the moving company is contracted to provide this service.
  • Clean and let dry all kitchen appliances to avoid the appearance of mildew during shipping. Disconnect all electrical and cover naked wires where necessary.
  • If at all possible, reserve a parking spot for the removal van or container as close as possible to your residence. Loading operations will become much easier.
  • Put aside a few soft drinks and some food for the packing crew in order to optimize their working conditions.


  • Put away all important documents and articles of value (passports, airline tickets, cash, travel addresses, destination country contact details, portable computers, phones, keys etc.) that you wish to carry personally. This will avoid having them packed accidentally.
  • Upon the arrival of the packing crew, you should go round your home with the crew foreman and point out all that needs to be packed. If you have any special requests; i.e. packing of your beds last, now is the right time to mention them.
  • Before the truck or container departure, you should go round your home with crew foreman if some goods were left behind.