International Moving Guide - How To Move Abroad 2022

Ultimate International Moving Guide

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International Moving Guide

As 2022 continues to get better, you plan to actualize your idea to move abroad, but where do you start? Moving abroad can be exciting and thrilling, but the logistics and planning can be overwhelming irrespective of the country you would like to move to.

However, the lengthy process is easily manageable with the right steps. Here is a reliable and comprehensive international moving guide for you.

Chapter 1 - What Does International Moving Services Include?

Moving to another country needs a lot of preparation and planning. Fortunately, you can hire international moving services from reputable companies to help with the logistics and make the process less tedious.

Before hiring an international moving service, it is important to understand what services are included. Besides, since you will be making a significant investment with the company, you need assurance that your investment will be worth it.

Although different moving companies will offer different services, there are basic services you should expect. They include the following.

  • International Moving Consultation

You should expect to have a consultation with the international moving company. During the consultation, you can communicate your needs to the expert, and based on these needs; your expert can give you an estimate. Additionally, you can ask any questions about your move during the consultation for a clear plan.

  • A reliable and Customized Move Plan

After hiring an international moving company, you should expect them to develop a reliable and customized plan depending on your needs. The plan should be specifically tailored to meet your needs and should align with your new intended location.

  • Logistics Coordination

It is the role of your moving company to arrange for your logistics. Since they have strategic partnership and experience, the expert should offer a seamless and convenient moving experience to your new home.

  • Belonging Documentation, Packing, and Transport

Your belongings will be subject to customs since you are moving abroad. Therefore, your moving company should document the items you will be moving with you abroad for custom and insurance purposes. They should also offer careful packing to keep your belongings safe when moving abroad.

  • Custom Clearance

When traveling abroad, customs pose a great challenge. Your moving company should offer custom clearance assistance services. Additionally, they should advise you on the best way to avoid delays and clear customs in time.

Moving Overseas

Moving to another country may be exciting, but it may cost a lot of money. Therefore, you need to plan before making your international move to make the process seamless and cost-effective.

  • How Do I Make an International Move?

When planning on how to move to another country, you should first begin by saving. You will be incurring considerable costs like visa applications and dealing with international shipments. Therefore, start saving for at least half a year before your moving date.

Second, you should ensure that your passport is in order. Therefore, apply or renew your passport to prevent inconveniences on your travel date. Once you ensure your passport is up to date, apply for a visa and provide the necessary proof during the application to hasten its approval.

Third, you should begin making plans for your health care once you arrive. Research on health care providers in your new country, and make the necessary arrangements. Remember, the health care system is inevitable when living abroad.

Lastly, join STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) by the U.S. Embassy, which helps travelers get recent and accurate information on the safety conditions of their new country. Enrolling in STEP will help you get timely notifications in case of emergencies.

  • How Do I Prepare for International Relocation?

A local move involves weeks of preparation and planning. However, an overseas move will need months of preparation since there are numerous things to consider. When preparing for overseas relocation, you should ensure your paperwork is ready, updated, and in order.

You should also research customs requirements in your new country. Remember, different countries will have varying customs requirements, affecting which belongings you can take with you.

As part of your international moving checklist, you should also make a budget. How much will you need for the tickets? Hotels? Meals? Remember, after moving, you will need to find a house, buy furniture or rent a car. Therefore, determine all your needs even after arrival and make a realistic budget.

Tools, Materials & Moving Supplies for Easy Move

When packing for your international move, which tools or moving supplies should you use? Find out below;

  • What Types of Moving Boxes Are Required for an International Move?

When moving boxes internationally, there are different types of moving boxes you can use. Boxes come in different sizes. For example, there is a 1.5-cu, which is ideal for books or small objects, and a 3-cu. ideal for medium-sized items.

Other than a difference in the dimensions of the box, you can also use mattress boxes, mirror boxes, or custom crates. International packing materials include padding, which is essential for large or fragile items like furniture. Any international moving boxes need to be well sealed to protect your items over the travel duration.

  • What is the International Container Shipping Costs and Rates in 2022?

The international shipping rates will vary with the country you are moving to. Additionally, each move is different. Therefore, to get an accurate estimate for your international shipping rates and shipping container prices, it is important to contact your moving company for a reliable cost estimate.

