Moving to a new country is an incredibly exciting adventure, but it can also be terrifying and overwhelming. Depending on your new country, you might need to navigate not just a new language (which is daunting enough on its own), but a new culture and government with different rules and regulations. Here are some of the basics you need to know before taking the plunge and moving to another country.
Have a U.S. Mailing Address
Depending on your new home, mail delivery might be less than reliable, and many companies (not to mention the U.S. government) require you to have a U.S. mailing address, even if it’s not your official residence. It can be just a P.O Box, but it’s preferable to have an address that someone will be sure to check regularly in case you get something that needs an immediate response. Whether you give them access to your P.O. Box or have your mail sent directly to their place, make sure it’s someone you trust to check your mail regularly.
Buy a Local SIM Card
If you don’t, you’ll pay roaming charges, which can cost you a small fortune.
Know the Visa Requirements
If you’re moving overseas for work, your employer is probably taking care of your residency requirements for you, but it’s still a good idea to make sure you know what the requirements are. Every country has their own visa and residency laws, and they can get pretty complicated, so make sure you check and double check the requirements of your new home to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Take Care of the Basics
What about healthcare? Many, but not all, countries expect working expats to contribute to and participate in their state coverage plans. Know if this will apply to you and your family, and make alternate arrangements if you won’t be covered. You should also figure out whether your US drivers license will be accepted, or if you’ll need to obtain a local license. Finally, if you’re moving with school age children, learn the basics about both state schools and private options.
Stay in a Hotel or Airbnb First
You should never agree to rent an apartment (and you certainly shouldn’t buy any property) before you see it first. Doing so across international borders leaves you vulnerable to scams and there are always people in every country willing to take advantage of that vulnerability. If you’ve never been to the country that will be your new home, consider staying in a hotel or renting an Airbnb when you first get there so you can scout the local area and determine which neighborhoods you prefer. For this reason, it might be best to keep most of your belongings, including your furniture, in storage until you find a place to settle down, which means you’ll also need to scout out storage options before you move.
Alert Your Bank and Credit Card Companies
Foreign transactions on your credit cards often cause instant security alerts, which can lead to your accounts getting shut down so you can’t access them. Be sure to avoid this nightmare by alerting your bank(s) and credit card companies where you’ll be moving to and the date of your move.
Along with this is to make sure you have a credit card that does not have foreign transaction fees because credit card companies won’t hesitate to charge you a fortune for those transactions.
Leave a Copy of Your Passport, Credit Cards, and American ID with Someone in the U.S.
If something happens to your luggage, or you get mugged, you could be stranded without access to any of your money or identification. Be sure to make photocopies of all your cards and identification and leave them with someone in the U.S. so they can fax them to you in case of emergency.
Ask for Help
Finally, there’s the task of actually moving your life to a new country. Moving your whole life from one place to another can feel like a monumental task even when you’re just moving down the street. It can be that much harder when you’re moving to a new country, which is why Allied is here to help.