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How to Move Abroad – Everything You Should Know About Moving Internationally From the US

Daisy Wilson October 11, 2021
Posted October 11, 2021 In How-to, Living Abroad,
Daisy Wilson

Daisy was born in Salt Lake City and in her free time, she writes about moving and watches Charmed.

Moving overseas is difficult. Still, some nine to ten million Americans did it and now live outside their homeland. With a good plan and strategy in place, you will learn how to move abroad and make this transition without unnecessary stress.

Relocating across the world is a unique life experience everyone should try sometime. It will expand your horizons, build up your character and make you grow up faster. And to be fair, this is not an easy step to take. It will come with certain sacrifices, but you will cherish this experience your whole life in the end. If you are ready to make a jump, ensure that you have a good plan to avoid headaches later on.

Make Financial Plan and Save as Much Money as You Can

Making a good budget will save you a lot of relocation stress, and living abroad with a financial strategy in place will be much smoother. But before you can start making any financial plans, you will have to decide where you will relocate because relocating to Dubai is not the same as relocating to Toronto. The distance is much different, for starters. Once you decide on which continent you plan to live you can start saving money. And if you wonder “how much money should I save to move abroad,” here is what you will have to think about when making a budget:

  • Hiring an overseas shipping company,
  • Renting a home,
  • Travel arrangements,
  • Documentation fees,
  • Living expenses for at least three months in your city of choice.

Start with savings at least six months before your travel.

Decide What You Will Bring With You

Figuring out what to pack when relocating is an important step because the number of things you are planning to bring will determine the price of your overseas shipping. For example, if you have a lot of things, shipping by air will be too expensive. Also, for some items, you will need to pay extra fees after customs check. For example, if you are relocating to China, magnetic media, films, or photographs can be confiscated if they have content adverse to China’s political and moral interests. So make sure to check rules and regulations before you start packing.

Get a Quote for Your International Moving

A significant part of your budget will go to the booking of an international moving company. Luckily, all reliable companies you can find online will give you a free quote so you can start saving money right away. Of course, it would be only an initial quote, and the price can change depending on what kind of services you take. For example, if you plan to relocate an entire home, you should consider overseas shipping by sea. It is cheaper and more items can be transported. Furthermore, it would be advisable to take packing service because your items will be on the open sea for a long period and professional movers will know how to pack them appropriately and protect them from damage.

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Prepare Documents for Overseas Moving

If you don’t have a passport now, it is an excellent time to get one. On the other hand, if you do own it, check and see the expiration date. Bear in mind that most countries have a rule that travelers with passports about to expire can not enter the country. In some countries, your passport must be a valid minimum for the next six months.

Also, if you are relocating with pets, check the regulations because relocating with pets to Hawaii is not the same as relocating to France – Hawaii is a rabies-free state with strict rules about animals.

Apply for Visa

Now that you have a valid passport, it is time to apply for a visa. Go on the website of your desired country and see what visa requirements are. Usually, you will need a passport, a photo, an application, and bank statements. If you want to stay for longer, see what your options are there. In some states, you can apply for permanent residence once you relocate, while in others, you can not do this after entering the country.

Ask Around About Work Permits Before Your Move

Also, other documents you will need if you plan to work are the right work permits. Having a standard tourist visa usually doesn’t allow you to work. Also, if you plan to work as a freelancer, you can apply for a digital nomad permit. For example, some of the best countries in Europe have this option. But you can do this the old fashion way and see how you can get a working permit. Usually, your new employer must send you a business introduction letter. And if you wonder, “how can I move to another country for free,” the answer is in finding a good job. Apply for the job before you travel, and the company will likely pay for all your relocation costs.

You Can Work Remotely or Become a Freelancer

If you don’t know how to move abroad and get a job, you can ask your employer to keep you in your position while you work remotely. Or you can quit that job and start selling your services online and become a freelancer. All you need is a good internet connection.

