We all love to travel to faraway destinations, but what about when a job comes calling that would involve a major uproot and move to a new city. Most people would tell you that of course they’d love to move somewhere totally new, but when faced with the logistics of pulling off a move like this, some would be surprised to find all the small details that are contained within a successful international move.
Moving is never easy, and it only gets more complicated when you’re moving across national borders. Modern careers can send us far and wide across the globe, but we aren’t all walking around with a head full of knowledge about immigration and import/export laws. Relax: here’s your guide to your international move.
By far the most stressful thing about an international move is the paperwork involved. You’ll need visas to live abroad, and that involves you, the government, and your employer. You’ll want to look into changes in things like tax laws, and you’ll want to check what you can bring with you into your new country. Will the things you bring be taxed? Will they be allowed?
All of this changes on a case-by-case basis, but you can make things easier by following a few simple rules:
Organize! Before you make a single call or sign a single form, write down and organize everything you know about this process. Put every due date on one calendar, and put every form you’ve heard of on one list. Speak with your new employer and with government officials next, and see if they can tell you anything you’ve missed. If they can think of something new, write that down, too! Revisit your guide often and if something new or forgotten comes up, add it to your organizer immediately.
Start early. Your organizer is now full of deadlines. Don’t count on others (like the government or your employer) to be quick or competent. Start everything early and give yourself a big margin for error – including the errors of others.
Keep records. Duplicate and scan everything. Keep it in folders (either physical or computer will do). This will help you know what’s been done – and replace lost forms if the government or your employer messes up.
Get help. They aren’t always going to be competent, but you should still try to get as much help as possible from your employer and the government. Call to ask questions, check and double-check, and see if there are resources available to help you!
An educated decision
Having children in school makes moving a new country even more complicated. Be sure to research the local education systems. Are they good? Are classes conducted in a language your child speaks? If the answer to either of these questions is no, look for private school options. Many countries have foreign-language schools for transplants. If you’re moving between two countries that speak the same language, you may also be able to find a school that has the same philosophy as the one your child is leaving behind. If you child attended a Montessori school in California, try to have them attend a Montessori school in Toronto, too. It will make the move less extreme and give your child a sense of normalcy.
Transporting your transportation
Depending on the laws and taxes relevant to your particularly move, you may want to take your car with you. But you can’t drive home to the United States from Germany after your stint in the military, and while you can drive from Florida to Montreal, you may not want to. Consider car shipping. You can ship cars by boat or choose exposed or enclosed car shipping on the road. Depending on your situation, it may cost less than you think to ship a car.