How to make your international move easier

November 25, 2014

Heading to a new home can often be a headache, but moving abroad presents a whole additional set of challenges.
On top of the usual difficulties, matters such as customs, immigration, new electrical and television signals, as well as bringing children and pets to a new country, can feel overwhelming. Here's how to make it easier for yourself.

How to make your international move easier

Start the immigration process early

Assuming you're moving to take up a new job, your employer can smooth the way with immigration formalities. If you are doing it yourself for example, if you're retired, avoid making firm plans until you check with immigration authorities about the necessary clearances. Begin at least a year in advance of your intended move and consider consulting an immigration lawyer.

Compare moving costs

While going DIY is possible for international moves, complications in truck rental, pricing and other logistics can make it quite a challenging and stressful option. Instead, consider starting the process at least six months in advance of your move by contacting moving companies to get quotes on container moving.

Begin with a quote for moving the most important items in your house; this is your base cost. The numbers will help you compare the cost of shipping your belongings with the cost of buying replacements for your new home.

Be prepared to replace your appliances and electronics

Electrical items and televisions may not function in your new country. While the United States and Canada use a NTSC television signal, other parts of the world use Phase Alternate Line. That means, for example, that a Canadian television won't work in places like Brazil or China.

You can use an electrical adapter and converter for electronics and small appliances like hair dryers, but for larger appliances like refrigerators, consider selling your old one and buying one locally when you arrive.

Smooth the move for your pets and children

For animals, be sure to check the requirements of the destination country. Some pets will require microchipping and a certificate of good health as well as up-to-date immunization from their current vet. Certain countries, like England, also have strict quarantine requirements when pets come into the country.

With older children who are familiar with schools and have established social relationships, the impact of moving can be worse than for younger children. To help manage the transition, familiarize yourself with the schools, doctors and other support services in your new home before arrival. You can also share information about their new school, and try to establish email contact with teachers so your older children can get to know a few people in advance.

Using these international moving tips to plan ahead and do a little advance research can help decrease the stress and difficulty you'll face dealing with challenges like immigration, foreign electronics, and moving pets and children.

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