Make a List and Check it Twice! Tips to Help You Prior to Moving Abroad...
If you’re sick of freezing rain, traffic jams and high taxes it may be time for you to head to Latin America for a change of scenery and pace of life. Or maybe you’ve already secured your piece of paradise and are just waiting for your custom home to be built before making that permanent move…
It’s beyond exciting when you’ve actually set your ‘big move’ date and circled it on the calendar. But that’s the easy part! As soon as you have that date, the list-making begins. Or at least it should… it would be extremely frustrating to forget anything during this transition, and the best combat to forgetfulness is to write it down.
Today’s checklist is a good primer, especially for those of you out there (you know who you are!) that typically fly by the seat of your pants…
Keep it low-tech
Making notes or jotting down points as they come to you is much easier scribbled on a notepad or in a notebook then on a computer or in a smart phone. Chances are if you’re not near either of your high-tech gadgets at the time you think of it, you’ll forget it. And trying to sit down and remember everything in one shot is equally difficult. So get yourself a couple of those old-fashioned modes of note taking along with a shoebox or accordion file. Why? Because although you may not realize it now, there are a lot of documents, receipts, maps, etc that you may not only have to refer to while still in your native country, but also once you move.
This is where that box or accordion file comes into play. Start collecting all of your important documents:
- Copies of birth certificate(s)
- Original passport(s) with at least two photocopies. Also make sure that your passport is valid; certain countries won’t allow you to enter with less then 6 months from your expiry date.
- Copy of your marriage license (if applicable)
- Some countries will want to authenticate your current residency status via a utility bill. Keep an up-to-date original in your box, just in case.
- If you’re considering residency in a new country, you will likely be required to prove your income. Hold onto at least 3 months worth of bank statements and proof of continued earnings.
Visit Your Doctor
Make an appointment to have a full physical exam as well as advice on any necessary vaccines your doctor recommends for where you’re going. It’s also a good idea to ask to take your medical records with you, in addition to several months’ worth of prescription refills.
Touch Base with the Embassy or Consulate
As soon as you have your ‘move date’, contact the embassy or consulate of where you’re headed. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what you need (visas, permits, licenses, etc) as well as provide the forms for you to complete. Once you’ve received all necessary documentation, put it in your ‘collection’ box or filer.
Make a Vet Appointment
If you have pets making the trip with you, schedule a vet appointment as soon as possible. Many countries require specific vaccines, and there are sometimes quarantine waiting periods. It’s a good idea to have copies of your pet’s immunization records for the ‘collection’ box as well.
Meet With Your Bank
You’ll want to advise your existing bank of your relocation plans. Almost all banking transactions can now be done online, but it’s a good idea to let them know where you’re going and that all correspondence will now be done this way. Also, if your credit card(s) are with other companies/banks, contact them to let them know that it truly is you using your credit card in a faraway land. The last thing you want is a frozen credit card account!
Cancellations and Mail Forwarding
Call your utility companies and schedule disconnects or cancel them altogether. Also, don’t forget to cancel any memberships or clubs that you pay into, as well as your home and car insurance policies. It’s also a good idea to have your mail forwarded either to a family member or friend, until you’re set up in your new home.
Purge and Pack
This can be tough for some, fun and easy for others. Depending on how much you’re taking with you - furnishings? Vehicle? - you have some decisions to make. Shipping your belongings is an option (go HERE to read more about packing for a move abroad) as is renting a storage unit in your native country. Consider your reasons for moving and the expected duration for a guide of what/how much to bring. One thing that’s certain… those winter clothes? Donate them to a good cause; you won’t need them in Latin America!
The reality of a move abroad will really set in once you start going through the motions of a checklist such as this. And, as mentioned in the last point, your reason for moving as well as the duration will play a big part in how easy the entire process is.
Regardless of where you’re headed, it’s always a good idea to visit your destination a few times before committing to live there. A really great way to do that is on a Discovery Weekend… you’ll have an opportunity to check out an area, tour a variety of property/home options and ask the developer and others living there plenty of questions.
So what are you waiting for? Your future is waiting for you! Visit on a Discovery Weekend now!