So, how much does a shipping container cost? Shipping container prices vary depending on various factors. For example, the size of the container since a bigger container will cost more to rent than a smaller one. The renting duration will also affect the overall cost. Therefore, plan your move meticulously to get the maximum value of the shipping container.

Chapter 2 - Prepare Your Documents

Anxious for your travel, you probably have a suitcase checklist, but have you prepared your documents? Without the necessary documents, you will barely board your plane. So, what documents do you need, and how do you prepare?

Get Your Passports Ready

A passport is a key requirement when traveling outside the country. You should have an official and government-issued passport to prove your identity and confirm your citizenship. If you already have your passport, it is important to ensure it is up to date before your travel date.

  • What Documents Should I Take When Moving Abroad?

Other than your passport, you will also need to have your visa. A visa is a document authorized by your host country.  It specifies the country you are visiting, your visit purpose, and the intended stay duration.

You also need to carry your work permit if you plan on being employed in your country. Documents to include in your moving packing list template include your medical, dental, and vaccination records. Pack your driving licenses, proof of residence, insurance policy, and academic certifications.

Birth and Marriage Certificate

Among the documents you need to carry with you during your move is your birth and marriage certificate if you are married.

  • What Are the Requirements for Moving to Another Country?

Steps to moving out of state include gathering relevant documents. Some of the documents you need are an original copy of your birth certificate and be sure to make some copies. Your birth certificate will help identify you and your parents.

When listing down the things to do when you move, add your marriage certificate to the list. A marriage certificate serves as an official record of your marriage and is important for tax purposes. The marriage certificate is also necessary when you need to change your last name or prove your marital relationship.

Vaccination, Medical, And Dental Records

When traveling abroad, you are required to have comprehensive medical and dental records with you. These documents will make it easy for your new physician to have access to your medical history.

  • Is Covid Vaccination Required for International Moving?

Yes, it is. The coronavirus pandemic caused international moving restrictions. Now, before you board a flight, you need to show you have taken the Covid vaccination.

You must have taken the vaccination recently, that is, less than 72 hours before traveling. In addition to the proof of vaccination, you also need to have a covid-19 test result showing you are not infected.

Driving License

Do you plan on driving after moving overseas? After moving abroad, most drivers face a dilemma that can be avoided by having an international driver's license. The international driving license will allow you to drive in new countries before obtaining a local driving license.

  • How Much Does an International License Cost?

Are you worried about how to get an international driving license? You shouldn't be.  Thanks to prompt technology, you can now get an international driving permit online.

You will need two passport-size photos and make a payment which will cost an average of $20. If your application goes through, the license will be valid for one year. Therefore, make the best use of it.

Insurance Policies

Depending on the country you will be moving to, you might need to show proof of health insurance. To prove you have access to healthcare, you need to have an international health insurance policy backed with documents to prove the same.

  • What Insurance Do I Need When Moving Abroad?

When moving overseas, you will need healthcare and life insurance. It is advisable to buy an international life insurance policy. International travel can be risky and could expose you to high risks which could affect your life.

Should anything happen over the travel duration, your new country needs to be sure you are well covered. The proof is having an overseas life insurance policy as you travel.

Academic Records and Diplomas

Academic records are among the documents needed to move abroad. You should carry along with you your academic certifications and those of your family.

  • What Academic Records Are Mandatory For Moving Abroad?

Academic documents needed to move abroad include copies of your diploma, degree, college, and high school certifications. Ensure these documents are translated in a language your host country understands.

Your potential employer will ask for these certifications if you look forward to working in your new country. Additionally, they will also be required if you opt to apply for further studies in the country.

When moving with your children, you should also carry their academic certifications as well. It will help to have a copy of their transcripts with test scores and grades. If possible, have a letter of recommendation from their previous school.

Chapter 3 - What to Pack and What Not to Pack

After researching your host country and getting all the necessary documents, you are ready to pack and move overseas. So, what do you pack, and what do you leave behind?

Sell Electronic Items and Furniture, It Might Be Cheaper Than Paying for the Cost of Moving It

Although you may have spent a fortune buying your electronics and furniture and would like to take them with you, you should consider selling them. Your electronics and furniture have a large volume and will occupy a lot of space in shipping containers.

Furthermore, they will also weigh more, which will increase your shipping costs. Sometimes the cost of shipping these items outweighs the cost of selling them and buying them on arrival to your destination country.

  • How Do I Sell My Stuff Before I Move Abroad?

