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Your Moving Abroad Checklist

icontainers_news_1a50488895.svgLogistics & Shipping
Updated on 03 Jan 2024
5 min read
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International moving involves a lot of planning. It’s a much bigger deal than simply packing up your rental truck and moving across state lines. Especially, if you’re making the move with family members.

That’s why it’s important to make a checklist before moving abroad from your home country. The checklist we’re talking about goes beyond renewing your passport and getting important documents like visas in order. Keep reading to learn more.

Things to Consider Before Moving Overseas

Before you can make an appropriate moving abroad checklist, there are quite a few things to think about. Of course, the first thing you want to take into consideration is your destination country.

Overall, you want to make sure it’s a good fit for your lifestyle. More importantly, you’ll want to be sure that what you are planning to bring will be useful. Electronics, furniture, seasonal clothing, etc., can be really unnecessary.


All countries regulate the entry of foreign animals. This is to prevent the spread of disease. It also makes your moving process a bit more difficult, as you’ll likely have to pay export and import permits.

You’ll also have to get a health certificate from your vet and get your pet up to date on vaccinations. Depending on the country, it could be required a six-month quarantine before releasing your pet to you, which can be stressful.

Shipping vs Storage vs Starting Fresh

This mainly applies to larger items, such as your furniture. You’ll want to think about your budget and the costs of shipping large items vs storing them or buying new stuff. If you’re planning to live abroad for only a year, storage is a good option. In case of other long term stays, storing would be a too expensive option.

Otherwise, it may be in your best interest to sell your old furniture and buy new (or used) in the short term.

Your Budget for an International Relocation

Unless you’re relocating yourself and family members for work, your budget is something you’ll want to be strict with. International moving isn’t cheap, and your budget will reflect where and how you can afford to live in your new home. It’s assumed that you already know the cost of living in your destination country.

It’ll also affect what you can afford in terms of moving overseas. While there are affordable ways to ship your life abroad, getting the right documentation and paying certain fees will add up. Also, keep yourself up to date in exchange rates.

These are just some of the things that change the dynamics of your move and how you will personally be affected. As per the rest of your international move checklist, here are the logistics you’ll need to have covered:

Customs Requirement
Rules and regulations will vary from country to country, but the overall consensus is to avoid bringing the following:

  • Weapons
  • Hazardous materials
  • Perishables
  • Flammables
  • Corrosives
  • Food
  • Alcohol

Your professional moving company should be able to provide a full list of no-no’s and country requirements. However, aside from your personal documents, you’ll also need to make a detailed inventory (the packing list) of all your belongings. This inventory list should be clearly labeled in coordination to each box, with a value next to each item. It’s important to understand that if your household items are older than one year, they may be subject to taxation.

Insurance for international moving

A lot can go wrong during transport and moving to another country. Whether it’s a storm or poor handling by customs officials. Things can end up damaged or lost. Luckily, most moving companies offer some form of insurance.

You can also purchase independent insurance if you need more coverage than what’s being offered. Also, it’s a good idea to check with your existing homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it covers goods in transit or storage. Health insurance or medical insurance could be possibly be required from official authorities or in order to open a bank account.

Get Your Documents in Order

You already know you need an updated passport and the appropriate visas. Here’s what you’ll also need—given your reasons for moving and marital status:

  • Adoption papers
  • Birth certificate
  • Child custody papers
  • Divorce papers
  • Driver’s license(s)
  • Marriage certificate
  • Social Security cards
  • NCB (No Claims Bonus) record
  • Medical records and dental; including vaccine records, insurance, disability, and medications
  • School records and University papers
  • Legal documents such as your will, power of attorney, medical consent forms, other insurance policies, etc.
  • Financial records, income tax records, credit cards, debit cards, etc.
  • Work permits/visas

It’s very important to have all of your documents organized and on hand. You’ll also want to make multiple copies of each. For further and more detailed information, you can check the official US Gov Site.

Choose the Right International Moving Company

International moving logistics can be very complicated, especially if you’re shipping all of your belongings across an entire ocean (or a few countries).

You want to select a company that has the experience, a good track record, and the willingness to guide you through the entire process.

If you’re planning to move abroad in the near future, we can help.

We provide fast, affordable and reliable services for international moving and shipping.

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iContainers is a digital freight forwarder based in Barcelona that assists thousands of companies and families around the globe in moving their merchandise internationally.

Our online freight quoting platform has the latest technology in the sector and simplifies ocean freight, quoting and managing your bookings from the same user area.

We are part of the Agility group, and we work side by side with Shipa Freight to fully cover the demands of our customers.

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