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Moving Overseas from Australia Checklist


Living abroad is not for everyone, and there is a lot to think about before planning a move overseas. Most people spend significant time thinking about a move like this while at the same time discussing their plans with family and friends beforehand. They also do a lot of research online to help with their decision of whether to relocate and start a new life overseas or not.

Whether your goal is to become a permanent resident or a non-permanent resident of another country because of career, business, education, culture, healthcare, or cheaper cost of living, one thing is for sure: you’re about to make a really big, life-changing decision.

The thought of being in a totally new environment with a possible language barrier is already a lot to take in. It can be strenuous, even more so if you think of packing, unpacking, cleaning, and securing storage on your own. Not to mention the custom compliance, paperwork, visa application, and a lot more things that need to happen in between.

The whole relocation experience is way more complicated than just moving your stuff from home to a nearby suburb, and we hope we can provide you with some helpful and relevant information in this guide below.

Essential Moving Overseas Checklist

If you are thinking of moving from Adelaide to any of these countries—the UK, USA, Europe, South Africa, or New Zealand—we thought that you might need a comprehensive guide to help you prepare and execute a smooth and successful relocation. There’s a lot of things to consider and talk about, so let’s get started.

Plan Your Budget

One of the first things you need to consider when moving overseas is the cost of living. But whether it's going to be more or less expensive than your current lifestyle, you will still need to do some research and plan your budget in advance.

You’ll need to consider any additional expenses you’ll incur, such as flight tickets, moving rates, and travel fees, as well as the changes in tuition fees, housing, and taxes, among others. You’ll also need to take into account all the factors that make up your standard of living in a new country.

Review Your Tax Obligations

Even if you move to another country, you will still have tax obligations, but there might be provisions to help lower your tax liabilities. We advise that you meet with an accountant to find out what your tax status will be when you are living abroad.

Prepare Your Documents

Among the first few steps in any international move is to have all copies of your documents and records in one place, from your passport to your marriage certificate, and research all other necessary paperwork. It is important that you do all these in advance to save time and avoid delays. Below is a list of some essential documents needed when moving overseas.

  • Passport

  • Visa

  • Work Permit

  • Birth Certificate

  • Marriage Certificate

  • Driver’s License

  • School Records

  • Medical Records

  • Legal Documents

  • Social Security Cards

  • Pet Vaccination Records

  • Other Important Documents

We advise that you consult an immigration professional to make sure that have everything you need to move overseas legally and to also understand immigration laws and other policies about importing your goods overseas.

Transfer Your License and Other Records

Every country has different licensing requirements and transfer policies, which means the country you are moving to might not accept or recognise your current driver’s license. That considered, it is safe to anticipate having to obtain an international driver's license to drive legally in countries like the UK, USA, Europe, South Africa, or New Zealand.

You may also consider updating your car registration, switching to a new bank, and notifying your network provider of the change of address. We advise that you research these in advance and process the transfer when necessary before you move, so you don’t have to worry about any timing issues and any possible employment gaps.

Get the Kids Enrolled in School

If you are moving with your entire family, you want to make sure that by the time you are finally settled in a new country, you won't have to worry about which school to enrol your kids in.

We advise that you look for the right school first and make sure to get in touch with them about your children's transfer because you will likely need to submit some certificates and entry requirements. Finding the right school prior to your overseas move will give you enough time to familiarise yourself and your children with the switching process. Clear communication with your children can help your children to respond more positively and self-regulate their behaviour, which assists with the transition process.

Secure Your Pets

Moving on your own can already be a stressful experience, and moving with pets can make it much harder. You also want to make sure your pet is prepared for the long-distance move, so it would be best to schedule a veterinary examination to check your pet's health before the moving day, find out what precautionary measures to ensure your pet's safety, and have copies of vaccination records and a health certificate.

In addition, you also want to make sure your pet is allowed to come into the country. So before you head overseas, make sure you verify the new country’s local quarantine requirements and government regulations associated with pet transportation.

Ensure Your Moving List Is Accurate

Moving overseas requires more time and planning than moving to another city (or to a farm within the same country). With the consultations and processes you need to go through with immigration, customs, and overseas shipping, it is only reasonable that you start planning at least six months before your moving day.

