Keep calm and carry on when moving overseas

Plan well ahead

Overseas removals must be planned at least 12 weeks in advance, but ideally up to a year ahead. This will enable you to ensure your belongings, which may be travelling via different methods, will arrive when you need them.

Invite removal company to survey possessions

It is wise to contact several removal companies who specialise in difference types of overseas removals to find the right company for you. You should invite them to come to your home and do a survey of your possessions so they can discuss the best way to transport them, which will depend on the volume, weight, speed of delivery, route and budget.

Decide on transport methods        

Belongings can be transported to your destination by air, road and sea, each of which has its own benefits. Air is the fastest, taking only a few days, but is also the most expensive. Transporting by road is more commonly used for European destinations, while sea freight generally takes several weeks but is the most cost effective option. Many families elect to take essentials by air and send the larger items they can do without in advance, by sea.

Decide whether to share container loads

Assuming you elect to send some belongings by sea freight, your possessions will be loaded into large secure steel containers which are relayed by a container ship to the nearest port. You can choose either to have your own containers, which will be more secure and reduce the potential for customs issues, or alternatively, have your possessions grouped with those of others who are travelling the same route. This second option is cheaper, but it is does mean you cannot dictate timescales as easily.

Make an itemised list of inventory and value

It is a good idea to clearly label every single box with your name, the content and the destination, then make an inventory listing every item and the total value. This is will be useful when organising insurance and help ensure everything is accounted for.

Arrange insurance

Given the number of different hands your goods will pass through, it is wise to arrange a water-tight insurance policy. If your goods are going by sea then you may even find yourself having to pay a contribution towards the cost of salvaging the ship if it runs aground, even if your own goods are not damaged. A good insurance policy will protect you against such eventualities.

Organise visas, permits and licenses

Make sure all your paperwork is in order, for example visas, work permits and residency permits. Also, don’t forget to check whether your driver’s license is valid in your new country of residence.

Sort out your finances

You can keep your current account in the UK and switch it to one that is specifically designed for expats, which usually operate through offshore branches located in Jersey or the Isle of Man. Or you can open an account with a local branch in your new country.

Arrange vaccinations

Check with your doctor if you require any vaccinations and make sure you have them in plenty of time. You should also check what health services are available to you in your new country as healthcare systems differ hugely. It is sensible to ask the doctor for a copy of your medical records to take with you.

Check quarantine obligations for pets

Quarantine regulations vary from country to country, but check if your new country is a member of PETS (Pet Travel Scheme), which may enable you to avoid long quarantine periods. In any case, it is essential that you ensure your pet has complete and up to date health documentation.

Rosemary Rogers, Director, reallymoving.com comments:

“The key to a stress-free move overseas is in the planning. If possible, start preparing for your move as much as a year in advance, which will allow plenty of time to ensure your family, pets and belongings all arrive safely in your new home on the right day. Also make sure you have a water tight insurance policy, considering you will be entrusting your belongings to a number of different companies and organisations along the way."

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