Complete Moving Abroad Checklist (+ Becoming an Expat)

Moving abroad is something a lot of us want to do, and it’s something a lot of us hold off from doing – it’s a big move, literally, and it’s going to take a lot of planning and preparation! To help you along your way, here is my Moving Abroad Checklist.

But if you’re someone who loves to travel, and trot around the world at your own pace, getting to know the ins and outs of each and every city you come across, this could be the perfect move for your lifestyle. So let’s make sure you know the basics of getting it done before you go all in, and try to make the whole process seem just a bit easier on your shoulders. So what are you waiting for? Good luck! And if you move to the UK, let me know and we can meet for coffee!

Any sort of move is quite an overwhelming life transition, but moving abroad is definitely a significant change to make. You have to consider more than just the ordinary things that come with moving house.

You have to think about more than just changing utility providers and finding a new school for the kids.

You have to be ready to integrate with a new culture, and you have to be ready to find work, for starters. In this post, those things will be explained more thoroughly. So, here are some ways in which you could prepare for a big move to a new country.

Moving Abroad Checklist Expat Travel Europe


Moving Abroad Checklist


Make Plans for Any Prescriptions You Take Regularly

Whether it is allergies, mental illness, chronic pain, or something else, many people have to take prescriptions regularly to keep themselves functioning. The last place you want to be without that help is abroad, especially in a country where you are unfamiliar with the languages or customs. If you live in the UK, or you plan to move to the UK, NHS prescriptions are prescriptions paid by patients prescribed for them by a National Health Service medical practitioner. With a few simple clicks, you can manage your NHS prescriptions online easily! It is better safe than sorry to know in advance what your options are, and how to access them. 

Get Your Long-Term Visa

Wherever you are going in the world, the first point of call on your moving abroad checklist is to find out if you need a working visa for your country of choice. Your visa could be a temporary residency, permanent residency, work, business, a tourist visa, or a variety of others.

Please please please make sure you do your research on this checklist point, as its so important. Make sure you take necessary paperwork with you when you move and keep copies of the relevant documents too! You should also keep copies of important documents such as birth certificate and medical records too.

Also note, if your passport is about to expire, go ahead and get a new one – you may as well do it before you leave, than get stuck in a rut when you’re there.

Get professionals to help

This is always a good idea. Even if you were just moving to a house 5 minutes away, you’d still benefit from getting professionals to help you with the transportation of your precious goods. Obviously, when you’re moving to a brand new country, you’ll need help with the transportation of your belongings.

You should not only focus on getting your possessions overseas, if you’re planning on taking a trip over water, but also getting your possessions to your new property. You might want to check out Bekins Moving Solutions, a Thousand Oaks moving company, if you’re looking for moving services in California. Those professionals could help you to move your belongings safely and securely.

Only Take What You Need

If you’re planning to move abroad, and you’re not too sue how long you’ll be there, or it’s your first time doing anything like this, you’re going to want to have a light suitcase to move in with. After all, you don’t want to have to lug all that stuff back to your home country if you get homesick after only a couple of weeks.

And you don’t want to be worrying about the inventory of your home if you’re not too sure about the new town you’re moving into. Don’t worry, this consideration is a lot easier to work with than you think. There’s some great removal and storage companies out there you can hire out for as long as you need to, and you can always ask for more items to be brought out to you if you feel yourself settling in sooner than you thought.


READ MORE: 10 Travel Destinations to Visit in 2019

Moving Abroad Checklist Expat Travel Europe

Moving Abroad Checklist Expat Travel Europe

Get a new career

You might also want to get a new career if you want to prepare for moving to a new country. Unless you’re already working remotely, then you’re probably going to need to start looking into job opportunities in the destination that’ll become your new home. Of course, if remote working appeals to you, you could become self-employed.

Plenty of nomads manage to earn an income from working online, for example. Obviously, you’d be living in one place, but that could be an option for you. You could create a blog about your new life in a different country, build up a following, and start making money as an online influencer.

Check that it’s the right destination for you

You might already have an idea of your destination in mind, but it’s important to give serious consideration to the location you choose.

After all, this is going to be more than just a travel destination. You won’t be taking a short trip. A move might not be forever, but it’ll certainly be longer than a week or two. You have to check that a certain place is the right destination for you. You might even want to weigh up multiple destinations to assess your options. You should definitely take a short trip to somewhere before you decide to move there permanently.

Cancel Memberships or Contracts

You may as well save yourself some extra money whilst your away by cancelling any gym memberships, phone contracts, internet suppliers etc. etc.

And do this ahead of you leaving ready for the month you leave so you aren’t paying for additional months. And check is they have a freeze clause where you can freeze your contract for a set period of months. If you are renting, make sure you plan ahead and cancel your renting policy and let your landlord know when you are moving out.

Make Sure You’ve Got the Right Passport!