There is no better way to start your move than writing yourself a checklist of what needs to get done and gradually ticking off a few items each day until the moving day. Your inventory is essential in making sure that your list is accurate and that nothing gets left behind. It will also help you keep track of the entire moving process and even help with possible insurance claims, so it is important to include the condition of your items for your records too.

Declutter Before Your Move

As much as you’d like to take every item with you overseas, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do so, especially if you’re downsizing. So, what should you do with the unwanted items?

First, review your inventory to make certain that all the things you need to pack are listed. Second, gather all the unwanted items in one place to save space so you can also keep an eye on them. Third, we recommend that you either send those items to donation centres, put up a yard sale, or sell those unwanted items online.

Last, if you simply cannot declutter during your pre-move, many moving companies in Adelaide offer decluttering services that are especially useful in a range of situations, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Preparing your house for sale

  • Preparing to move and downsize

  • Preparing to move or sell a deceased estate, including deceased estate furniture removal, deceased estate furniture clearing, and deceased estate clearance

  • Reducing gross volume to bring your removal costs down

Prepare to Pack Your Items

Oftentimes, knowing where to start when moving overseas can be the most confusing part. If you are planning to pack on your own but still can’t decide which items to pack first, we have outlined a list to help you begin.

  1. Prepare the right packing materials—boxes, packing paper, plastic wrap, and others.

  2. Start packing the least used items or the ones in your storage room.

  3. What follows are your delicate items—china dishes, crystal glassware and valuable electronic equipment, such as laptops, heavy-duty dash cams and spare LED driving lights.

  4. Proceed with your out-of-season clothes, which may already be in boxes.

  5. Then focus on the items that are for aesthetic purposes only—décor and artworks.

  6. Last to pack are your books, shoes, jewellery, towels, and linens.

Bonus Tip: Clearly label your boxes according to what room of the house they belong in, especially those oh-so-fragile items.

Choose a Shipping Method
Choosing the right shipping method, whether it's air freight or shipping by sea, is a crucial decision in the international moving process. Air freight offers speed and efficiency, making it suitable for urgent shipments. On the other hand, shipping by sea is a more cost-effective option, particularly for larger quantities of goods. Making the right choice depends on various factors, including your budget, the volume of belongings, and the timeline for your move.

A shipping company will be able to assist you in making the best choice for your specific needs. We recommend that you start requesting a quote 2–3 months before so the shipping company can book you in on your preferred completion date.

An overseas move is a long-distance move with different requirements to comply with and follow, so informing your chosen removalists team months before your target move date gives them enough time to plan and prepare for your relocation. In doing so, you will also have enough time to accomplish the other important tasks, such as having your documents in one place.

Compare Quotes from Different Overseas Shipping Companies

Calling only one shipping company to request a quote might not be enough. Just like how you check the inclusions and prices of other service providers, the same thing can be done with overseas removalists.

Moving rates are a large determining factor when choosing the right moving company, so it is important to request a moving quote from at least three professional moving companies to give you a good idea of what price range to expect and the inclusions provided by each one.

Often the best overseas moving solutions are not the cheapest; they simply provide a much better overall solution for your individual needs, taking care of all the hard work for you from the very beginning through to the end and ensuring a smooth international move with minimal stress.

Book a Removal Company to Help with Packing

It goes without saying that you need to research potential removalists first before giving them a call. To help you decide which moving company is the best choice for moving overseas, here are a few things you need to consider:

  • Accurate cost estimates based on the same factors

  • Additional, unique services to accomplish your overseas move

  • Positive client reviews and proven excellent customer service

  • Check for AFRA accreditation and other affiliations like the AMG

Insurance Is Always a Good Idea

When your goods are being moved—especially overseas—there is much more risk to them. Even if you have Contents Insurance, it’s very likely that your existing policy will not cover moving. When you take out insurance with your chosen removalist company, everything is covered from the second they walk in the door. That considered, you need to find a reputable company that is licensed and highly experienced.

Embarking on an overseas move requires meticulous planning and attention to detail. By following these guidelines and seeking professional assistance when needed, you can ensure a smoother and more stress-free international relocation.

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