FIDI, the largest global alliance of independent quality international moving companies, provides some easy points to remember once you have determined that your next move is an international one. Following the list below, or downloading the PDF, can give you an idea of the steps you will need to take to facilitate a successful international move.
As soon as you can:
Begin official procedures- request information on how to obtain a visa, residency and work permits (keep in mind that these documents can take months in some countries; it’s better get some information ahead of time).
Start preparing your family for the move
10 Weeks to go
Make sure your own documents (passport, ID, drivers license) are in order.
Start reading up on your destination and consider learning some basics of the local language (unless you already know it, of course).
Create a brief schedule for your move, marking the milestone events (think of it as a project plan).
Start looking for a mover; obtaining quotes from three FIDI-FAIM certified movers is the best way to go.
9 Weeks to go
If you have children- begin to look for an appropriate school with a international standard programme to ease any further future school transfers.
What do you want to take with you? Start to sort through your belongings – is there anything you want to sell/donate?
Start making a list/pile.
8 Weeks to go
Start compiling a list of people who should be notified of your change of address.
Start putting together an overview of magazine subscriptions, bills, permanent order payments and so on that you have.
Start narrowing down the proposals from quality movers.
7 Weeks to go
Call the mover you have chosen and arrange for a pre-move survey.
Start gathering your families’ medical records and make sure that everyone has the proper vaccinations (this extends to any family pets you may be taking).
6 Weeks to go
During the pre-move survey, after a walk through your house, your FAIM accredited mover will discuss the following with you:
- Your belongings in the light of the destination laws and regulations (what stays, what goes)
- Insurance-Customs Regulations at the destination-The (possible) import of your car.
Start notifying the people on your list of your change of address.
5 Weeks to go
Tie up the loose ends- notify your gym, book club, library, etc that you will be moving and make arrangements accordingly.
Start gathering items that you have borrowed from the library, friends, neighbours and begin returning them.
4 Weeks to go
Hold a garage/yard sale or donate items you no longer want to charity (or both).
Check whether your appliances you own will be fit to use at the destination.
Start arranging for storage (More often than not your FAIM mover will have a storage facility).
Have any high value items appraised.
Arrange your (and your pets) transportation to the destination.
Request floor plans of your residence at the destination.
3 Weeks to go
Contact the utility companies (electricity, gas, telephone, cable, mobile/cell phone provider…) and arrange to have services terminated one day after your move.
Notify your bank about your move and arrange for your address to be changed/your account closed etc. Also make sure that all outstanding bills are paid prior to your move and any permanent orders terminated.
Contact an expatriate organization at your destination- they can be of help when it comes to settling in or finding clubs or interest groups.
If you haven’t been put in contact with the destination agent yet, now might be a good time to ask your FIDI mover to do so.
2 Weeks to go
Cancel any magazine subscriptions you no longer want/need and make sure you give your new address to the magazines you do want to keep receiving.
Arrange for childcare/pet sitter for the moving day.
Start eating perishables and food that will not be moved. Throw out/give excess away.
Contact your post office about redirecting your mail to your new address.
1 Week to go
Make sure you have all passports, ID cards, birth certificates and other important documents in one place. Keep the spare keys to your car there as well.
Make sure you have enough medication for two weeks after your move. Discuss your move with your doctor- they could give you some advice and sometimes even refer you to a new doctor at the new location.
Ask your FAIM mover for stickers so that you can pre-mark which items are to go where at the destination and to clearly mark the items designated for storage – they will be more than eager to help!
Pack necessary items for the travel to the destination and for the first couple days.
Get some travelers cheques and local currency- they’ll come in handy when you arrive at your destination!
1 Day to go
Defrost your fridge/freezer
Make sure you know where your important documents are and that they do not get packed
Make sure you have some food and beverages handy for the moving day Moving Day
You have to be present—your children and pets do not!
Have a talk with the foreman of the crew and give him any specific instructions you may have for some items
Check and sign the inventory list
Exchange contact information with the driver and verify that the destination address is correct
When the house seems to be empty—check it again. Look inside the cupboards and other hiding places to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
Again, you should be present, but your children and pets do not need to be
The destination agent will arrange for customs clearance- keep in touch to make that you are available should you be required to go to the customs personally
If necessary – tell the moving crew to which room the boxes should go; although this should be clear from the markings
Check off each item off the inventory list
Unpack everything and verify that all items are intact
Make note of any claims you need to file
…and now you should focus on settling in and enjoy this new and exciting chapter of your life!