Checklist: Before you Leave
Make sure that everything is taken care of before you leave for your new life in Belgium...
Regulations and laws vary widely among different countries, so it is important to research these before moving abroad. Contact the appropriate embassy or consulate for information relevant to expatriates relocating to the country, including:
- Visas and permits
- Vaccines for family members
- Restrictions or taxes on shipped household items
- Taxes involved in shipping your car
- Vaccines and quarantines for pets
Applications for Passports, Visas and Permits
Do this early as this process takes time to complete. It is also wise to renew early if any of these documents is set to expire in the near future.
Be sure to request official copies of important personal documents and allow at least several weeks to receive them. Arrange for official translations if required. Suggested items include:
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Naturalisation, passport, green card, proof of citizenship, etc.
- Social security cards
- Vaccination, medical and dental records
- Insurance policies
- Academic records and diplomas
- Employment records
- Proof of residency (utility bill, statement, etc.)
- Living will and testament
International Moving and Shipping Companies
Contact international moving and shipping companies to obtain quotes for transportation of belongings. Since it could take over a month for goods to arrive, plan ahead when scheduling your shipment.
It is critical to determine the exact insurance requirements and availability; limits vary widely throughout the world.
Anyone planning to operate a vehicle internationally will need to ensure they have the correct insurance. Requirements vary among countries, so select an insurance provider with the expertise and resources to ensure the policy is appropriate.
International personal property insurance, which can include transit and destination coverage, protects items damaged during the relocation process. Some insurance providers specialise in relocation and expatriate insurance.
Even if the destination country has a socialised healthcare system, not everyone may be eligible for coverage. This may require an individual policy to protect the insured worldwide, including medical protection and evacuation services.
Bank and Credit Card Accounts
Review accounts and notify banks of the relocation. Also consider online international banking, which makes it easier to transfer and manage funds between countries.
If you or a family member takes prescription drugs, purchase additional quantities and obtain a copy of the medical file related to the condition. Keep them in your carry-on luggage in the event any bags are lost in transit.
International Driving Permit
Renew driver’s licence (if relevant). Get an international driving permit/licence (IDP/L). Carry both the IDP/L and national driver’s licence whenever driving.
Each country has distinct tax rules for foreign earned income. Determine the tax obligations and gather the necessary paperwork.
If a pet is being moved, ensure it receives proper vaccinations and identification microchip. Find a pet carrier. If a pet is not being relocated, allow enough time to find it a new home.
Flight and Hotel Reservations
Make any necessary travel arrangements as soon as travel dates are set.
VOIP Phone Service
Consider using VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone service, otherwise known as broadband phone service. This is an affordable way for expatriates to make local, long-distance and international calls, all for a monthly fee.
Cancel Subscriptions and Forward Mail
Cancel all publication subscriptions and complete the appropriate forms at the post office to ensure your mail is forwarded to your new address.
Do The Research
Learn about the country’s history and culture before moving, so you are prepared with the necessary knowledge to adapt quickly to your new home.