Each year, millions of Americans move overseas for new job opportunities, retirement, exploration of different cultures, and even love connections. Moving abroad can be an exhilarating prospect. Planning for it can feel like an adventure in itself. If you’re starting to examine the process, here are some important tips to put on your checklist.

Research Residency and Visa Requirements

Every country has their own laws involving work visas and how to become a permanent resident. Some countries are more strict about this process than others. Before making any plans to move overseas, make sure you understand what is legally required by that country for you to live or work there for any amount of time.

Visit Your Destination Before You Move

Go to the desired location at least two or three months before your move. It’s essential to get a sense of a new city and new culture before relocating permanently. This will help you understand more about local operations and customs and what you need to do once you get there. Walk around the area where you plan to live. Check out banks, shops, laundromat, grocery, and other businesses whose services you’ll need.

Seek Guidance from Locals and Professionals

Do you know someone who lives in your new destination? It’s advantageous to have someone who can provide local knowledge about where you’re moving. They can scope out potential jobs and give you advice on which areas are most desirable to live. Regardless of who you know, when it’s time to commit to a home, a real estate professional is essential for guiding you through the search process and helping you find what suits your budget.

Join Expat Forums

There is a vast community of expatriates online and in the real world who have been through what you’re about to do. Join these online groups to know as much as you can about moving to the country you’ve decided on. Through these forums, participants can offer critical advice on things you might not have considered. They might even be able to recommend an appropriate real estate professional to find a new home.

Learn the Local Language

Learn as much of the local language as possible. Enroll in an online class or attend classes when you arrive. You probably don’t need to be fluent, however, it pays to know the basics so you can talk with locals when you buy food, wash your clothes, or go to the bank. The local citizens will also appreciate someone who can respect their language.

Know Local Rules and Laws for Driving

Are you planning to drive in your new residence? You’ll need an international driver’s license, which requires learning the rules and laws of that country. While there are basic universal things like speed limits and road rules, some driving laws and customs will be different. Also, an international driver’s license is not accepted in some countries, so do your research in advance. In some instances, you may need to look into how to get a local driver’s license.

Plan How to Move All Your Belongings Overseas

You’ll have a long to-do list before and during the move. Certainly one major concern is making sure all your things get there in one piece. When it’s time for relocation, compare services and prices of international moving companies for hire. Unlike simply moving out of state, relocating abroad means that you’ll need to be selective about which belongings to move, particularly larger items. At most, you will take your clothes, laptop, books, and accessories on the plane with you. If you’re bringing furniture or appliances, an international moving company is vital.

The success of your new journey depends largely on your preparation. Making the right choice of a mover that will transport all material things you own is a critical step that should come early in the planning process.

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Real Estate Term of the Week

Customs Clearance: Official permission to brings goods into or out of a country. An importer can file documents 30 days in advance of the expected date of arrival of a vessel, which facilitates customs clearance.

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