Start a Business Overseas

If you relocate to the UK, for example, and want to start your own business, you will get a visa or even residency much easier. A lot of countries encourage people to invest with all kinds of tax deductions and benefits. So if your dream is to start your own business, see which country in the world is best for investing.

How to Move Abroad With No Money

If you don’t have a job waiting for you in your country of choice, our advice is to rent your home in the US. Of course, if you have one. For example, if you relocated to Argentina after living in Orange County, where housing prices are high (rent is $2,200 on average,) you can rent out your previous home and live comfortably from that money. In Argentina, $1,000 to $1,300 a month is enough money to live normally.

How to Move Abroad – Find Out All There Is to Know About the Destination

When moving abroad, gathering as much information about your new destination will significantly reduce your relocation stress. Also, with the info, you will know in advance how much money to save. One of the most important things you need to check before your move is healthcare in your city of choice. Will you, as an expat working for some foreign company, have health insurance or not? If not, you should figure out your options. There are international insurances you can take or pay for private health insurance once you get there. Just keep this information in mind and know that you will need extra money for that.

What About the Cost of Living and Housing Options?

The next step is to pick a city to relocate to and rent a home. Go online on AreaVibes or Niche and see the best choices for living in that place. You can search for cities and neighborhoods based on your criteria (place for young professionals, good for families, and more.) Once you find a city you like, and a neighborhood, you can rent a place there.

Also, on the Internet, you can find other useful information, about the traffic in that city and the quality of public transportation, for example. This information will help you decide whether to ship your car or not.

Find Expat Community

If you still have questions about how to move abroad as an American, the easiest solution is to find people who already did it. There are numerous websites, such as Expat, where you can search for expat communities in your destination. Connect with them and ask all about doubts you have. Talking to people who already live there can give you amazing insights about a lot of things, from picking the right neighborhood to rules and regulations about opening a business. Also, adjusting to a new place will be much easier if you have friends there. Ask them about the climate, where to go out at night… Basically, for all the questions you may have, they will be happy to help you.

Prepare Yourself for a New Way of Living

When moving internationally, you will have to be prepared for a new way of living. Some may be strange, some annoying. For example, if you decide to live in some of the best places to live in Europe, be prepared to see the eggs and milk away from the refrigerator. It is because these groceries are prepared differently, and there is no need to keep them cold. Knowing this may seem harmless, but you may end up in trouble if you skip learning some important regulations. For example, in Singapore, it is illegal to chew gum, while you can end up in prison if you insult the king of Thailand. Or, if you relocate to Germany, make sure you don’t end up without the gas in your car on Autobahn (their highway.)

But you should get familiar with local customs as well. For example, in Europe, people greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, or if you relocate to Hawaii, you should know that it is rude to refuse a lei (flower garment worn around the neck.)

Start Learning a Language Before You Leave

One of the best tips for learning a new language is to start with some primary lessons on time, before your move. This way, breaking the language barrier once you relocate will be much easier. Of course, learning a language with locals is the fastest way to do it, but if you have some basic knowledge, you will adjust more quickly. There are good apps for learning a language, such as Duolingo. Download some of them and start with your lessons. It will only take an hour a day, so why not try it.


What Is the Easiest Country to Move To?

Well, it is no secret that most US expats are living in Mexico. And this is no surprise considering the distance and means you need to relocate there. For Americans, it is probably the easiest. But our northern neighbor is a second choice for most Americans. Relocating to Canada is easy because the culture and language are the same and living standards are better or similar.

Still, some Asian countries and South America have become more and more popular due to visa regulations and easy access to the job market.

Check out this video to learn more about the easiest countries in the world to relocate to.

How Much Does It Cost to Move Internationally?

Well, that depends on numerous factors. Will you hire an overseas moving company, or do you plan to sell all your belongings and take only a carry-on bag with you. The cost of the move will depend on your destination. If you are relocating to Italy, Rome’s rent will be higher than in Bulgaria. But if you follow our steps and plan your move on time, you will be able to do it no matter where you are heading. You will start saving money on time and plan your budget according to cost of living and rent in that particular destination.



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