A Guide to Moving Abroad

Whether you’re relocating for work or you just fancy a new start, moving abroad can be a thrilling, overwhelming, and daunting prospect.

When you make the decision to move to a different country, it can be all too easy to start getting stressed about the sheer amount of paperwork and organisation involved. But, remember, this is supposed to be exciting! 

We want you to be able to enjoy the start of your adventure so we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to moving abroad. We’ve already covered the most common topics in our Complete Moving Checklist so here you’ll find a brand new checklist tailored to moving out of the country, plus some more detailed top tips for moving abroad.

Moving Abroad Checklist


  • Create a ‘Moving File’ with all relevant paperwork
  • Work out a moving budget
  • Book travel early
  • Book a removals team early
  • Visit your new neighbourhood
  • Organise finances
  • Notify your bank
  • Seek advice on pensions/loans
  • Switch to internet banking
  • Organise your paperwork
  • Passports
  • Visas
  • Driving licenses
  • Rental or sale documents
  • Pet passports and medical records
  • Insurance
  • Tax
  • Customs and imports
  • Organise healthcare
  • Doctor
  • Dentist
  • Insurance
  • Vaccinations
  • Medical records
  • Medications
  • Look into schools
  • Request records and transfer certificates
  • Take language classes
  • Research local culture and customs
  • Book storage (if necessary)
  • Have a clear out (or ‘Leaving Sale’!)
  • Start packing early!
  • Sort out electricals
  • New power cables (if necessary)
  • Change your vehicle
  • License plates
  • New vehicle (if necessary)
  • Look at phone contract
  • Set up a mail forwarding service
  • Cancel all utilities and subscriptions
  • Set aside a ‘moving’ suitcase
  • Organise a leaving party
  • Set off on a brand new adventure!



Moving abroad can be a real shock to the system, especially for kids or if you’re moving somewhere very different from home. In the months leading up to the move, take steps to ease everyone into their new country; organise a visit, take language classes, and make yourself familiar with local culture and customs.

Visiting your new home can also be a great way to avoid any last minute dramas with your move. Take note of any issues presented by the location or architecture and make sure to notify your removals team.


If there’s one thing that takes the fun out of any big life change it’s the dreaded ‘P’: paperwork! Start getting organised early to avoid any unnecessary stress and keep a ‘Moving File’ with all of your relevant documents so you always know where to find them. 

Make sure you have the relevant visas and travel documents for your new country, for both yourself and any pets you might be bringing. Look at your tax requirements on both your income and your property, if you’re buying. You may also have to pay import taxes on belongings you want to bring with you. Check in with local authorities early if you have any questions.


Moving can be a costly process so it helps to start planning early. Create a ‘Moving Budget’ and get quotes to work out exactly how much everything is going to cost in case you need to start saving. 

However you plan to get to your destination, book travel as soon as possible to make the most of cheap fares. Find and book a worldwide removals team as soon as you can, to make sure you’re not left in an empty home when you arrive. Don’t forget to factor in things like air freight vs. sea freight costs and packing materials.


Get advice on whether it’s best to move bank accounts or maintain your UK account. It’s also a good idea to look into how moving will affect your pension and any loans you may have taken out.

To ease the transfer, it can be a good idea to set up online banking. That way it’s easy to get access to your money and information if you need to move before your new account has been set up.


Like everything else about moving, the sooner you start packing the better. Don’t be tempted to shove everything into boxes though. Think about what you realistically need in your new home; is the climate warmer or colder? Will you need new work clothes or school uniforms? Once you’ve decided what you need, have a big clearout or leaving sale to avoid moving anything unnecessarily. Then create an inventory list to make sure nothing gets lost en route.

When it comes to furniture, think carefully about what you need to take. Will your existing furniture fit in your new home? Shipping big items can be expensive so check whether it will be cheaper to take everything with you or purchase new furniture when you arrive.

Remember to check local import laws and freight rules to find out if there’s anything you can’t take with you, like food items.


Rather than shipping everything over at once, it can be more practical to place anything you don’t immediately need into storage. Non-seasonal clothes and other non-essential items can be collected, stored, and delivered to your new address when you’re ready for them.

Not only can this save on upfront shipping costs, it can also give you a little more space to breathe and settle in your new home — rather than be faced with a mountain of boxes when you arrive.


You don’t want to be stranded when you get to your new home so make sure to organise a new phone contract or ensure your phone will work abroad when you land.

Check in with your removals team nearer your moving date to make sure you’re all on the same page. It’s also a good idea to have a moving plan with your family so everyone knows where they need to be and what they need to do on the day.


Last but not least — try to take care of any day-to-day life necessities before you move, rather than after you arrive. 

  • Healthcare – We’re lucky to have the NHS in the UK but that might not be the case in your new residence. If you have any vital medication you need to take regularly, talk to your GP about taking enough with you that you don’t run out before you can get to your new doctor. If you need to organise healthcare or insurance in your new country, do so before you move to avoid any emergencies. You may also need certain vaccinations for yourself or your pets before you can bring them over.
  • Schools – If you have children of school age, you’ll need to enroll them in a school before you go. Your current school can advise on any necessary paperwork you might need. If possible, try to move during the summer holidays to give kids time to get used to the new country before having to start at a new school, too.
  • Electricals – Think about which of your belongings might no longer work in a new country. Do you need to buy new chargers for your electricals? New kitchen appliances? If you don’t want to buy entirely new, make sure you have enough adapters for the move.
  • Vehicles – It’s also a good idea to look at your vehicle. If you’re moving to a country that drives on the opposite side of the road, consider whether you want to keep your car or sell it and buy a car that’s right-hand drive.


Don’t forget to take time to breathe and enjoy this exciting new time in your life. Here at TFM, we are more than happy to take the stress out of the moving process so you get time to properly process the emotions of the day.

We offer both long-term and short-term storage solutions as well as a comprehensive worldwide removals service with our fully-insured, expert team.

Contact us today for a quote or more information on how we can help you get started on your new adventure.

Bon voyage!