Tips and tricks for smoothing out the process for moving abroad

There are lots of reasons a person might have to move to a new country. Perhaps the move was instigated by an employer. Perhaps the move is a military transfer. Maybe it’s for schooling or some sort of fellowship. Perhaps it’s simply because someone wants to expatriate and has heard about the multitude of property investment opportunities overseas. The UK, for example, is very hot right now (particularly for expats who aren’t very language savvy). London, in fact, is one of the best places in the world for hopeful property investors .

Of course, moving to a new country is a much more difficult and involved process than moving across town or even moving to another state. The potential for error is incredibly high. Still, there are things you can do to smooth out the process and (hopefully) prevent disaster. Here are a few of them.

Scout it Out

Never move to a new country without first paying it a visit. In fact, in the Mayflower movers FAQ, they list the “preview trip” as the first thing that someone should do after deciding to move abroad. Take a few days to fly over and wander the new town or city and see what it’s like for people who aren’t simply visiting tourists. Try to get off the beaten path. Meet with a realtor or two. Tour a few homes, even. Really explore.

Do You Want to Leave the US Behind Completely?

The answer to this question is going to play a large role in the nature of your move and whether or not your chosen country will accept you into its ranks.

Make an Appointment with Immigration

There are very strict rules about who can move from one country to another and for what reason. Those rules vary from country to country. As soon as you realize that an international move is a possibility, contact the embassy for the country to which you want to move and ask to talk to someone about starting the legal process for an international move . A case worker will explain which paperwork will need to be submitted, what the process is for obtaining a visa, etc.

This process might take a very long time. Some countries have very strict regulations about who can move there and which reasons for the move are “legitimate.” Unfortunately very few will accept “because it seems like a fun adventure” as a legitimate reason for immigrating.

Preparing for the Move Itself

The best thing to do, when moving to a new country–if you can afford it–is to work with a relocation service. This is a service that will help you obtain housing and help you make sure that your belongings get from your current residence to your new international residence.

If you cannot afford to hire one of these services, the best thing you can do is to divide your belongings into two camps: one for the things you will actually need to have on hand to survive for a month or two and everything else. Move only with the first camp. This way, if you can only find temporary housing your first week abroad, you won’t panic. Use that time to find more permanent lodgings . Then, when you have an address (and a job) you can have someone from your country of origin ship your belongings to you.

Obviously the move is more nuanced than that. Those few steps, though, are the most important part of getting from point A to point B. Use these tips to help you get started on that adventure. Good luck!