Moving with the entire family to a new city can be difficult, but moving abroad shouldn’t be overwhelming. Whether you and the kids are picking up due to you or your partner’s job or looking for a new adventure for the family, there are a few extra things you need to consider.
Real moves: MoveHub team members
At MoveHub, we don't just offer general advice on moving abroad, we've gone through it ourselves. Take a look at this short video of two members of the MoveHub team, Ben Tyrrell and Gary Watchorn, sharing their experiences moving abroad with family.
Need more tips for moving with your family? Take a look at our simple, yet key steps below.
Research your new home
This should go without saying, but research your new country as much as you can prior to making the move with your family. You are going to want to go online to get as much information about your new country as possible. Research their laws, customs, cost of living, and anything else that might help you truly get a feel for where you are going to be living.
Check out the restaurants, the shopping, and fun attractions to look forward to on weekends and new public holidays. Don’t forget to look into things like utility costs, what companies provide what, and how to best go about looking for a place to live. Here are MoveHub, we already have in depth city guides to help you with your research.
Prefer to peruse books? There are travel guidebooks you can purchase at your local bookstore, or online at Amazon to get as much information as you can before your your big move overseas.
Online forums are also a good place to go to chat with expats who have made the move themselves. They will be the ones who can tell you about quirky customs or things to watch out for during your move that you may not have thought about before.
Finding a new job overseas
With the prominence of the internet being a great resource worldwide, it is possible to find a job overseas before you even move there with your family. There are many websites that have international job listings that you can easily apply to before you even start packing.
Some employers will even hire you with just an interview chat over Skype, or another teleconferencing system. Sometimes having the right job in place will make the move abroad a much more solid choice for you and your family.
Get health insurance for your family abroad
Once you have the where and when sorted, the next important thing to plan when moving with your family is health insurance and coverage. Looking into how your medical and dental care will work abroad for you and your family will be important as well. If you have medical insurance it might not work overseas. If you are moving with your company then your human resource department will probably be able to guide you through much of that.
Finding a doctor and dentist abroad is especially high on the list of things to do if you have children involved in your move. You never know when someone is going to get sick, and it can happen at an inopportune moment.
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Shipping your car and driving overseas
Depending on where you move to overseas, you will also most likely need to obtain an international driving permit if you are going to be driving. The laws vary in many different countries so you should look into how their local motor vehicle license agency where you are going.
Shipping your car abroad generally works out cheaper than buying new overseas. You need to make sure your car will be legal, adhere to the local driving laws, and pay special attention to left vs right hand drive laws.
Obtaining visas for your family
You can’t just book a flight and go, especially if you are going to be working abroad. You’ll want to make sure you have all the correct visas in place for you and your family. Visas can take several months to obtain depending on your destination so start this process first.
New and updated passports
Make sure that your passports are current. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t realise that their passport has expired.
If you need to apply for a passport know that it’s not an immediate transaction. It usually takes up to 6-8 weeks to get a regular passport. You can pay extra fees to expedite your passports, but it’s usually a significant charge so plan accordingly.
If you are travelling with your children without the other parent then you also need documentation that you are allowed to take such children out of the country from the other parent.
Redirect all your mail to your new country
Usually at the bottom of one’s moving checklist is dealing with a forwarding address for mail. Don’t forget to redirect all your mail. There are special forms at the post office that will allow you to do this even for overseas mail.
You should go to the post office in person to make sure you have all the correct forms, and that they are filled out the right way. If you have never lived abroad before the addresses and postal codes may seem different than your usual address.
You want this done right the first time so that you can get your mail in a timely fashion. Keep in mind that everything takes extra time when it is going overseas.
Using international removals companies
An international move is more complex than a local one, and expert help will take the stress out of moving. Find the right moving agency for you to use at least a month in advance.
We help with this process by allowing you to compare quotes from up to 6 international removals companies - all you have to do is fill out the form at the top of the page.
Find schools for your children well in advance
High on your moving checklist should be figuring out where you should send your child to school in your new country. If you think signing your child up for school locally is a difficult process then you will want to look into foreign schools well in advance.
Find out what they require to take on your child, such as what kind of records they want like vaccinations. They will probably want all your child’s old school records, doctor records, and birth certificates. In some countries you will also need to live in a certain area or distance from the school to be accepted.
Countries begin formal exams for children at different ages, taking 1-4 years of study per level. You may need make special adjustments so your children enter the school at the right level.
Prepare your children for moving abroad
You want to prepare your child well in advance of the move so that they know what to expect. It is worth being aware of Expat Child Syndrome (ECS), where in some cases your child becomes withdrawn, anxious, and depressed when they move to the new country.
This is more common when there is a new language to contend with. Sometimes the language barrier can be an issue with communicating with other children which can be very isolating for your child.
Children need healthy interaction with their peers, so finding other expats in your area to schedule playdates and dinners with can help your child to adjust better to the new surroundings. MoveHub have a guide to moving with kids for more information on this subject.
Above all, moving to a new place abroad is an exciting, once in a lifetime opportunity for most people. Get your family on the same page, and let them know that this move is going to be an excellent way for your family to experience another country.
Buy your children kid-friendly books about your new country to get them familiar with some of the sights and sounds they will expect to see there. The more you “talk up” the move the better prepared everyone will be to go along for the ride.
Just think what a fantastic learning example it will be for your entire family. Not many people get the chance to move abroad so make it a positive lifestyle choice for your family.