What to expect: Relocating beyond Canadian borders

What to expect when making the leap beyond Canadian borders

For those eager to hop on a plane and permanently relocate to a new country, there are a myriad of things to consider before even packing a suitcase or your household goods. Since processing paperwork, cleaning, packing, and learning the regulations of your new home will take time, preparations should begin at least three months prior to the move.

What to expect: Relocating beyond Canadian borders

Before you leave

All expats should ensure they have a valid passport and work permit well in advance. Check to ensure passports have not expired. To obtain a work permit in any country, you must have received a job offer from that location. Rules for visas vary by country, so check online before the move.

Be sure to make a list of all things that will need cancelling. This may include anything from bank accounts to landscaping services or car insurance, depending on your situation. Be sure that no one is left without notification. Credit card companies that are not notified may place a freeze on a card that is used in two different countries.

Also, determine whether hiring a moving company is a cost-effective option, or whether you'd rather sell some belongings and purchase new ones after the move.

If you opt to have a company move you, ensure they are bonded so that they are able to relocate your goods to your new home. If they are not, this will delay the arrival of your goods to the desired location.

Moving to the U.S.

For those who plan to move to the United States, there are several forms to fill out ahead of time. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website provides these.

The Customs and Border Patrol website will educate you on what can be transported and how. Be sure to consider whether you really want to relocate permanently, as it is acceptable to visit the US for up to six months. Visitors are barred from working in the US, but permanent residents must simply acquire a work permit.

Taking care of finances

No matter where you move, Canada requires residents to file a tax return for the year in which they relocate. It is important to file in both your new and old location, so as not to accrue unknown debt. Speaking with an experienced accountant will clear up much of the confusion surrounding tax and pension issues.

Lastly, be aware of differences in the cost of living. Read up on currency and foreign exchange rates to ensure you will not be overwhelmed by moving charges and basic living expenses.

Do your research, pack wisely, and you're well on your way to an exciting new adventure. Bon voyage!

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