The right passport means the right Visa, and a lot easier of a time in applying for one. Now’s your chance for making sure you’ve got a passport that has at least a 6 month span on it already, and won’t run out during the time you’ll be living out in another country. Of course, you can always apply for a new one whilst you’re out there, but let’s make sure this isn’t another area for you to worry over!


Moving Abroad Checklist Expat Travel Europe

Moving Abroad Checklist Expat Travel Europe

Make All Last Minute Health Appointments

Health insurance can be expensive, so do yourself a favour and get a check up before you leave. In the US once you quit your job you lose all health insurance, and even though in the UK this isn’t the case, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

So make all of your appointments now! I would suggest heading for a vision check up (opticians), dental check up (dentist), physical examination, womens care check up and a mole check up! Getting any of these appointments when you are travelling can be time consuming and extremely costly!

Know the Area You’ll Be Living In

You’ll want to get to know the area your new home is situated on, seeing as you’ll want to be comfortable and cosy whilst you’re out there.

You’ll want to know where the nearest corner shop is, and where you can go for a big shop once a month. You’ll also need to know where the downtown life has the most heat and fun, and what kind of inner city clubs or groups you can join in with to make sure you’ve got some friendly neighbours on hand.

Moving abroad is going to be a huge step in anyone’s life, and that means you’ve got a lot of planning and prep to do. But all in all, if you remember points like these, you’re going to find the process much more exciting to go through!

Get  Travel Debit or Credit Card

This is my top tip and I even got advice recently from a fellow traveller on the best travel card to buy. Make sure you get a debit card that is good for travel and living abroad, or plan to get one when you arrive in the country. I have just signed up to Monzo as I travel abroad a lot, and it doesnt charge you any fees for taking money out of an ATM abroad and you get lots of other benefits.

And if you’re going to continue using your normal debit or credit card make sure you let your bank know you are moving abroad for 12 months.


Even if you think you know a place from pictures, videos, articles, and tour guides, it’s different to actually be in a new place. So, if you want to feel confident that you’re making the right decision for you and your family, then make sure you actually visit the town or city that you want to become your new home.

Try to put yourself in the mindset of somebody who will be living there permanently. Everybody loves a holiday to a sunny and picturesque place, but that doesn’t mean everybody would actually want to stay in such a place for years to come. Consider your options, and try before you buy. That’s how you should view moving to a foreign country.

girl in israel


The Immigration Process


Prepare all the paperwork you need

Moving abroad usually means that you have to supply plenty of supplementary evidence. Before you even start the process, research what you will need throughout and make sure you have it readily accessible. This can include things like your birth certificate, marriage certificate, your passport and more.


Expect delays

The first thing that you should know is that moving abroad to a lot of countries, especially those that see a lot of expatriates, can have quite a queue. For that reason, you should expect that it will take a long time to process your application, meaning it may be some time before you hear back. The best way to avoid delays is to make sure that you’re aware of any submission deadlines and making sure you get in the way before them.


Explore your different options

There may be more than one route to immigration to the country of your choice, depending on the country and your circumstances. For instance, most countries have work visas for those who either already has employment or have skills desired for employment in that country. There are also other visa options if you have family members or a spouse living in the other country, are moving for investment purposes, or other reasons. Be sure to do your research.


Don’t go it alone

You’re more likely to see delays and even be declined if you make mistakes or don’t know the best ways to send your application to the right authorities. For that reason, it’s a good idea to have immigration experts to the country you’re moving to, specifically, to help you. They can make sure you understand the process, provide the information necessary and, if needed, they can help you challenge any rejections you get during the process, too.


Research ahead of time

How well you know the area that you’re moving into and have prepared for the move can, in itself, be useful when it comes to the application process. You should be able to show that you have explored the area you’re planning on moving to, and have arrangements made or at least planned for where you’re going to work, where your children might go to school, and what nearby amenities you use, for instance. Get to know where you’re moving to.


No-one is guaranteed a smooth immigration process. Try to be patient and make sure you have expert help guiding you along the way to give yourself the best chance possible.


If you on a bigger trip exploring more of Europe check out my guides to France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom.

My Travel Tips and Recommendations


To book flights, I always use flight search engine Skyscanner, I regularly use the Everywhere tool to find the cheapest places to travel. It’s how I get to travel so much all around the world. I find it the easiest way to compare flight prices across airlines and get the best deals. 


For accommodation, I usually book most of my hotels or hostels through I love using this platform as it provides me with some amazing deals for accommodation all around the world. Or if you prefer, I also recommend using Airbnb. If you haven’t signed up with Airbnb already, you can use this link to get £25 off your first visit!

Travel Insurance

Picking travel insurance that covers you in all eventualities is an essential part of planning a trip for every single person. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. You never know what’s around the corner. 


You can also find me on social media: FacebookTwitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Did you know I also vlog my trips? Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel so you get alerted when all my travel videos go live… CHECK THEM OUT HERE


Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it for me with all your friends and family!

Sophie X


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