When packing, you must have sorted out items that you can donate and those you can sell. But how do I sell my stuff?  Luckily, there are numerous online platforms where you can put up stuff to sell. For example, you can use LetGo, eBay Valet, Gone, and Craigslist to list the items for sale and their prices.

Alternatively, you can organize a garage sale at your place. Another option is to enroll in trade-in programs in stores near you. Trade-in programs allow you to take up the items you would like to sell and get cash or another product in return. You can use any of the above tips on how to sell everything you own. Selling will make the moving process easy.

Item That Doesn't Need to Ship

Each country has its restrictions on what you cannot ship. However, there are common guidelines on what not to pack when moving and items that you are restricted from shipping.

  • What Items You Don’t Need to Pack When Moving Abroad?

As you move abroad, you need to consider what is necessary and must be carried along and what you can leave behind. When creating a moving packing list, it is important to know what you should not include. 

Packing everything may increase your overall moving cost. Therefore, you should consider leaving some things behind or selling them. A list of what not to pack when moving includes; furniture, clothes, donations, used boxes, kitchen items, toys, and old electronics.

  • What Items Shouldn't Ship for International Movements?

Shipping goods has numerous restrictions because you will not be accompanying your shipment. Therefore, your new country will have laws on what you shouldn't ship and a list of prohibited goods. Additionally, some goods are not well suited to survive the long journey.

Valuable goods like jewelry and money should not be put in a shipping container. Money and jewelry are high-risk items that are prone to either theft or loss. Therefore, despite discreet packaging, they shouldn't be shipped. Instead, you should carry them with you on the plane. Goods of high value or sensitive items should not be shipped when moving to a different country.

Additionally, you shouldn't ship any hazardous items such as pressurized cans or other toxic substances. Besides being restricted, they pose a risk to the cargo team transporting the goods and the customs officials inspecting the container.

Food, fruits, and other perishable goods shouldn't be shipped. Perishable goods go bad in a short while and will attract unwanted pests, animals, or insects to the container. Besides, when put together with other items, these goods can rot and spoil other belongings in the container. If you must ship some perishable goods, consult customs and use a controlled container.

Most countries restrict shipping organic items like soil, plants, seeds, and animals to avoid potential outbreaks of diseases, pests, and predators. Organic matter increases contamination of diseases, and thus, shouldn't be shipped.

Lastly, you should not ship ammunition. If you possess firearms that you would like to move abroad with, do your research on the country you will be moving to and ensure you fill out all the required documentation. When traveling with ammunition, you will need licenses, agreements, and other documentation to be allowed to move with your gun or magazines.

Some Electronics Will Not Work in Foreign Countries Without Power Converters

As technology continues to make the world smaller, there are significant power differences in countries. Electrical standardization varies according to country, which can often make using electronics from your country frustrating. 

If you decide to carry your electronics with you, there is a risk of some not working in your new country without a power converter. It is, therefore, better to sell your electronics and buy new ones after moving.

  • Can Electronic Items Be Sent Through Courier Internationally?


Yes, shipping electronics internationally is allowed. However, you need to ensure you pack these electronics safely and insulate them as recommended. When you pack your electronics for shipping, put the electronic device in its original box, or get a sturdy box for it.

Fit the item inside, close it, and tightly seal it using adhesive tape. Get a bubble wrap and wrap it in the box for extra protection. Put the box inside a bigger box and add cushion materials to prevent the original box with the item from moving. Seal the big box, label it, and ship electronics overseas using your preferred courier.

Chapter 4- Tax Planning When Moving Between Countries

When planning for your overseas move, have you planned your taxes? Before moving abroad, you need to carefully plan your taxes and understand the new taxing system in the country.

Tax Obligations: What You Need to Do Before Moving Abroad

Moving to a new country does not relieve you of your tax-paying duty. As an expat, you will need to file tax returns in your new country, and you will mostly need additional tax forms. Below is everything you need to know about the tax planning process.

  • What Is Meant by International Moving Tax Planning?

International moving tax planning refers to a foreign taxation element designed to help implement directives from several tax authorities. It involves making arrangements for cross-border transactions while regarding the tax principles of the new country.

The tax planning process accounts for money flows made during cross-border transactions and is passed from the home country to the host country. The main aim of tax planning is to reduce the cumulative impact of taxation.

