What do you need to do before moving to a new country?

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Text author: Sam

Are you planning on moving abroad permanently? Maybe you’ve dreamt of an international move for years. Or did the pandemic change things and cause you to rethink your life goals? 

Whatever the reason for your big move, you’ll have a few things to tick off the to-do list before you can set up home in your new country of residence. To help you focus your efforts, here’s a rundown of the key pieces of admin to clear ahead of your big move. 

Where to start

At this point, it’s likely that you have your heart set on a particular country. Whether you have family over there already and you’ve visited regularly or you’ve holidayed there and have always imagined moving there for good, living somewhere is very different to spending a few days or weeks there. 

Before you look at the admin side of things, it’s essential that you do some research into everyday life there. Join forums for ex-pats who’ve already made the move and read the local news so that you know what’s happening. 

If it’s possible, try to book out some time to rent an apartment and spend a month or two getting a feel for what it’s like in your target country day to day. If that’s too big a leap right now, see if you can spend a couple of weeks over there and try immersing yourself as much as you can in the culture. 

Your big move checklist

Once you’re sure you want to make the move, you can focus on the admin.

Visas and passport


Begin by making sure your passport is in date and ensuring your visa is in order. The visa you need will usually depend on the country you’re moving to. Check the guidance and ensure you’ve applied for the relevant visa ahead of your move so that you’re not worrying about it once you’re in your new country. 

It’s important to note that visas and other details vary depending on the country you move to, so read up and make sure you know what steps you need to take. 

Gather your documents 

As well as ensuring our passport is in date, it’s worth getting a copy of this made in case you lose it. Also make copies of your license, birth certificate and other information that might be relevant like marriage certificates and medical records. You might also need to show proof of your health insurance – even if you’re going to a country that doesn’t use medical insurance. 

Find a home for your belongings

Arrange what’s going in storage and what’s going with you. Look into shipping companies to see how the process works and set aside some of your budget to cover this. 



Setting up a bank account is another important step. Look at the different banking options available to you and it’s helpful to understand how your credit score works too. This is because your score could be reset to zero when you make the move, meaning that you have to start over. 

It could be a good thing as you have a blank slate. But on the other hand, it might mean that you need to quickly build up your credit history so that you’re in a good place to buy property or take out finance on a car, for example. 

Think about where you’ll live

Arrange rental property to stay in or book the spare bed in your friend’s apartment before you board the plane. Having a base ready to go before you set off is essential. 

Cover photo author: © Kadarius Seegars from Unsplash

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