Your International Moving Checklist

By Laurel Brown
Special to Vanlines.com

Moving is never easy and an international moving is in its own challenging category. When moving overseas, you need to carefully plan and double, no triple check all details ranging from locating international movers, obtaining the proper paperwork to packing. Our moving checklist can help you take care of everything to plan for your international move.

1. Obtain Necessary Paperwork:
Most countries require visas for foreigners that live or work in their country for an extended period of time. In some instances, you may need a passport and id to enter into a country. Before you move overseas, find out about the out the specific requirements and paperwork needed to live in your new country. Start your research online by looking at the requirements established by the embassy or consulate. Once you have an idea of what the required paperwork is be sure to talk with an official over the phone or in person to make sure all data is correct.

2. Pick an International Moving Company:
Start your search early - almost immediately after you know you're moving - when looking for an international moving company. Ask friends and family members for their recommendations as well as through your own research. Check out moving companies for basic information such as years in business, Better Business Bureau rating, licenses, etc then call each potential mover and speak to a customer service representative. Right away, you can determine their demeanor and whether they are friendly and seem eager about your move. If you like what they have to say, ask more questions about their insurance polices, their experience moving to the country that you are moving to and when you can expect your belongings to arrive. .

3. What to Bring:
You will not need all of your personal belongings when moving internationally. One of the great things about this type of move is that you can bring less stuff, but you also have to deal with where your old belongings will go. The main items that you don't want to bring are bulky and impersonal items, like furniture, and items of extraordinary value like antiques. Consider throwing out items that are worn down, donating items to friends and placing items that you want to hold onto into storage. The essentials are really want you should be packing - think clothing, toiletries and medications and personal items.

4. Research Schools:
If you are moving internationally with your family, research schools in your new country to see which would be the best fit. Ask the U.S. embassy and expatriate contacts in your new country about recommendations for schooling. Contact potential schools to determine curriculum, facilities, class sizes, language issues and how credits are transferred (if applicable).

5. Look into Shipping your Car:
Before you ship your car, you need to decide if shipping makes sense. Are there special duties or tariffs on car imports? Is your driver’s license valid? What would be the cost to rent or lease a car after arrival? Talk to your international mover and the country’s embassy for advice and planning for shipping your car.

6. Pack your Items:
Now that you know what to bring; it's time to pack. When packing, separate your belongings carefully. Most of your items will be shipped via air and boat, which means that they will be very slow getting back to you. You will want to ship most things, but keep in mind that international shipping is slow. Make sure you have enough will you for the short term like important paperwork, clothing, medications and your child's favorite toy.

7. Obtain Contact Information:
Your friends and family will want to know how to get in contact with your before, during and after the move. It doesn't mean that they will be contacting you, but it is important to be reachable - in case of an emergency. If you will no longer have cell phone access, send an email before your flight and then after you land. Also be sure to have the movers contact information and check in with them before your flight.