Unlike domestic tax planning, which is concerned with the tax principles, deductions, and allowances in the nation, international tax planning considers the interrelationships between tax systems. It also accounts for additional concerns like tax exemptions or incentives for foreign income.

When moving abroad, you probably won't be making plans that align with the tax year. You will choose a time that favors you. However, on moving, you will need to file taxes in your country. So, when do you have to file taxes?

As an expat living abroad, you will get a two-month extension to file your taxes. Additionally, you can choose to file Form 4868 to request the authorities for an extension as you meet the tests before filing for taxes. Therefore, you should consider adding your tax compliance certificates among the documents needed to move abroad.

  • What Taxes Do I Pay If I Move to Another Country?

Immediately after moving to another country, when do you officially become a tax-paying resident? Do you pay income tax or what type of tax will you be expected to pay? Most countries use residency to base their taxation. Therefore, if you reside in a country and work there, you will need to pay taxes.

Depending on the country you are moving to, there are different rules for qualifying as a tax-paying resident. In one country, you can become a tax resident after getting your permanent home there, while in others, they give you a year's allowance to work out your resident status.

You will need to file your tax return in your new country. Fortunately, the tax-paying process will be made easier by international tax planning. Taxation can be complicated to understand, and it is wise to seek a specialist's advice to avoid incurring penalties for late or unfiled taxes.

When to File, Where to File

How do you file your taxes after recently moving abroad? Living abroad and your tax obligations will be specified in your passport. However, if you earn more than the tax filing threshold, you should have the IRS informed to avoid penalties. You can let them know by filing the Free File Fillable Forms. As a citizen, filing taxes will be your obligation, but when do you file these taxes, and where?

  • When to File

The official taxing deadline in the U.S. is April 15. Therefore, you should ensure any pending dues are paid by then. However, if you recently entered the country, you will enjoy a 2-month extension as you settle in.

  • Where to File

You should file your taxes through the mail and send to:
Department of the Treasury,
Internal Revenue Service Center,
Austin, TX 73301-0215
USA
Alternatively, you can send it as an electronic file if you have an adjusted gross income through the Free File

  • How Do Taxes Work If I Move to Another Country?

If I live abroad, do I pay taxes? If you just moved to the U.S., the tax information system by the IRS will either classify you as a resident alien if you meet the substantial presence test that year or meet the green card test. Failure to meet the two tests, you will be considered a non-resident alien.

You can also be categorized as a dual-status alien if you recently changed your residency status. If you intend to temporarily move to the U.S. for studies, the state will consider you an international student. If you are a resident alien or a U.S. citizen, your income will be subject to taxes, although you might enjoy foreign income exclusions and get foreign income tax credits.

Working abroad taxes are charged at a normal rate as living abroad taxes according to the U.S. tax system. Foreign income will be taxed at a similar marginal rate as any other income earned in the country.

Therefore, regardless of whether you are a green card holder, an alien, or an American living abroad, you must file your taxes with the U.S. government every year. The income should be from any source and in any country within the specified thresholds.

Failure to file living abroad taxes will result in penalties, high interest, and criminal charges. Every late payment and late filing will attract a penalty. It is considered that the lack of filing taxes is willful, and thus, it attracts serious consequences.

When filing your U.S. expat taxes, the IRS requires you to disclose any assets or foreign accounts you have that exceed a set value threshold. Sometimes, even the retirement contributions you may be making to foreign retirement accounts are taxable. Ensure you familiarize yourself with tax requirements as you plan your move abroad.

Chapter 5 – Complications for Moving Abroad

As seamless as you would like your transition to a new country, there are some slight complications that you are prone to experience. Fortunately, these problems have solutions, and therefore, they shouldn't scare you off.

Problems of Moving Overseas for Expats

The major problem of moving to a different country is the planning and preparation process. There is so much you need to work on and often, within a short time. With the right help, you can overcome these hurdles.

  • How Hard Is It to Move Internationally?

Moving to a new country can be hard due to the numerous requirements for getting the required documents and coordinating with support systems like healthcare. Additionally, you need to adequately prepare for your move and find a job in your new country.

Finding a job in a new country is hard, and the work permits are even harder, especially if you are moving with your spouse since most countries restrict work permits to one spouse.

Packing for an international move is also challenging as it needs special packing compared to a local or interstate move. You need to use sturdy boxes and wrap items with bubble wrap for additional protection during shipping.

