Moving abroad requires a great deal of preparation, especially for those who are planning for a long-term assignment, travel or retiring abroad. If you are planning an international move, you will find the process can longer than you think it will. To better assist you during the transition, we will discuss six quick tips on how to plan an international relocation for future expatriates.
- Making Decision and Check All Important Documentations
It is critical that future expatriates should make a decision as early as possible. Once you have firmly decided to relocate overseas, you can move forward and make plans. Getting started a year or 10 months in advance will provide you with enough time to plan and react.
Another important reason for making an early decision is due to the processing time of work permit or visas required in your destination country. In some countries, it can take up to a year to process and approve a visa. Therefore, it is suggested that future expatriates apply and submit the required documentation as soon as possible. Make sure that your official documents, such as passport, birth certificate, ID card, driver’s license, etc… are all valid. Please check to see if your family member’s documents are in order as well if they are moving with you. In general, entry into any countries for tourism or business trip requires that your passport be valid for at least three months. If you are planning a long-term relocation abroad, it is better to have your passport with at least six months’ validity remaining.
Obtain other required documentation such as your children’s school report card, which is vital if enrolling in a new school in your destination country; and all legal documents that you plan to take with you: birth certificate, marriage certificate, medical records, bank drafts, medical insurance documents, etc.
- Arrange for Necessary Vaccinations
As international travellers, they may face many potential health risks and diseases. According to a new study published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine, more than half of the international travellers in the USA did not get vaccinated between 2009 and 2014. This may result in severe infection in countries where many diseases are prevalent. It is critical to arrange for necessary vaccinations before departure. For example, if you are moving to Hong Kong, suggested vaccines to consider are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Japanese encephalitis, Measles and Yellow Fever.
It is important to note that each country may have different vaccination entry requirements. It is recommended that future expatriates contact their doctors to verify additional vaccinations requirements of the destination country or region.
- Job Search
Another consideration is obtaining a job overseas. Most expats will want to start researching employment opportunities in your destination country long before leaving. It is essential to know whether you need any additional certifications or training, such as TOEFL/IELTS certification of English proficiency, research abstract (for early-stage researchers), teaching portfolio, a complete list of publications, second language skills, etc. We encourage future expatriates to apply for a job as soon as possible due to the processing time of work permit application.
For younger people who haven’t found a job but decided to move abroad, many countries offer a special programme to provide them with work opportunities. For example, in Canada, The International Experience Canada provides young people aged 18 – 35 from all over the world to work and travel in Canada. Future expatriates should try to do research and participate in this kind of programs and gain valuable working experience. Please keep in mind that in some countries there might be age restrictions. Please check carefully before you apply.
- Financial Assessment
Before moving overseas, it is suggested that expats have a full financial accounting and take into account the cost of living in your destination country, including apartment rental rates, property purchase cost, school tuition fees, meals and more. Try not to forget any moving expenses such as boxes and packing materials fees, transportation of furniture. If you are lucky, your employer may provide some assistance and subsidies for your expat assignment. All future expats should also look into your expat tax obligations in both your home country and your destination country. Check out our links page for some great expat tax accountants. Contact your bank and get a global account for internet banking. If you have mortgage or loan payments in your home country, please also set up a direct payment account with your bank while you are away.
- Language Training
Communication is crucial for expatriates who want to live and work overseas. If expats are relocating to a destination country with language barriers, the interaction could be complicated for their integration and even career. This is especially true if expats are in dangerous situations or medical emergencies. Therefore, it is recommended that future expats receive basic local language training before departure. It will also accelerate the adjustment of foreign expatriates.
- Obtain International Health Insurance
International health insurance coverage is a necessity and should be the top consideration of future expats. Make sure you and your family are covered by a comprehensive medical plan in your destination country. Expat Financial offers a wide range of expatriate health insurance plans designed specifically for any expatriates of any nationality around much of the world. With expat health insurance plans, you and your family’s health are protected through an appropriate level of expat insurance. It is quite easy for expats to obtain a quote for one of our comprehensive international health plans. For more information and to review the plans that we offer, contact our office or visit our international health insurance page. You can still purchase global medical coverage if you have already moved abroad.