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Moving House Checklist – When Moving Overseas

moving house checklist when moving overseas

Moving overseas or even moving house can be a stressful time for any family.  Getting started early with the process will make things less overwhelming.  To help, we have created this moving house checklist for use when moving overseas.

Moving House Checklist – When Moving Overseas

Moving overseas can be a highly complicated and overwhelming experience, especially if you’re planning to take your family and household with you. Getting started with the moving process as early as possible is the best way to reduce the stress you might understandably feel, as this will ensure not only that you have enough time to get everything done, but provide you with time to deal with unexpected delays. Moving abroad almost always involves submitting paper work that may require a process of several months to complete, which can be a really nasty surprise if you leave everything to the last minute. Planning ahead and early preparation is the key to a stress-free move, so complete this checklist to ensure that you’re ready to begin your new life overseas.

Moving House Checklist : 3-4 months before moving

  • If you have decided you will be taking your pets overseas with you, then start getting pets vaccinated. The amount of time needed to prepare pets to move internationally will vary according to your destination. Rabies checks can take up to 3 or 4 months, depending on the local regulations for importing pets. As a nominally rabies-free country, Australia may not be subject to a complete rabies vaccination check for some destinations; however other countries still impose strict procedures and documentation. The EU, for example, does not consider any country to be 100 percent rabies-free. After completing a rabies vaccination some countries require 3-4 months of observation, as this is the minimum amount of time to ascertain whether your pet has contracted the disease.
  • Decide what to do with your current residence. If you own your own property, think about whether you want to sell it or rent it out while you’re away. Once decided, begin the process. You may need to start finding buyers or arranging lease contracts at this point. If renting, you may need to inform your landlord of your intention to move, depending on your lease.
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  • Start researching visa requirements. You may or may not need to apply for visas this early, but finding out what you need will give you time to collect all the required documentation.
  • Start compiling any documents that you are likely to need. You may need to put in formal applications to receive legal documents such as your birth certificate, change-of-name certificate, educational diplomas, passport and so on.
  • Research what your likely accommodation will be like in your new home. Have you bought a property, or will you need to find a rental. Will your company provide you with accommodation? What type of accommodation is common in your destination – some cities are very built up, with most people living in small apartments, while other places will have large houses available. Start thinking about how much space you’ll have and how much furniture you’ll realistically be able to move.
  • Research schools in your expected area. International schools in particular often have high academic expectations and long waiting lists. Some may require potential students to pass an interview before enrolment. A simple email to your desired schools can give you a realistic picture of what you can expect when you arrive. Inform your current school that your children will be leaving and collect copies of their reports and, if necessary, recommendation letters from teachers.
  • Investigate options to reduce the administrative burden of being an expat, such as switching to electronic statements and communications, reducing the number of bank accounts etc.

moving house checklist - moving overseas

Moving House Checklist : 2 months before moving

  • Start sorting out what belongings you want to take with you and what you want to leave behind.
  • Look into possible storage options and costs for items you want to keep in Australia.
  • Get quotes from a removal company and lock in a date for the removalists to come and pack up your house.  You can make this process easier, and potentially save lots of money, by using a service such as that offered by Tristar.  Complete their online form and you will receive up to five quotes from qualified removal companies
  • If you already have a destination address (or a helpful person to collect your things), consider sending an early shipment of items you want to take, but won’t need before your move. Land and sea shipping can take weeks or even months, so think about what you’ll need, and when (it is however a much cheaper option).
  • Apply for visas, working permits and so on.
  • Arrange flights or transport.

Moving House Checklist : 1 month before moving

  • Check that your electrical appliances will work in your new destination. Different countries use different voltages for electrical connections and your Australian appliances may not be compatible. Either purchase transformers to convert your appliances to the necessary voltage, or leave your appliances behind.
  • Research customs regulations for importing goods into the country. Find out if there are items you will need to have treated for pests, such as timber furniture. Be sure to obtain certificates for any treated goods.
  • Begin to sell or give away items you don’t plan to take with you. The process of selling can take a while, so start posting ads or advertising a date for a garage sale.
  • Stop or transfer subscriptions.
  • Cancel services such as gym memberships and so on.
  • Identify what possessions you will need on arrival. Consider sending an airfreight package in advance so that your things get there before you do.
  • Inquire at your bank as to your account options. Inform them of your change of address and change account details if necessary. Find out whether you bank has branches overseas that will serve your needs. If you don’t already have it, set up internet banking to easily keep track of your account when overseas.
  • Open a free international money transfer account with a company like OFX.  You will save lots of money on fees and poor exchange rates when you need to send money to or from Australia.  Read more about why i don’t use my bank for money transfers to Australia.
  • Cancel or transfer insurance policies. Research possible insurance needs abroad, especially international medical insurance.
  • Cancel or notify other accounts and utilities of your change of address.
  • Dental and medical check-ups, if necessary.

Moving House Checklist : 2 weeks before movingmoving house checklist when moving overseas

  • Start packing your things into well-labelled boxes. As you pack, create a packing list if customs regulations deem it necessary. Pack any items which require customs inspection together, for quick and easy inspection.
  • If necessary, book temporary accommodation for your arrival

Moving House Checklist : 1 week before moving

  • Make sure all bills are paid.
  • Return library books and borrowed items.
  • Confirm your booking with the removal company.
  • Start packing suitcases with essentials you’ll need before your main shipments arrive.
  • Continue packing items into boxes, with accurate and clear labelling.
  • If taking your fridge and freezer, make sure to thoroughly defrost.
  • Arrange transport to airport.
  • Obtain any medication you will need for a few weeks. Get the generic name in case you need to change brands when you arrive.

Moving House Checklist : 1 day before moving

  • Make sure your boxes for shipping are completely packed and well labelled, including packing list.
  • Complete suitcase packing.
  • Make sure you have your passport and travel tickets at hand, plus hotel or accommodation details for when you arrive.
  • Do a final check of your home, making sure windows are locked, utilities are disconnected, etc.
  • Obtain some money for your arrival. Most ATMs will accept a foreign bank card, and can be used to take out cash in the local currency. This does incur a fee though, and it’s wise to have some cash in advance, in case you can’t immediately find an ATM on arrival.

Last but not least, sit back and relax, knowing that you’ve done everything you could to prepare for your big move. Say goodbye to friends and family, and think about the adventure of starting your new live overseas.

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Complete the form below and Triglobal will arrange to for up to five qualified international removal companies to provide a free, no obligation quote for your international move based on the details you provide.  You will then be contacted directly by each international removal company with details of their quote for you to start comparing the best deal. By completing the form below, you agree to sharing your information and contact details with Triglobal and the selected removal companies.


Disclaimer : This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial or taxation advice. As this information is not advice and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness for your circumstances. Independent advice should be obtained from an Australian financial services licensee before making investment decisions, and a registered (tax) financial advisor/accountant in relation to taxation decisions. To the extent permitted by law, we exclude all liability for any loss or damage arising in any way.

About the author


Craig is an Australian Expat and the founder of The Australian Expat Investor. Craig is passionate about investing, and while Craig cannot give personal financial or tax advice, Craig enjoys sharing investing, tax, and other tips for Australian expats to help them to build their wealth while living abroad and get the most out of their time living overseas. Get his free ebook on 9 Financial Surprises That Could Cost Australian Expats Thousands of Dollars

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