You can also encounter a challenge when moving items since borders have numerous guidelines on what they can allow into the country. Thus, you need to conduct your research on any restricted or prohibited items. Furthermore, moving costs tend to be costly.

As part of moving to a different country, you need to obtain an international driver's license to allow you to drive overseas before getting a national driver's I.D. Acquiring relevant documents like medical records and dealing with international tax planning to ensure a seamless transition in paying taxes is challenging, lengthy, and cumbersome.

There is so much you will need to get done before you move to another country. Therefore, you should begin making your preparations early. You should also research how to move to a different country, create a checklist and ensure you meet all the requirements to overcome any challenges.

  • How Long Does an International Move Take?

You have your documents ready and have already packed your goods. So, how long does it take to move on to the new country? There is no specific answer as to how long it will take to move internationally. Different factors will affect the length of your international move.

First, the country you are moving to affects the moving duration. The immigration policies in countries differ, with some having stricter policies than others.

Therefore, if you intend to move to a country with strict immigration policies, the process will be lengthy, and thus, it will take longer. Nonetheless, you can shorten the move duration by filling out the forms timely and accurately.

Second, items you are looking to move out of the country with will also affect the duration of your move. If you only carry essential belongings, it will take a shorter time to reach your new country than if you decide to carry everything in your home.

Consider getting rid of what you don't need and selling bulky items like furniture before the move. Streamlining your possessions will make moving fast and easy.

Third, the mode of transport you use determines how long it will take you to move out of the country. If you are moving by air, it will take you a shorter time than if you were moving by ship.

Fourth, who is helping you with the international moving process? Planning an international move by yourself will take longer than seeking help from an international moving company.

A moving company is more efficient as it knows the guidelines and rules in the country you are relocating to. It will also help you save time you would have spent filling migration forms erroneously and money you would have spent re-applying.

The above are the four main factors that answer "how long does it take to move on." Therefore, analyze each factor to have an estimate of how long the international move will take.

  • What are Common Problems When Moving to Another Country?

As exciting as it is to move abroad, there are common problems immigrants face after the move. They include;

Culture Shock: Each country has its way of life. Therefore, in your new country, things will be different from your country. Depending on your destination, you can experience culture shock in different waves, and the experience is different for everyone.

The main differences will be in terms of food, dressing up and weather. You can familiarize yourself with the culture of your expat destination to help anticipate it. Fortunately, culture shock doesn't last long. It helps to find other people from your country to help cope with the shock.

Fitting in: Other than struggling to settle in and ensure your papers are in order, you are likely to encounter a problem fitting in. With the new culture, workplace, neighborhood, and environment, fitting in can be quite challenging.

It helps to research in advance and see what is expected from you in the community and the workplace. Also, allow yourself to adjust naturally and blend in even though it could take a while.

Financial Struggles: Moving to a new country by yourself will cause a lot of financial struggles. On arrival, you will need to visit a bank and exchange your currency to match the currency in your country, set up your retirement accounts, and file your taxes in time.

Before you secure a home to live in, familiarize yourself with the environment and make friends, everything will seem overwhelming. Consider renting before committing to a lease as you do your ground research about the estate or neighborhood.

Language Barrier: It is the most common challenge you are prone to experience when moving overseas to a different country. What country would you like to move to, and what language do they speak?

You can overcome the language barrier by learning the language in your destination country. There are numerous apps and websites like Duolingo where you can learn new languages for free. Be consistent in learning the new language for faster progress. Additionally, you can enroll in language classes before your move.

Relationship Strains: If you will be moving overseas to a different country alone, there will be relationship strains, especially with your family or spouse. If you have children, traveling and being away from them can result in feeling distraught as you struggle to settle in the new environment.

Everyone in your life will react and adjust differently to your move. So, you need to be patient with yourself and them. Allow them to process the move and feel the different emotions. Frequently contact your loved ones and let them know about your progress in settling in.

Get Affordable and Reliable Moving Help

Moving internationally can be overwhelming with so many things to plan for. Let us make your international move seamless by handling your international moving. We have years of experience moving items internationally, and you can trust your items will be secure and in good hands during transit.

Take care of your application process while we take care of the packing to save you time and the heavy lifting. At Sunshine Movers, our experienced relocation experts can attend to your international moving needs. Get in touch with us today.

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